PowerLinux Helps Businesses Gain New Insights From Big Data

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-04-24

IBM Targets Linux Midmarket With New PowerLinux Offerings

IBM has launched an aggressive strategy for its PowerLinux systems with three solutions to focus on big data, industry apps and open-source infrastructure services.

Big Blue introduced new Power Systems and PureFlex System offerings to help customers exploit the cost efficiency of Linux and virtualization for business-critical workloads. IBM PowerLinux Solutions offer deep integration of new Linux-specific Power7 processor-based hardware with industry-standard Linux software from Red Hat and SUSE for analyzing big data, managing industry-specific applications and delivering open-source infrastructure services. A PowerLinux compute node is also available for the recently announced IBM PureFlex System, part of the new IBM PureSystems family of expert integrated systems.

The new IBM PowerLinux systems are value-priced for the midmarket and above, and are designed to provide customers with lower deployment time and costs, and greater performance, dependability and workload density than competitive x86 platforms at similar price points.

IBM is offering the new integrated and workload-optimized PowerLinux Solutions in conjunction with its ISV and OEM partners, starting with three specific Linux-centric workloads. IBM PowerLinux Solutions are designed to match each workload€™s specific performance requirements, offering customers a simpler Linux-based IT environment that can help reduce infrastructure costs and free IT staff to focus on bringing innovative products and services to market faster.

€œOur tests have shown excellent performance results for Zucchetti human resources and ERP industry application software running on the new PowerLinux Systems€”an improvement of at least 40 percent compared to Linux machines based on Intel x86,€ said Alberto Cazzulani, HR business unit technologies and services manager for Zucchetti Group, a provider of software and technology solutions in the Italian software market with more than 450,000 installations and 85,000 clients. €œPowerLinux represents an ideal platform for our customers to use over time, supporting current and future development needs without requiring additional hardware investments.€

By basing the new solutions on lower-cost Linux-specific Power Systems and PowerVM for Linux virtualization technology, IBM can provide more value to customers at a lower cost than competitors in the x86 Linux market. In addition, replacing aging x86-based Windows servers with PowerLinux systems and open-source applications can further reduce costs by eliminating high proprietary software license fees and upgrade charges. This new strategy expands the ability for IBM to address customers€™ Linux application needs more effectively, just as it does for AIX and IBM requirements with Power Systems, the company said.

IBM introduced two new Linux-specific systems. The new IBM PowerLinux 7R2 System is a two-socket, high-performance, energy-efficient server that supports 16 Power7 microprocessor cores and a choice of industry-standard Linux operating systems: Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Scalable and efficient with a built-in PowerVM for PowerLinux hypervisor, the PowerLinux 7R2 System can run multiple Linux workloads, offering a 33 percent lower solution stack cost for virtualized infrastructure.

IBM also introduced the IBM Flex System PowerLinux p24L Compute Node, a Linux-specific two-socket compute node for the recently announced IBM PureFlex System, which contains 12 or 16 Power7 microprocessor cores, the option of Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating systems, and built-in PowerVM for PowerLinux.

The three new PowerLinux Solutions include the IBM PowerLinux Big Data Analytics Solution. IBM says the highly threaded, parallel processing capabilities of PowerLinux provide optimal compute and I/O performance for big data analytics projects using Apache Hadoop, a software framework that enables distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers. IBM OEM partner Fixstars is planning to deliver a Hadoop-based appliance for big data based on PowerLinux for the small and midsize business (SMB) market in 2012.

PowerLinux Helps Businesses Gain New Insights From Big Data

PowerLinux also helps businesses gain new insights from big data with IBM solutions that incorporate Hadoop, such as IBM InfoSphere BigInsights software that enables organizations to analyze data-at-rest. InfoSphere BigInsights, which runs 37 percent faster on PowerLinux than the best publicly available x86 Hadoop results for sorting 1 terabyte of data, will be generally available for PowerLinux Systems on June 15. IBM InfoSphere Streams software for PowerLinux, which analyzes data-in-motion, is now available.

IBM officials said the deep integration and optimization of analytics workload performance on PowerLinux enables businesses to run thousands of tasks in parallel to deliver analytics services faster, for example, analyzing historical credit card data to improve real-time fraud detection or examining social media in real time to better understand brand sentiment among customers and take action.

IBM also introduced the IBM PowerLinux Industry Application Solution. PowerLinux provides a secure, resilient platform stack for industry applications, providing smoother implementation enabling faster time-to-delivery for new services with less downtime.

With offerings like the IBM PowerLinux Solution Edition for SAP Applications, midsize IT shops can deliver these services at a lower cost per workload with higher quality, compared with x86 commodity servers running Windows or Linux. Additional ISVs like Zucchetti Group are planning to provide pre-integrated, tested and validated solutions tailored for their local regions across a variety of industries.

Meanwhile, the new IBM PowerLinux Open-Source Infrastructure Services Solution offers cost-effective control over server and virtual image sprawl with the addition of the new PowerVM for PowerLinux virtualization technology. With fewer servers to manage, businesses can deliver services such as Web, email and social business collaboration more cost effectively by using PowerLinux as the foundation for flexible open-source-based software delivery. Integrated, tuned and tested so everything works together, PowerLinux offers more secure and scalable virtualization of business infrastructure services than VMware running on x86 with savings on total cost of acquisition of up to 33 percent.

€œAs CIOs seek to transform their IT department from a cost center to a strategic asset, many have a misconception that deploying Linux on x86 servers equipped with VMware software is their only option for taking advantage of open-source applications,€ said Colin Parris, general manager of IBM Power Systems, in a statement. €œWith IBM PowerLinux System, customers now have a powerful, cost-effective alternative, as well as a broad ecosystem of support from our global partners to get the right solution€”hardware, software and services€”for virtually any business requirement.€

IBM is working with customers across a number of industries and geographies to improve the performance of their Linux-based applications and services, including the University of Hamburg. As a participant in PHYsnet.org, the worldwide scientific data exchange, the University of Hamburg wanted to improve the performance levels of its existing PHYSnet servers without investing in large numbers of physical servers for its physics research lab.

By implementing a virtual distributed configuration for its OpenAFS file system using two IBM PowerLinux 7R2 systems running 10 virtual Linux servers using the new IBM PowerVM for PowerLinux, the university was able to improve file-serving performance by 50 percent at 30 percent less cost than the competing Intel x86-based systems option.

€œIBM PowerLinux is the best option for running OpenAFS as it can handle the high I/O requirements of the system and delivers the throughput needed to quickly access files,€ said Bodo Krause-Kyora, head of systems and deputy director of PHYSnet for the University of Hamburg, in a statement. €œWe would have needed to purchase significantly more Intel-based systems to achieve the same levels of file-serving performance that we do with just two IBM PowerLinux servers.€


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