Linux on z Systems Accelerates New and Traditional Workloads

Linux z Systems
Illustration by Atelier Olschinsky

Savvy businesses know that tackling challenges requires IT strategies that serve today’s needs and provide room to grow to handle future demand. They also know that embracing open-source solutions is a smart way to add capabilities.

Clients with mainframe environments are well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities because of the IBM z Systems* platform’s capability to run both z/OS* and Linux*.

“If a client has a high-risk workload that needs to be in a secure environment and handle future growth, we can offer the capabilities of the mainframe with traditional and open-source workloads.”
—Steffen Thoss, offering manager, z Systems virtualization and Linux

New opportunities often require new workloads. Because z Systems can run multiple workloads in parallel on both Linux and z Systems OSes, clients can add new open-source workloads with Linux while continuing to support traditional workloads with z/OS, z/TPF or z/VSE*. This provides a great opportunity for fast-growing cloud deployment as well. Mainframe clients can run their internal services in a cloud, and service providers can easily become cloud providers.

Enabling Cloud

The mainframe is in the forefront of cloud innovation, says Ingo Adlung, IBM Distinguished Engineer, chief architect and CTO, z Systems virtualization and Linux.

Mainframe clients wanting to deliver cloud services find that combining z Systems and Linux provides the necessary foundation. Using z Systems, clients can leverage the mainframe to provide cloud services based on systems of record (SoRs).

“IBM will help clients transform themselves from traditional IT service providers to service providers in the cloud with software-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service capabilities,” he says. Further, IBM’s work with OpenStack benefits any company moving to the cloud.

IBM works closely with its Linux distribution partners—Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE—to serve client requirements for cloud and related technologies such as Kernel-based VM (KVM), says Steffen Thoss, offering manager, z Systems virtualization and Linux, IBM.

SUSE currently offers z/VM* support and will soon add KVM support, Thoss says. SUSE’s offerings include OpenStack enablement via the SUSE OpenStack Cloud product. Meanwhile, Canonical supports an OpenStack solution with its own version of KVM. IBM and Red Hat are discussing enabling cloud options for z Systems.

Container technology from Docker, Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Canonical’s Ubuntu LXD/LXC support the cloud environment, says Marcel Mitran, IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO, IBM LinuxONE*. Deployment and management tools—such as Chef, Puppet, Salt Stack and Ansible—and application management and orchestration tools—including API Connect and Juju—are available to help clients offer as-a-service environments.

Cloud calls for integrating all of the platforms running in your data center, which makes using open-source software a natural choice. IBM works with its distributors to enable Linux on z Systems clients to use the same open-source software that runs on x86. By doing so, “we are aligning with the needs of our client,” says Gerald Hosch, marketing, Linux z Systems, IBM.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at

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