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IBM debuts Linux-only mainframes

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IBM has announced a significant expansion of the mainframe’s strategy of embracing open source-based technologies and open-source communities to provide clients with the most secure, highest performance capabilities for an era where mainframes increasingly anchor corporate analytics and hybrid clouds.

The company is introducing two Linux mainframe servers – called LinuxOne – that are the industry’s most powerful and secure enterprise servers designed for the new application economy and hybrid cloud era.

IBM will enable open source and industry tools and software including Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Chef and Docker on z Systems to provide clients with choice and flexibility for hybrid cloud deployments. SUSE, which provides Linux distribution for the mainframe, will now support KVM, giving clients a new hypervisor option. Canonical and IBM also announced plans to create an Ubuntu distribution for LinuxONE and z Systems.

The collaboration with Canonical brings Ubuntu’s scale-out and cloud expertise to the IBM z Systems platform, further expanding its reach and support.

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.

“Fifteen years ago IBM surprised the industry by putting Linux on the mainframe, and today more than a third of IBM mainframe clients are running Linux,” says Tom Rosamilia, senior vice-president of IBM Systems. “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. 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.”

IBM’s LinuxONE is a new portfolio of hardware, software and services solutions that provides two distinct Linux systems for large enterprises and mid-size businesses. LinuxONE Emperor, based on the IBM z13, is the world’s most advanced Linux system with the fastest processor in the industry.

The system is capable of analysing transactions in realtime and can be used to help prevent fraud as it is occurring. The system can scale up to 8 000 virtual machines or hundreds of thousands of containers – currently the most of any single Linux system. LinuxONE Rockhopper, an entry into the portfolio, is designed for clients and emerging markets seeking the speed, security and availability of the mainframe but in a smaller package.

IBM’s LinuxONE systems are the most secure Linux systems with advanced encryption features built into both the hardware and software to help keep customer data and transactions confidential and secure. Protected-key, available on LinuxONE, provides significantly enhanced security over clear-key technology and offers up-to 28X improved performance over standard secure-key technology.