IBM will pre-install its new four-way, 64-bit eServer Openpower servers with Red Hat's enterprise Linux operating system, rather than AIX, IBM's Unix-based operating system.
IBM said it already has more than 650 certified applications for Linux on the Power platform, which will make it a strong entry-level platform for Linux.
Brian Connors, IBM vice-president of Linux on Power, said, "OpenPower is a revolutionary option for businesses, particularly in the financial and retail industries, who are looking for lower-priced, more powerful alternatives to HP and Sun Unix systems."
But Gartner vice-president George Weiss said, "Linux on Risc is at best a niche market served by IBM alone. Few applications have yet been certified for Linux on Power, apart from selected IBM middleware products, such as Websphere, DB2 and Tivoli."
Weiss added that the specialised version of the Linux OS for the Power architecture may cause IT management issues. Gartner recommended that only aggressive technology adopters should consider deploying the new servers. Others should wait to see how the market develops.