IBM Revs its LinuxWorld Engine


Working 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.


LinuxWorld
Conference and Expo 2003
begins next week on August 4 in San Francisco,
where major vendors including Big Blue, HP , 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 their 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 ability to run Linux with 32 to 64-bit
compatibility. This match runs backwards 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
only tally 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 including 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 both 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 that 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,
mid-sized and enterprise customers to quickly and 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.


Lastly, 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.

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