Many Applications Available
Many applications available
Many applications are available on Linux on the mainframe. Many of the 3,500+ applications that run on Linux on x86 are available on Linux on the mainframe. More than 400 ISVs have certified applications running on Linux for the mainframe, including more than 280 IBM middleware applications. These applications range from data-intensive, high-I/O applications to CPU-intensive applications-including applications from BEA, CA, IBM, Oracle, SAP and Veritas. You can also run many of the important open-source applications such as Apache, MySQL and SAMBA on Linux for the mainframe.
With the new IBM System z10 server and its new quad-core processors (with its 70 percent more capacity and three times the available memory of the largest System z9 server), you can run CPU-intensive workloads that you couldn't run with any degree of efficiency on mainframes before. This greatly broadens the scope of applications.
Among the driving forces behind IBM's desire to get Linux on the mainframe was that IBM had made a decision that one operating system that could run on all of its platforms would be beneficial to IBM. SUSE had the technology, including Autobuild, to get the same SUSE Linux Enterprise Server code up and quickly running on IBM's iServer, pServer, xServer and zServer platforms. IBM's success caused other companies to follow suit.
Novell and Red Hat work closely with IBM to get new features incorporated into Linux for the mainframe. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Mainframes are essentially the same operating system and are priced comparably. Both companies are using success with their large, x86-based Linux installations to entice customers to also use Linux for the mainframe.
To determine whether or not Linux on the mainframe is a good choice for your server virtualization project, take a look at how well the workloads you are considering consolidating fit the mainframe. The best-fitting applications are those that leverage the classic strengths of System z servers: high availability, high-I/O bandwidth capacity, etc.
Example workloads you might already be running include Oracle and SAP. Other applications that are good fits include DB2, Informix, WebSphere Application Server, and Apache. The breadth of good-fit applications has increased to include those with serious computational needs with the advent of the IBM System z10 server.
You should question some workloads for the mainframe. Applications that have not yet been ported to Linux, applications such as geological mapping animation rendering that are optimized for throughput, and applications that are too internally sensitive to try and migrate due to political issues are generally not good fits for Linux for the mainframe.
Bill Claybrook is a marketing research analyst with over 30 years of experience in the computer industry, with the last 10 years in Linux and Open Source. From 1999 to 2004, Bill was Research Director, Linux and Open Source, at the Aberdeen Group in Boston. He resigned his competitive analyst/Linux product marketing position at Novell in June 2009 after spending over four and half years engaging in cloud computing, software appliances, virtualization technologies, and numerous aspects of Linux platforms. He is President of New River Marketing Research in Concord, MA. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.