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IBM Revs LinuxWorld Engine

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Jul 31, 2003


In a move to affirm its claim as a leading proponent and user of Linux technology, IBM decided to get next week's LinuxWorld announcements going early Wednesday, unveiling new hardware and software that showcase the open-source operating system. Working to affirm its claim as a leading proponent and user of Linux technology, IBM early Wednesday unveiled new hardware and software that showcase the open-source operating system.

LinuxWorld Conference and Expo 2003 begins next week on August 4 in San Francisco, where major vendors, including Big Blue, Hewlett-packard, BEA Systems, and Sun Microsystems are expected to converge to show off their latest Linux offerings at a time when cost-conscious IT departments are looking for greater return-on-investment while lowering total-cost-of-ownership.

First, the hardware for Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM: The IBM eServer 325 is a DB2 Linux integrated clustering environment may be powered by the AMD Opteron processors models 240, 242 or 246, which won't be officially unveiled until next week.

According to Scott Handy, director, Linux software solutions, the main draw for this machine is its capability to run Linux with 32- to 64-bit compatibility. This match runs backward as well.

The heart of the eServer 325 is DB2 Integrated Cluster Environment, or (DB2 ICE), which combines the scalability of clustering technology with the low cost of Linux. Handy said that while Oracle's Real Application Clusters may tally only 8 nodes, DB2 ICE scales to 1,000 nodes at a rate of four nodes-an-hour. DB2 ICE is available immediately with pricing that starts at $8,700 for a two-node system and includes DB2 Express, two xSeries x335 eServers, and SuSE Linux or Red Hat Linux.

This makes it possible for customers with high-performance computing environments to migrate their IT systems and database applications to a 64-bit environment gradually, so they don't lose any of their 32-bit investment or performance. eServer 325 can also run either Linux or Windows operating systems, and can run 32- and 64-bit applications simultaneously to suit customers with different requirements.

Handy told internetnews.com IBM strongly believes customers are better served with the AMD 64-bit Opteron processor for this server, as opposed to anything offered by Intel's Itanium.

"This fits in well with Linux customers," Handy said, noting that IT customers are increasingly looking to cluster a number of small, Linux-based servers together as opposed to buying machines based on proprietary operating systems like Microsoft's Windows, Sun's Solaris, or even IBM's AIX, which "locks them in" to writing to that system.

Handy stressed that the eServer 325 machine using the DB2 integrated clustering environment presents a significant value proposition and price/performance ratio over most 32-bit applications running on 32-bit systems.

Forrester Research analyst Stacey Quandt said AMD's Opteron's support for a 64-bit extension means it can enable faster query response times and improve data loading and unloading. Quandt compared the 64-bit Opteron to Itanium.

"A disadvantage of the 64-bit Unix microprocessor architecture and the Itanium processor family is that all the software applications have to be compiled to run natively on the microprocessor architecture," Quandt said. "This is a major reason why Itanium remains a niche market since ISVs must port and support their applications on a new microprocessor architecture, Opteron offers ISV the ability to run 32-bit applications and only 64-bit performance when required."

"By offering Opteron systems IBM can provide high-performance technical computing customers with a low cost platform and an alternative to more expensive Itanium systems," she said.

The company has already found a home for several of its eServer 325 systems in Japan. IBM said the country's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), has commissioned a Linux supercomputer composed of 1,058 325 machines.

When finished, it will be capable of more than 11 trillion calculations per second and will link corporations, universities and the government of Japan together for research collaboration.

The eServer 325 also falls under IBM's deep computing e-business on-demand strategy, where customers may buy the machines outright, or access these systems on demand, paying for processing power based on the required capacity and duration.

Linux is also pervading IBM's other product lines, including Lotus, Tivoli, and WebSphere, where it has taken up quite a residence with IBM in recent weeks in combination with IBM servers.

Handy said IBM is extending Linux support for Lotus software on the client and server with Lotus Domino Web Access, a browser-based Web client, and Lotus Domino for Linux on IBM eServer zSeries. Formerly known as iNotes Web Access, this brings browser-based messaging to Linux users, letting workers access e-mail and calendaring by logging onto the Web and using a Mozilla browser.

IBM eServer Integrated Platform for e-business makes it possible for small, midsize and enterprise customers to quickly deploy e-business solutions running on Linux. Handy said this new platform includes either an iSeries midrange server or a pSeries UNIX-based server, both using IBM's Power4 microprocessor. This also includes IBM WebSphere Application Server and DB2 Universal Database software, tools, sizing guides, and SuSE Linux.

Finally, IBM is extending Linux support for three key Tivoli offerings, including new support on zSeries servers and client support for Linux on pSeries servers has been added to the Tivoli Data Storage Solution; Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance; and Tivoli Access Manager.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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