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August 17, 2015

IBM pushes Linux only mainframes in open source play

Ubuntu Linux is added to the mainframe through work with Canonical.

By James Nunns

IBM is releasing two Linux-based z System mainframes, along with open source software tools, as it looks to attract new customers to its mainframe business.

In what will be the first time the company has offered Linux only systems, Big Blue will be ramping up its effort with support for Apache Spark and MariaDB, as well as adding Ubuntu Linux to the mainframe which has been created through a Canonical and IBM partnership.

The mainframes will be hit the market under the LinuxONE brand, with the LinuxONE Emperor, which is a high-end system based on the z13 hardware and LinuxONE Rockhopper which is a more entry level option, based on the zBC12 hardware.

Emperor will be capable of running up to 8,000 Linux virtual machines simultaneously and now has the kernel-based virtual machine hypervisor, alongside its own z/VM.

In what has become a common move for the company, it will be working with the open source community to offer tools such as Docker, MongoDB, Chef and others. These additional capabilities won’t just be available to those using the new mainframes; they will be made available to existing z System customers as well.

The goal of the project is to drive mainframe usage to a wider audience. With the company hoping to lure new customers with a monthly subscription pricing model and more involvement with open source projects.

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To support this drive, the company is creating the LinuxONE Developer cloud, which will act as a virtual R&D engine for creating, testing and piloting applications.

This isn’t the first move the company has made with regards to going after developers. Last week the company bolstered the service offering for Bluemix with the additional of analytics and improve compatibility with the likes of Oracle.

Kathryn Guarini, VP, z Systems Growth Initiatives, IBM, said: "This is all about collaborating with the community and providing those software capabilities that we believe our clients are looking for, and being able to that in a way that will inherit those mission-critical enterprise qualities of the platform.

"In all cases, they work seamlessly on the mainframe, with no need for special skills, so they can be used by application developers just as they would on other platforms."

CBR spoke to Andrew Wilcock, VP, Business Analytics on its strategy, the full article is here.

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