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CNN/CIO: Linux gaining with mission-critical systems

Jan 03, 2001, 22:19 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ben Worthen)

"The I.S. department at Grede Foundries, a $600-million-a-year metals company in Milwaukee, was stuck with an IBM 390 mainframe. After years of developing skills on the big iron, changing business needs forced a move to the Web, which shifted Grede's dependence to Unix and Windows NT servers. Soon the little boxes were multiplying faster than rabbits, and the mainframe-focused shop was moving further away from its traditional strength."

"To stop the bleeding, Grede's Manager of Operations Rich Smrcina installed Linux on the old system, which now runs Web, file, mail and other serving tasks in the hope that doing so will let Grede consolidate the functions of the proliferating NT and Unix boxes. Best of all, the company's programmers can't tell the difference. "The image now of the mainframe is all the gray beards hunkering around the green screen," says Smrcina. "Well, I'm not gray, I don't have a beard, and I don't use a green screen anymore. I could show you a terminal session, and you wouldn't have a clue it was a mainframe -- [Linux] is that good of a port."

"Grede isn't the only Linux success story. While some contend that Linux has made headlines but little else, evidence suggests that Linux is finding a niche -- and quite possibly a large one. A poll of 2,092 IT professionals by Survey.com reveals that more than 68 percent of companies have or intend to deploy at least one Linux system. And according to IDC (a sister company to CIO's publisher, CXO Media), Linux was second in server operating environment by shipments last year with 24 percent of the market."

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