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IBM pushes mainframe Linux initiative with open source giveaway

IBM has contributed mainframe management code to the open source community as part of the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Initiative

IBM has announced two LinuxOne mainframes, support for Ubuntu, free cloud-based access to Linux mainframe systems and pay-per-use Linux mainframe pricing to drive mainframe adoption.

The open-source code includes IT predictive analytics that constantly monitor for unusual system behaviour and help prevent issues from turning into failures.

The code can be used by developers to build similar sense-and-respond resilience capabilities on other systems, according to IBM.

The company also announced a suite of complementary open-source tools, including Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef for mainframe systems.

Additionally, the KVM hypervisor will be available to organisations running SuSE on the mainframe to deploy Linux virtual machines.

IBM began supporting Linux on the mainframe in 2000, enabling its traditional mainframe customer to consolidate client-server applications such as SAP and mainframe software on one box.

“We are deepening our commitment to the open-source community by combining the best of the open world with the most advanced system in the world in order to help clients embrace new mobile and hybrid cloud workloads,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice-president of IBM Systems.

“Building on the success of Linux on the mainframe, we continue to push the limits beyond the capabilities of commodity servers that are not designed for security and performance at extreme scale,” he said.

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The availability of the LinuxOne systems is part of IBM’s goal to entice more developers to the mainframe. Without the need for IBM’s zOS mainframe operating system and System z software, LinuxOne promises to lower the bar to mainframe computing to support the Linux-based back-end applications that power mobile apps.

In July 2015, IBM said mainframe sales were up by 9% due to its new z13 mainframe, released in March 2015. The system is capable of analysing transactions in “real time” and can be used to help prevent fraud as it is occurring. The system can scale up to 8,000 virtual machines or thousands of containers, according to IBM.

Speaking to Computer Weekly earlier in 2015, Rosamilia said: “Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smartphone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment. The z13 is designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy.”

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