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Embracing Linux on the Power Platform


As users and sellers of Power Systems*, most of us are familiar with the history of IBM i. It came from IBM labs and—in its original form and packaging—was the beloved AS/400, a proprietary architecture and OS, tightly coupled and packaged to sell as a complete solution for running all manner of organizations.

Thanks to its foresight, IBM guided and facilitated the development of an ecosystem of software developers, resellers and consultants around the platform. The notion of one-stop shopping and a data center in a box clearly resonated with many global enterprises.

What about AIX*? AIX came from UNIX*, which came from Bell Labs and later, a handful of commercial players. In recent years, AIX has become the dominant UNIX OS. Could there be a more diametrically opposed set of organizational structures or business agendas than IBM i and AIX? Probably not.

Linux* thrives on the sometimes messy democracy, including collaboration between potentially competing interests, for the greater goodness of “the cause.”

How did the industry arrive at such a crossroads? The short version is that the IBM i and AIX became companions on a common hardware platform called Power*. The hardware’s virtualization capabilities allow for the carving out of virtual machines (LPARs) hosting several different OSes, all on one physical box. All of a sudden IBM i applications (and people) were working on the same “machine” as the AIX crowd and, more recently, the Linux group. Put a bunch of bright people together and amazing things happen.

Why Linux Now?

While recent estimates indicate that IBM has a single-digit percentage of the Linux market share, Linux is here to stay. That’s why we’re having this discussion.

All manner of applications (e.g., big data, Smarter Planet, Internet of Things) have been designed and developed in the Linux world. Add to that a host of hardware manufacturers, software developers and hosting companies that are building products to support specific functions and applications—all based on the openness and collaborative aspects of the Linux model.

Jim Young is the VP of Sales for Midrange Performance Group, providers of performance management and capacity planning software and services for IBM Power* platforms.

Randy Watson is president of Midrange Performance Group (MPG), an IBM business partner and ISV providing performance management and capacity planning software and services for the IBM Power Systems platforms.

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