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January 26, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:38am

IBM mainframes get open source revamp with Ubuntu Linux support

News: Big Blue now offers support for all three major Linux distributions.

By James Nunns

IBM has revealed new technology features and collaborations for its LinuxONE family of Linux systems, with a particular focus on hybrid cloud capabilities.

The refresh of the LinuxONE z Systems platform is being made as the company hopes to build upon the 35% sales increase that it has seen with these systems.

Big Blue said that the enhancements will help organisations to develop, deploy and manage applications for the cloud with robust security.

The enhancements will see IBM optimising its Cloudant and StrongLoop technologies into LinuxONE, which means developers won’t have to convert languages, leading to a speedier development and deployment.

Cloudant is a fully managed NoSQL database that stores data in JSON format which is commonly used for mobile data, while StrongLoop provides tools for developing APIs using Node.js, an environment based on JavaScript. This gives developers the ability to write applications for the server side natively.

The refreshed version will include Emperor and Rockhopper linux systems that are designed to improve speed and processing power. Emperor is capable of supporting up to one million Docker containers, giving businesses the ability to gain insights into very large volumes of data such as those generated by IoT devices and sensors.

In addition to this enhancement the company is expanding its ecosystem, giving users access to more supported software and capabilities.

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This isn’t the first move the company has made in enhancing its z Systems, as IBM recently ported the Go programming language which was developed by Google. The purpose of this is so that the company can give further options to its customers that want to pair the mainframe with Linux and Go-based apps.

Further Linux support will be added with Ubuntu from Canonical joining SUSE and Red Hat on LinuxONE. This means that all the three major Linux distributions will be supported on the z systems platform. Ubuntu will also add support for its cloud tools that include Juju, MAAS and Landscape.

On the analytics front the IBM Open Platform is being made available for the IBM LinuxONE portfolio from March onwards at no cost. The IOB offers industry standard Apache-based capabilities for analytics and big data with support for Apache Spark, Apache HBase and others.

Ross Mauri, GM, IBM z Systems and LinuxONE, said: "The platform’s broadened ecosystem and new hybrid cloud capabilities underscore the security, efficiency and performance that clients need, while delivering the flexibility and possibilities of open source they love."

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