Today Ex Libris became the first library automation vendor in North America to announce support of the LINUX operating system. The announcement continues the trend set by Ex Libris in being responsive to the library community by being attentive to technological trends and adopting the appropriate choice for libraries in a timely fashion.
Oren Beit-Arie, Vice President, Development stated "This announcement is the result of an extensive analysis of market needs and the available technology to meet those needs. We saw that many libraries, while serving a small number of users today with small collections, are clearly planning for a rapidly growing user base, frequently across wide geographic areas. This is the result of initiatives involving consortium creation and distance education. At the same time, the number and type of information resources that will be provided to this growing user base are also exponentially expanding. The result is that scalability and performance become critical considerations. In evaluating the available technology for these types of libraries, we carefully considered both Windows NT and LINUX. Our studies, using the current versions of both operating systems, showed that performance, scalability and affordability could be better addressed by LINUX at this point in time. It was also an important consideration that no loss of functionality occurred as a result of using LINUX.
We also considered the trends in hardware in this study and clearly, the trend is that microprocessors will continue to grow in power. Ultimately, the needs of some of the larger libraries will be also be able to be met by the combination of these new processor chips and the LINUX operating system. In the final analysis, we wanted an operating system where maturity wasn't something to be had in the future, but that met the needs of libraries today. We will continue to monitor and test the new releases of Windows NT to determine when those same capabilities are available in that operating system."
Russ McDonald, Vice President of Sales and Marketing stated "This announcement will be of interest to those smaller libraries desiring a functionally rich system with an automation budget of around $100K.
This solution will also appeal to smaller libraries that are part of a consortium or want to become part of a consortium. Today, consortia are increasingly involved in volume purchasing of information resources and systems. Using the powerful consortia capabilities of ALEPH 500, in conjunction with the LINUX solution, it opens up opportunities for increased participation by all size libraries. As always in a consortium using ALEPH 500, each member library can truly maintain the unique approaches utilized in servicing their users, while dramatically increasing the resources they make available to that user. Add to this the cost-effectiveness, performance and scalability of the LINUX solution and you have a powerful solution for libraries."
Initial testing of LINUX showed that a Pentium III, 500Mhz processor with 0.5 Gb of memory and 9Gb of disk would support an ALEPH 500 Version 14.1 system running Oracle Version 8.0.5 and Red Hat Version 6.1 and 20 concurrent users. The maximum number of users supported will vary depending upon the specifics of the configuration desired.
The system marketed by Ex Libris, called ALEPH, is now in over 500 installations with more than 17,000 concurrent users in 41 countries. Ex Libris is a multi-national company with offices located around the world.