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A Guide to Linux Adoption

Linux on POWER8

Enterprises have been turning to the Linux* OS because of its capability to handle mission-critical applications while controlling business costs.

But a key pain point for IT professionals has been the need to scale their systems to meet peak workloads.

To better serve customers and take advantage of the next generation of computing power, companies must increasingly look to accelerated systems, says Joe Clabby, president, Clabby Analytics, a technology research and analysis firm in Charleston, South Carolina.

“With accelerated systems, an organization can optimize Linux workloads, control cost and scale a secure environment for next-generation applications,” he explains.

Optimizing Linux Workloads

To get the most out of their systems, enterprises should pay close attention to two metrics: speed and utilization.

Linux running on POWER8* hardware offers speed advantage, as the system can resolve queries faster than other architectures. “The Linux on POWER* microprocessor can complete eight threads per cycle, while the Intel* server can only complete four,” Clabby explains. “You’re going to get a lot more work processed a lot more quickly on a Power architecture.”

Utilization is also critical. When a system is designed to exploit every available cycle, a company can get more work out of its processors. “When I talk to people who run Intel shops, they run at about 40 percent utilization,” Clabby says. “But with IBM’s virtualization tools for its Power* systems, enterprises can get utilization up to 80 percent and run in a highly optimized environment.”

Moving from a proprietary model to an open system, such as Linux on POWER, can help an organization keep and even increase its competitive advantage.

Leveraging Reliability

In order to offer high-quality service, enterprises must be confident that their servers will stay up and running. Several clustered servers generally means a more sprawling, complex infrastructure for an often-overworked IT organization.

By running a consolidated system, IT professionals have fewer physical servers in fewer locations. And streamlined systems can eventually help organizations improve reliability across the enterprise. Annual IT Intelligence Consulting global server hardware and server OS reliability surveys regularly rank consolidated servers as among the most reliable; some achieved 99.999 percent availability multiple years in a row (bit.ly/2dfLi3o).

Increasing Business Value

It’s important to consider factors beyond hardware acquisition costs to improve the economics of Linux deployments, Clabby says. IT leaders should also seek ways to reduce software licensing costs.

When a system is optimized, software costs can decrease dramatically because when it can process data fast and maximize utilization, it needs fewer processors.

Margarette Burnette is a freelance writer and former IBMer based in Atlanta.

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