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VNU Net: Linux OS boosts IBM's mainframe plans

Apr 05, 2000, 20:29 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James Middleton)

By James Middleton, VNU Net

IBM's attempts to turn the mainframe into a primary ebusiness platform have been significantly bolstered by Linux.

An IBM executive told Network News last week that, to his surprise, there have been 1100 downloads of its mainframe Linux OS since the end of January.

Big Blue is working closely with a small group of users to develop and test ebusiness applications for Linux on S/390 and is pitching OS/390 Version 2 Release 9 as an enterprise level ebusiness system for the S/390.

"Users are able to run multiple instances of Linux on a single server, which is very useful for ASPs and ISPs," said Rich Lechner, vice president of ebusiness at IBM. He added that the Linux platform allows the mainframe to use the ports of well known middleware, including Apache, Samba and Bind DNS server software.

Mark Lillycrop, director of research at analyst Xephon, said that IBM wants to reposition the S/390 as an umbrella platform for whatever operating systems users need. "The role of the mainframe has changed from a core back-end machine to a secure hub for lots of different applications," he said.

IBM has also announced plans to port Linux to the AS/400 to cover all of its server platforms. A spokesperson said it will ensure "a common Linux application environment across servers, with a set of libraries and interfaces allowing core Linux applications to be compiled for different hardware/software platforms".

Xephon's Lillycrop said: "Linux and Apache are key elements of ebusiness, so there is not much point in rewriting applications for a different system. Instead, IBM has built a new role for the mainframe."

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