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WebSphere, DB2 Get the Power

Jul 09, 2003, 16:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Linux has been available for IBM's Power architecture for some time, but until recently, there has not been an abundance of Power-ready applications for the 64-bit platform. That, however, all changed today, with the announcement of WebSphere, DB2, and Tivoli Security availability for the Power4 processor.

The WebSphere Application Server will now support IBM eServer pSeries and iSeries machines running both Linux and IBM's Power4 microprocessor.

IBM is not shy about announcing the potential target of this expansion onto their native 64-bit architecure, either: they want Sun Microsystems customers, and they want them bad.

Scott Handy, Director of Linux Software Solutions at IBM, was very quick to point out this new product combination's advantages for BEA customers, particularly those running atop Sun's Solaris operating system.

"We can do a lot more tricks with Linux than Sun can do with their... implementation," Handy said. He added that migration from BEA to WebSphere would be very simple, since essentially it would be just moving from one J2EE environment to another.

WebSphere, Handy explained, "reaffirms IBM's committment to Java and to Linux." This committment to Java has won them a lot of support for the open-source application development platform, as Handy maintains that recent market data he has indicates that WebSphere has passed BEA in the market. Being Java-based allows more independent software vendors (ISVs) to move their own Java apps onto WebSphere, which is also helping to boost WebSphere's status.

IBM is also touting the new platform's flexability as a big selling point, as the Power architecture can be run in a variety of different combinations. Handy illustrated that the Power4 platform could run Linux is a single eight-way, two four-ways, four two-ways, or even eight one-ways. This modularity would easily allow users to configure multiple instances of WebSphere, or combinations with DB2 or even AIX partitions.

With Linux and WebSphere, customers can have the flexibility of using applications across the enterprise on multiple server platforms and chip architectures as business needs dictate. Conversely, Microsoft Windows applications can only run on Intel-based servers, according to a press statement from IBM.

DB2 for Linux on Power4 has actually been out since May 30, Handy said, though it went out with no announcements from Big Blue. Although the product really deserved an announcment of its own, it was Handy's feeling that DB2 should be revealed in conjunction with the WebSphere product.

IBM is pushing ahead with Linux on all fronts and architectures, as it moves into Sun's market space. "Sun has not really comitted to Linux like IBM has," Handy said.

"Linux keeps growing up and we keep pushing it into higher and higher environments," he added.

When asked about IBM's specific plans regarding the upcoming Linux 2.6 kernel, Handy deferred going into details, though he emphasized that IBM's Linux Technology Center would continue to contribute to the Linux community and IBM's product line would still be tested on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux flavors and the UnitedLinux distributions.

IBM is currently shipping 85 Linux-ready applications, Handy said, and he was confident that when 2.6 rolled out, each of these products would be quickly upgraded to that kernel based on their individual refresh cycles.

WebSphere + Linux + Power will become available in an updated version of WebSphere Application Server-Version 5.02 -- and on IBM eServer pSeries and iSeries servers on July 15.

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