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VNU Net: IBM ships Linux for S/390 server

May 17, 2000, 14:24 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Linda Leung)

By Linda Leung, VNU Net

IBM has announced the availability of Linux for the S/390 server as it ships the mainframe system without its native operating system for the first time.

Linux for S/390 will be available from SuSE in Europe and TurboLinux in the US. The open source operating system will be able to run natively in the machine or alongside OS/390, with the S/390 hardware partitioned or with Linux running as a virtual machine.

The announcement is part of IBM's bid to capture a piece of the Linux market and to push S/390 as an alternative to servers from Sun Microsystems for hosting web applications.

However, some analysts questioned how well Linux for S/390 supports all the third-party software that can run on the IBM environment.

By the end of the year, IBM will port its range of middleware software to the platform to allow Linux applications to connect to DB2 and third-party databases, such as Oracle, as well as to Big Blue's IMS transaction environment.

But Stacey Quandt, an analyst at researcher Giga Information Group, warned that further technical work may be required if customers want to run Linux and Oracle natively on the S/390 without the help of IBM's own operating system or database.

She said IBM has failed to confirm whether it will port its Workload Manager software to the new platform, which is necessary for managing this type of environment.

"The announcement is of significance to IBM in the short term and in the long term it could have implications to the Linux market," she said, adding that existing customers could use the port to consolidate their servers onto one machine.

According to Rich Lechner, vice president of ebusiness for S/390, one unnamed telco has thrown out 400 Sun web servers in favour of using Linux virtual machines running on one S/390. He claimed that one IBM server could support up to 41,000 Linux virtual machines.

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