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RealTime IT News

IBM Turns Unilever, PGA Tour Onto Linux

NEW YORK -- After embracing Linux with a $1 billion investment at the Linux World Conference & Expo in January 2001, IBM returned to the show Wednesday with two major new customers as evidence that its vision of Linux for the enterprise is taking hold.

Big Blue brought Unilever and the PGA Tour into the fold Wednesday, along with nine other customers, noting that the customer wins show how customers in every industry are turning to IBM and Linux for their e-business infrastructure.

"It is significant that customers from every industry, in virtually every part of the world, turn to IBM to expand their use of Linux and move toward becoming an on-demand business," said Jim Stallings, general manager of Linux at IBM.

IBM said Unilever -- whose brands include Dove, Ragu, Lipton tea, Ben & Jerry's, Snuggle, Lawry's and Hellmann's mayonnaise -- plans to fully adopt a Linux strategy across its infrastructure in a move to leverage the platform's flexibility and lower cost.

The company has put Linux at the center of its IT strategy, with an eye on an eventual transition to grid computing leveraging Linux within eight to 10 years. Currently the company is focused on using Linux on the edge to run its firewalls and domain name servers, and it is looking at Linux for running its Web servers and to provide the foundation for its system management servers. Eventually it hopes Linux will evolve into a global enterprise operating environment and support environment that will allow it to "cookie-cut" its systems.

To push that vision, the company said it will join the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) to take a hand in the evolution of Linux.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is turning to IBM Linux Virtual Services and Storage to provide its fans with a new service: TOURCast, which will allow golf fans to follow tournaments in real time or replay through rich graphic statistical presentations.

"TOURCast will provide the PGA Tour fan with unprecedented information in a fun, easy-to-use, graphical experience," said Steve Evans, PGA Tour vice president of Information Services. "Gone are the days of watching a list of names waiting for a score to change. TOURCast will transport the fans onto the course where they can experience the holes, the shots and the tournament storylines in real-time."

The service combines IBM's Linux Virtual Services -- which provides on-demand computing power -- with PGA's existing ShotLink and Tournament Tracker applications to provide fans with information about players, shots and holes. The service will be hosted on IBM's virtual servers on IBM eServer zSeries mainframes and IBM Enterprise Storage Server systems, giving the Tour access to just the power and capacity it needs to meet actual user demand.

Other customer wins include VeriSign , Mercury Insurance Group, Grohe, Banco do Brasil, Automatos, Eberspaecher GmbH&Co., Geo H. Young & Co., Marist College, and The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

VeriSign plans to migrate all its public key infrastructure (PKI) services to Linux, while auto insurer Mercury wants to use eServer xSeries Intel processor-based systems running Linux to power its new Java-based Web portals for employees and independent agents.

Germany's Grohe, which designs, manufactures and distributes water fittings, is in the process of rolling out an advanced mobile sales application platform based on mySAP CRM Mobile Sales running DB2 database software for Linux on the eServer xSeries.

Banco do Brasil, Brazil's largest bank, is powering part of its European IT operations with eServer systems running Linux, and IBM said a new iSeries server running Linux is helping it manage its infrastructure.

Automatos, a player in IT Management solutions, decided to go with DB2 Universal Database for Linux to power its Internet-based automated ITintelligence solutions.

Germany's Eberspaecher, a manufacturer of automobile mufflers and heating systems, turned to Linux on the eServer zSeries mainframe and Enterprise Storage Server "Shark" to power its manufacturing and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications.

Geo. H. Young, a Canadian customs broker in Winnipeg, went with an eServer iSeries for hosting infrastructure applications, including file/print, database, Web serving, firewall and a Java application server.

Marist is working with IBM on a project to provide virtual Linux servers on an IBM mainframe to each of its computer science students, giving them each a secure, independent virtual computer for use throughout their undergraduate programs.

Finally, The Genome Sequencing Center went with an eServer BladeCenter running Linux to help it research and analyze large scale genomic data.

In all, IBM said it has more than 6,300 active customer engagements around Linux.