Linux on Mainframe Gains Momentum
E-businesses looking for more of the kind of stability and reliability found only in mainframe computers suddenly have a few new solutions to help them get there.
Two vendors that help IT users manage and deploy software on enterprise platforms are developing solutions for Linux on IBM mainframes, while Sendmail Inc. last week announced that its messaging software is now available for Linux on the IBM eServer zSeries mainframe platform.
Serena Software Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., which already supports zSeries and S/390 mainframes with its ChangeMan product, is planning to add support for managing Linux running on those platforms. ChangeMan comprises change management products that enable IT administrators to have a single interface for controlling and managing cross-platform application code changes.
Serena officials said the company is reacting to input from customers who want to migrate to mainframeespecially Linux-based mainframesolutions. The upgrade for Linux will be available as a point upgrade early next year or as part of a major upgrade to ChangeMan due in the first half of next year.
For its part, Aduva Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., is adding support for S/390 to its system for managing updates to Linux servers and clients. The Aduva Director and Aduva Knowledge Base products keep Linux systems updated with the latest modules, patches, bug fixes and upgrades. The S/390 support should be available this fall. Aduvas solution is also part of Hewlett-Packard Co.s ServiceControl Manager partner program.
For the Sendmail products, support for the IBM servers will enable Sendmail Switch, Sendmail Advanced Message Server and Sendmail Mobile Message Server to support up to 2 million users. The new platform boosts perform- ance 10 times better than Sendmails previous Unix benchmarks, officials said.
Base pricing for Sendmail Switch and Advanced Message Server on the mainframe is the same as for existing Sendmail products, ranging from 75 cents to $3 per mailbox, officials said. Mobile Message Server pricing is typically set at 20 percent of that. There are additional charges for filters and the administrative console.
Industry analysts say Linux on the mainframe makes sense for IBM, software developers and end users, as they can all consolidate around a standards-based environment for mainframes that didnt exist in the past.
"Companies that are consolidating [servers] are looking to companies such as Serena or CA [Computer Associates International Inc.], trying to establish a mainframe production environment for Web, ERP [enterprise resource planning] and needing a level of service and quality, so they are having to impose the controls regardless of what the hardware configuration is," said Jim Duggan, an analyst at Gartner Inc., in Cary, N.C. "[Linux] is a much more standards-based approach, in which in two to three years Linux can move ahead of Unix in system services."