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14 December 2009, 16:43

Linux controls IBM mainframes

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Zoom IBM's "System z" mainframes are now also available as Linux-only systems.
Consolidation for everyone is IBM's stated reason for releasing a Linux version of its System z mainframe. The new Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) is a stand-alone system specifically designed for Linux environments. According to IBM, the financial savings can be up to 80 per cent. Furthermore, a "save-as-you-grow" pricing model is intended to facilitate investment decisions by allowing customers to gradually purchase resources at considerably lower prices than that of a complete system.

Although the name Enterprise Linux Server may imply an association with Novell's SLES, IBM says that it develops the System z mainframes, like its other Linux products, in close cooperation with Red Hat and Novell.

The "System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux " consists of an Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), memory, I/O components and the z/VM virtualisation software. These packages allow users to operate z10 systems on a stand-alone basis or expand existing systems. In both cases, 3 to 5 years of hardware maintenance and a subscription and support contract of the same length for the zVM software are available as required. Those who already operate a System z mainframe and want to add Linux applications can buy IBM's new z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux, a comprehensive bundle consisting of hardware, software and services.

ELS is available in an Enterprise Class (EC) configuration and a Business Class (BC) configuration. The z/Virtual Machine (z/VM) integrated in System z mainframes allows hundreds of virtual machines (VMs) to operate with Linux on one ELS. This reportedly enables users to create three times the number of VMs viable with virtualisation on x64 platforms. IBM also plans to offer a Linux Specialty Engine that can reportedly replace 30 x86 VMs by utilising the monitoring, security and availability features integrated in z10 mainframes.

With the announcement of ELS in December, IBM now has eight z editions in its portfolio: for data warehousing, application development, disaster recovery, security, electronic payment systems, SAP applications, Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) and cloud computing. A starter configuration with two processing units (CPs) costs $212,000.


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