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Linux on Power > Business Strategy > ROI

IBM Floods the Linux Market With Options


Illustration by Nomoco

If open source is the wave of the future, IBM is fully suited up and paddling out beyond the breakers. The company this spring made a series of announcements and investments that put it at the forefront of Linux* development and use, giving existing and future clients the capability to get more out of their current Power Systems* investments and migrate their existing Linux on x86 to a more substantial platform.

A Deluge of Availability

The most recent announcement—new Power Systems servers and the release of detailed technical specifications for its POWER8* processor—lets software and hardware developers implement and innovate using POWER8 technology. Also announced were PowerKVM, the Power Systems version of KVM that’s available on IBM’s next-generation Power Systems servers tuned for Linux, and the introduction of Canonical’s Ubuntu Server for use on the POWER8 system. These announcements are part of a $1 billion investment IBM made in September 2013 and a larger push into the Linux market. This news helps IBM and its clients stay ahead of IT trends, says Adam Jollans, program director for IBM’s cross-IBM Linux strategy.

POWER8 can analyze data 82x faster than an x86 server

“When you look at the IT world, a lot of the software that’s being used for big data, the cloud and systems of engagement is only available on Linux. With these new developments, Power Systems users are poised to take advantage of the performance of Power* technology with the flexibility and functionality of Linux,” Jollans explains. “In the end, building on open source allows you to innovate really, really quickly; to move fast in a fast-moving market.”

Analysts were impressed with the announcements, saying they give IBM the capability to work with the leading enterprise Linux distributions.

“At announcement, IBM had an impressive roster of Linux [distribution] partners including SUSE, Red Hat and Ubuntu, which collectively account for at least 90 percent of the commercial Linux market,” wrote Richard Fichera, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research bit.ly/1mSqgKX. “With claims of ‘nearly 100 percent’ compatibility for interpretive languages (Java*, PHP, Python, etc.) and easy recompile of C/C++, IBM is making an aggressive play for Linux workloads.”

Proof Is in the Power

IBM’s newest additions to the Power line include five new Power Systems S-Class servers based on POWER8 technology—the first of their kind. Two of the five, the Power Systems S812L and S822L servers, run Linux exclusively. The other three, Power Systems S814, S822 and S824 servers, can run multiple operating systems, including Linux, AIX* and IBM i.



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