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IBM, Oracle Co-Market Linux on Mainframes

Linux on IBM mainframes is getting a vote of confidence from Oracle and research firm IDC.

IBM  and Oracle  recently inked a deal that to garner broader support for Oracle applications running on Linux for IBM's System z mainframe systems.

IBM is responsible for hardware sales, while Oracle is responsible for Oracle software sales, according to Frank Monez, Linux initiative manager for IBM System z.

Candidate workloads for the Linux on System z include Oracle database software and other Oracle software including, EBusiness Suite for Linux on System z, Peoplesoft on Linux for System z, and Siebel on Linux for System z.

IDC thinks highly of the pact, too, noting in a recent research report that the deal may well serve as "a foundation for future enterprise Linux deployments on the mainframe."

Though IBM is happy to get Oracle applications running on Linux for IBM mainframes, it isn't about to abandon its existing Linux partners.

"The co-marketing agreement does not include Unbreakable Linux," Monez told internetnews.com.com. "We continue to collaborate with and support Novell and Red Hat."

The co-marketing agreement also does not include Oracle's new Linux management offering.

Though the co-marketing agreement between Oracle and IBM doesn't include Unbreakable Linux, that's not to say IBM customers aren't asking about it.

According to Robert Shimp, vice president of technology marketing at Oracle, "some customers have expressed interest in an Oracle Unbreakable Linux support offering on IBM System z Linux."

Oracle began offering Unbreakable Linux support in October as an affront to Linux leader Red Hat. Prospective users have been able to demo the offering for free so far, though the free promotion ends January 31.

From an IBM perspective, both Red Hat and Novell occupy an important place in IBM's partner structure. At the end of 2005, IBM promoted both Novell and Microsoft to its strategic alliance program, IBM's highest partner level.

It is not clear whether the move to co-market Oracle solutions for Linux on IBM mainframes will have an impact on IBM's AIX software, which also run on the mainframe. IBM's Monez did not directly answer that question though he did note that Linux on IBM's Power architecture has been a success.

"Last year, IBM announced the 2,500th Linux application on POWER," Monez said. "The partnership with Oracle and the mainframe enables IBM to better target customers that have systems from competing vendors."