IBM Gives the Penguin a Boost

Spurred by the interest and demand for more resources to develop
applications on IBM’s Power architecture, officials
announced Monday a bevy of training aids and free test environments.

Officials from the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant also announced the
inclusion of more Red Hat and SUSE Linux support for its reseller program,
Leaders for Linux, to jump start its participation in this week’s LinuxWorld
Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

IBM has been increasing the level of Linux support it provides for the
64-bit computing Power architecture, backwards-compatible with 32-bit
servers, after seeing a dramatic uptick in interest from the open source
community.

“The growth of Linux has gone from what was infrastructure-like file print,
firewall servers to now, I think, in the genuinely mainstream,” said Buell
Duncan, IBM general manager of ISV and developer relations. “As
a result, we are launching a number of very significant programs to help
support those companies who are making a significant effort to enable their
applications around Linux.”

The bulk of Big Blue’s Linux on Power efforts revolve around three virtual
Power platforms to tweak and improve applications on the Power architecture.
Two of them are for its ISVs and the third for the open source community.

  • Virtual Loaner Program – a three-month-old program that lets ISVs
    access servers through a secure Web portal and expand system capacity.
  • “Test Drive” Centers for ISVs – Similar to the virtual loaner program,
    ISVs can remotely configure and test applications for free on a limited
    basis, or pay for more long-term development projects.
  • Academic support – the University of Portland School of Engineering is
    letting any developer develop or port their applications on their
    Power-based hardware. Officials say more universities will be offering
    similar programs in the future.

Duncan said the company has been busily building up Linux on Power resources
at its DeveloperWorks site to accommodate the influx of visitors and demand.
He said approximately 320,000 developers visit the site every month and 600
Linux on Power applications have been written in the past six months.

“Our customers and our partners tell us this has real value,” he said. “The
market is asking for alternatives to Windows-only solutions. [Research
firm] IDC had said that in three years [Linux] will be the number-one server
operating system in terms of new shipments; as the market moves there,
solution providers and ISVs are working to enable their applications to
support this demand.”

In reseller news, IBM announced Monday the 250 members of its Leaders for
Linux reseller program would get a boost from Red Hat
and Novell Linux distributions — Red Hat Linux and SUSE
Linux.

The expanded relationships with the two vendors give IBM resellers more
access to support, marketing and training, akin to the level of support
Novell and Red Hat offers its own resellers: 24×7 technical support, online
training and guides, pre-sales support and access to each company’s
knowledge base.

Starla Cox, director of North American channels marketing at Novell, said
that by helping out IBM’s program, it helps itself.

“Our partner community is a very high priority for us and we see the IBM
Leaders for Linux program as a key target in terms of identifying market
makers who are going to help us drive our Linux initiatives moving forward,”
she said. “We see them as a tremendous opportunity and base.”

IBM includes systems integrators, value-added distributors ISVs, solution
providers as well as resellers in its Leaders for Linux program.

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