Mobil Travel Guide, IBM Ink Linux Deal

Deal gives Mobil on-demand access to Linux-based server processing, storage and networking capacity.

IBM on Friday announced a 5-year agreement to provide the Mobil Travel Guide with on-demand access to Linux-based server processing, storage and networking capacity from IBM e-business hosting centers in the United States.

Mobil Travel Guide, a published guide that uses the star rating program to identify travel and hospitality excellence in North America, will now move away from the physical Web, database and application servers it currently relies on and tap into "virtual servers" on IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux—paying for just the computing power and capacity they require.

Mobil Travel Guide has also chosen IBMs WebSphere Application Server to develop and deploy their Web-based applications running on Linux. In addition, IBM will provide on-demand storage services that will enable the Guide to buy storage capacity and management services on a subscription basis.

Mobil will also use IBM computing resources to support the expansion of a new Web-based service, Mobil Companion, which will offer customized service for auto travelers. This service will launch in the U.S. later this year.

A spokeswoman for Big Blue said this was the first deal of its kind in the travel and transportation industry.

Ralph Giannola, senior vice-president at Mobil Travel Guide, said IBMs Linux virtual services provides true on-demand computing power that is both flexible and cost efficient.

In a separate, unrelated move, IBM, Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. on Friday announced an initiative to give customers a portfolio of highly scalable application solutions that are tested and proven to handle demanding e-business workloads. These will run on the IBM eServer x440 system, which supports from four to 16 processors,

The goal is to accelerate the development of the Intel Xeon processor and Microsoft Windows-based solutions for enterprise customers.

IBM, Intel and Microsoft are working on this initiative with systems integrators and independent software vendors, including J.D. Edwards, SAP AG and SAS.

The primary objective is to bring a comprehensive, solutions-based approach to high-end Intel processor-based servers that will allow customers to combine server hardware, operating systems, software applications and middleware, such as IBM DB2 database software and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition, with systems integration, marketing and sales support, an IBM spokesman said.