IBM Refreshes LinuxONE, Expands Platform's Ecosystem

IBM enhances LinuxONE for hybrid cloud environments, adding data management and API tools for service providers, small, mid-size businesses.

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IBM has announced a host of new features and collaborations for its LinuxONE family of high-performance Linux systems, broadening its ecosystem and adding new platform support.

The enhancements will enable organizations of all sizes to develop, deploy and manage applications for the cloud with robust security, IBM said.

A key move to expand the LinuxONE ecosystem includes providing support for the Go programming language.

IBM LinuxONE recently ported the Go programming language, which was developed by Google. Go is designed for building simple, reliable and efficient software, making it easier for developers to combine the software tools they know and love with the speed, security and scale offered by LinuxONE. IBM will begin contributing code to the Go community in the summer.

“Go was being used more and more for a ton of infrastructure across the ecosystem,” Marcel Mitran, CTO of IBM’s LinuxONE initiative, told eWEEK. “One of the obvious cases is Docker. Docker is written in Go. The Open Ledger project to deliver an open source blockchain technology also is written in Go. As we work with Ubuntu with the Canonical team, a lot of their technology is written in Go. Kubernetes, which is a Docker management framework, is written in Go. There is a lot of ecosystem technology out there being written in Go and we want to be part of that ecosystem and to be able to bring those capabilities with agility to the LinuxONE platform. It became a necessity for us to participate and drive some innovation in that community. Go is a very exciting language. It’s refreshing to see this kind of innovation in a systems programming language.”

In addition, IBM is expanding the LinuxONE ecosystem through new work with SUSE to collaborate on technologies in the OpenStack space. SUSE tools will be employed to manage public, private and hybrid clouds running on LinuxONE. LinuxONE supports both SUSE and Red Hat Linux and will soon support Ubuntu, Mitran said.

Following up on an intention announced last year, Canonical is offering its Ubuntu Linux distribution and cloud tool sets -- Juju, MAAS, and Landscape -- to LinuxONE clients. With the addition of Ubuntu to the existing SUSE and Red Hat distributions, organizations will have a third option for acquiring the LinuxONE system.

Meanwhile, IBM is optimizing its Cloudant and StrongLoop technologies for LinuxONE. The new features will offer a highly scalable environment on Node.js, which enables developers to write applications for the server side using the language they prefer. Cloudant, an enterprise-grade managed NoSQL database, stores data in JSON format, common for mobile data, enabling users to save time by storing data natively in the system, without the need to first convert it to a different language.

“We announced Cloudant and its Database as a Service capabilities to the platform,” Mitran said. “This ties first-class database as a service capabilities to a platform designed mission-critical data serving and high availability. Beyond that StrongLoop is now available on LinuxONE and brings its capabilities for Mobile Backend as a Service as well as all its strengths of API management.”

IBM also announced refreshed versions of the LinuxONE family, which includes the Emperor and Rockhopper, to improve speed and processing power.

In March, IBM Open Platform (IOP) will be available for the IBM LinuxONE portfolio at no cost. IOP represents a broad set of industry standard Apache-based capabilities for analytics and big data. The components supported include Apache Spark, Apache HBase and more, as well as Apache Hadoop 2.7.1. Continuing its commitment to contributing back to the open source community, IBM has optimized the Open Managed Runtime project (OMR) for LinuxONE.

“We have optimized the OMR project, which is about bringing first-class language runtime capabilities to the open-source community. We’re refactoring the IBM JVM runtime and making that available to accelerate innovation in the language and runtime space,” Mitran said.

LinuxONE, introduced in August 2015, is enabled for a broad range of popular open-source and ISV tools including Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Chef and Docker. The new LinuxONE systems availability is currently scheduled for March.

“IBM is strengthening its expansion into the open community, providing developers more choice and flexibility with LinuxONE,” said Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM z Systems and LinuxONE, in a statement. “The platform’s broadened ecosystem and new hybrid cloud capabilities underscore the security, efficiency and performance that clients need, while delivering the flexibility and possibilities of open source they love.”

IBM customers using the LinuxONE platform include the UK Met Office, a leader in climate and weather services for the public, business and government. It uses LinuxONE to process transactions and run analytics to derive insights to deliver critical information in real-time.

“It is essential for us to deliver services based on accurate data that paints a full picture, and do so as quickly as possible,” said Graham Mallin, executive head of technology at the Met Office, in a statement. “LinuxONE has enabled our organization to provide our services to clients based on weather and climate data faster, and today’s announcement will enable us to go even further with this life-saving work.”