IBM Doubles Down on Linux With New Mainframe

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-08-17 Print this article Print
IBM mainframe

Mauri noted that IBM is contributing the single largest amount of mainframe code to the open-source community. The code, designed to fuel digital transformation, includes technology from IBM's mainframe to help enterprises identify issues and help prevent failures before they happen, help improve performance across platforms and enable better integration with the broader network and cloud. A key part of the mainframe code contributions are IT predictive analytics that constantly monitor for unusual system behavior and help prevent issues from turning into failures. The code can be used by developers to build similar sense and respond resiliency capabilities on other systems.

Moreover, the contributions will help fuel the new Open Mainframe Project, formed by the Linux Foundation. In collaboration with the Linux Foundation, IBM will support the Open Mainframe Project, a collaboration of nearly a dozen organizations across the academic, government and corporate sectors to advance the development and adoption of Linux on the mainframe.

"Linux on the mainframe has reached a critical mass such that vendors, users and academia need a neutral forum where they can work together to advance Linux tools and technologies and increase enterprise innovation," Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said in a statement. "The Open Mainframe Project is a direct response to the demands of Linux users and the supporting open-source ecosystem to address unique features and requirements built into mainframes for security, availability and performance."

Founding members of the Open Mainframe Project include ADP, BMC, CA Technologies, Compuware, IBM, L3C, Marist College, RSM Partners, SUSE, The Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at University of Washington, University of Bedfordshire and Vicom Infinity.

"Linux is the fastest-growing operating system in the industry with significant drivers expanding it into mission-critical applications," said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. "The causes for this trend are speed, agility, a unified development environment and cost. Plus, the quality of Linux has advanced over the years significantly. Mobile is also driving an increased focus on this platform, which is closely tied to the mobile revolution."

IBM is committing to driving the future of Linux on the mainframe by supporting the Open Mainframe Project through substantial funding and company resources, including IBM Linux Technology Centers, open-source community contributions, Academic Initiative and training programs, and open access to mainframe community clouds, Enderle said.

With the LinuxONE announcement, IBM is also providing free access to the mainframe to foster innovations by developers in the open-source community. IBM is creating the LinuxONE Developer Cloud to provide open access to the development community. The cloud acts as a virtual R&D engine for the creation, testing and piloting of emerging applications, including testing linkages to engagement systems, mobile applications and hybrid cloud applications.

"This opens these mainframe systems, not only to students, but also to open-source developers who love to write code," Mauri said. "Many of these open-source developers are working on their own and they don't have a lot of resources." Mauri added that the new Linux initiative also will bring new blood into the mainframe space.

Marist College and Syracuse University's School of Information Studies will host clouds that provide developers access to a virtual IBM LinuxONE at no cost. As part of the program, IBM will create a special cloud for independent software providers (ISVs) hosted at IBM sites in Dallas, Beijing, and Boeblingen, Germany, that provide application vendors access and a free trial to LinuxONE resources to port, test and benchmark new applications for the LinuxONE and z Systems platform.

IBM helped pioneer virtualization on the mainframe and is now offering more choices for virtualization by enabling the new LinuxONE systems to be provisioned as a virtual machine through the open-standards-based KVM hypervisor, just like any Linux server. SUSE, a leading distributor of Linux, will provide initial support for KVM for the mainframe. Canonical also plans to support KVM for the mainframe.


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