IBM will soon introduce new high-end pSeries servers designed to run Linux natively, marking the first time the companys proprietary AIX 5L Unix-based operating system wont be required to run its top-of-the-line servers.
Previously, customers could run Linux by partitioning a single system into several virtual servers. However, since Linux was not supported natively, the servers still required customers to use AIX 5L to manage the system.
IBM first offered native Linux as an option on its entry-level servers and has since gradually extended the capability toward it high-end systems. The introduction of the new pSeries servers by years end will complete that Linux migration.
Big Blue on Tuesday briefed industry analysts on its plan to deliver Linux on its high-performance eServer pSeries family.
"We plan to offer customers a choice of running Linux and/or AIX 5L on our most powerful servers, beginning with the introduction of a pSeries server equipped with Power 4 microprocessors used in corporations and the worlds largest supercomputers," a spokeswoman confirmed to eWEEK on Tuesday.
The new offerings will make IBM the only major Unix vendor to offer high-end servers capable of running Linux natively, she said.
Big Blues approach is different from Suns, which has recently begun offering Linux on its entry-level servers but still requires customers to use its proprietary Unix-based Solaris software on its mid- to high-end servers.
IBMs news also comes on the eve of the Sun Network conference in San Francisco this week. Scott McNealy, Suns CEO, chairman and president, will use his keynote address on Wednesday to announce its newest initiative, the Sun ONE Linux desktop.
IBMs representative said that the pSeries partitioning capabilities, which enable users to run both Linux and AIX 5L on the same machine, offer several advantages over Suns offerings, which only allow users to run either Linux or Solaris.