"This is useful for large sites, in particular where [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol] is used to join networks with a single user database," Cox says.
In addition, the point-to-point protocol, which is part of the Linux kernel, has been rewritten to support DSL and broadband services, as well as ATM. A server running the Linux 2.4 kernel can also contain up to 20 drives and 16 Ethernet adapters, "allowing sites with a large number of subnets, as well as those trying out multilink setups, to increase bandwidth," says Brian Ward, a systems administrator at the University of Chicago. Multilinking allows the use of multiple devices or circuits simultaneously to speed communications.
The kernel also supports up to 64G bytes of RAM, important for "large servers, where network, memory and disk access all tend to converge," Ward says. "Even an improvement of a few milliseconds means a lot when there are 200 processes doing the same thing."