SEATTLE—The Linux Foundation's annual LinuxCon USA event started here today, with a trio of announcements that could help propel the mainframe, networking and storage worlds forward: the official announcement of the Open Mainframe Project, led by IBM; the IO visor networking project from PLUMgrid; and the Kinetic storage project, which benefits from code contributions from Seagate.
"What companies are realizing is that open source is a great way to develop software, and they understand the economics," Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told eWEEK. "They put a dollar in, and they get $10 of research and development out. That's a powerful incentive for people to participate in these projects."
The Open Mainframe Project is of interest to Zemlin, who noted that his father was a mainframe programmer. Zemlin said that IBM has been seeing growth in demand for Linux on the mainframe, which is the driver for the new project. In addition to the project, IBM is launching a pair of new dedicated Linux mainframes, dubbed the LinuxONE Emperor and the LinuxONE Rockhopper. The Emperor system is a Linux optimized version of the z13 mainframe, which IBM announced in January, while the Rockhopper is based on the bc12 mainframe.
For the IO visor project, the Linux Foundation is adding a new layer to its list of networking efforts. The Linux Foundation today helps operate the OpenDaylight software-defined networking (SDN) and Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) projects.
When it makes sense to integrate something into an existing project, the Linux Foundation will do that, but in other cases, it seeks to maintain unique projects on their own, which is the case with IO visor, Zemlin said.
The IO visor technology is a virtualized I/O engine that allows for programmable network functions to be created on demand at run time within virtualized network domains. The IO Visor project within the Linux Foundation already has the support of multiple vendors, including Broadcom, Cisco and Intel.
The new Kinetic project is also unique within the Linux Foundation as a bare-metal, block-storage effort and has the support of Cisco, Dell, Red Hat and Seagate. The Kinetic technology was originally created by Seagate.
"We are proud to be partnering with the Linux Foundation on the Kinetic project, as we believe that this technology is the next great step in the evolution of massively scaled-out storage," Rocky Pimentel, president, global markets and customers, at Seagate, said in a statement. "By aligning the Kinetic project with our partners under the Linux Foundation, the project now has strong validation within the industry and shows Seagate's support of open-source technologies in providing solutions to the most challenging problems of data storage."
While the Linux Foundation is hosting the new projects, Zemlin aims to make sure that everyone understands what role the Linux Foundation plays. The Linux Foundation is an enabler of open-source development, helping fund multiple efforts, including travel funding for Linux and open-source developers to attend conferences, Zemlin said.
The Linux Foundation also is helping improve the security of the Internet as a whole with the Let's Encrypt effort that aims to make encryption easier to deploy. Additionally, the efforts of the Linux Foundation-backed Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) are helping boost security.
Overall, the work is made possible by the developers who write and contribute code, Zemlin said, adding that it is the role of the Linux Foundation to enable developers. "We want to tell people there is tremendously great work going on here, and it makes the open-source community better and it makes the world better," he said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.