IBM: WebSphere + Linux + Power4 Chip = Savings

IBM Wednesday brought together three of its flagship technologies together for the first time to help its customers add a jolt to their IT systems without costing them extra cash.

The Armonk, N.Y. vendor has crafted its WebSphere Application Server
software to support its eServer pSeries and iSeries machines running both Linux and IBM’s Power4 microprocessor.

Big Blue said it made the alterations to those lines — Linux and Power4 have never been coupled for WebSphere — because it believes that as more banks, retailers, government agencies and turn to Linux in a cost-conscious era, they will want extend the use of the popular open-source operating system beyond Intel-based Windows platforms to those servers capable of
handling greater workloads, such as the iSeries and pSeries servers.

Bob Sutor, Director, WebSphere Infrastructure Software, said the move is the
company’s way of demonstrating two forms of interoperability — one with
Java and WebSphere and one with Linux and Power4.

Sutor said the combination of WebSphere, Linux and Power4, which IBM hawks
as the first “server on a chip,” containing two 1-gigahertz-plus processors
and other innovations, creates a platform for extending Java-based
applications to customers that isn’t offered by the likes of rivals Sun
Microsystems or HP .

For example, Microsoft Windows applications can only run on Intel-based
servers. Sutor said a combination of Linux and
WebSphere, will allow customers greater choice in using applications across
on multiple server platforms and chip architectures.

Moreover, current Java-based applications running on top of WebSphere
Application Server will easily run on the new
Power4 architecture running Linux.

“Customers can choose their hardware platform and have a lot of portability
to scale from a lower-end Intel-based machine to the high-end iSeries or
pSeries servers with the Power4,” Sutor told “On
top of that you have WebSphere apps that are Java-based to offer even more
portability. So you have this flexibility of developing a small machine on
one level with Linux on an Intel chip to creating 8- or 16-way
configurations on the Power4. It’s a completeness of flexibility.”

Redmonk Senior Analyst James Governor discussed the play recently.

“For now Linux has taken off for IBM on the xseries and IBM mainframes
but we haven’t seen a great deal of adoption in the I and p space yet,” Governor said.
“This is a nice write once run any IBM middleware story which should help
drive that story. Java never delivered the promise of write once run
anywhere in itself, but IBM sees the opportunity to offer a value
proposition thus: write to the middleware — then choose your IBM server
and QoS. If you were an ISV wouldn’t you be pleased to know you only had to write
code once to run it at iSeries and pSeries and xSeries and zSeries
shops? This announcement is important in that regard.”

“The new WebSphere software advances IBM’s distinction as the only company
that can support customers’ use of Linux across every major server
platform,” said Tom Inman, Vice President, IBM WebSphere Foundation and
Tools, in a statement.

Sutor says this comes in stark contrast to the philosophy of firms that say
Linux goes as high it can go on the traditional Microsoft Intel-based server
where there is no scalability all the way up to mainframe. It also
contradicts Sun Microsystems’ belief that Linux belongs to the low-end on

Additionally, Sutor said IBM has quietly rolled out offerings for its DB2
database line and Tivoli security software line that support Power4 running
on Linux.

In keeping with their new tradition to make their platforms more attractive
to cost-conscious enterprise customers, the WebSphere software will be
included in a new offering from IBM Global Financing that allows qualified
customers in the
United States and Canada to defer payments until January 2004 at no charge
or choose special low financing rates.

This applies to all IBM Software products that are purchased on a one-time
charge basis. U.S. contracts for this program must be signed by Sept. 30,
and by Sept. 15 in Canada.

WebSphere Application Server 5.0.2 will be available on July 15 for $10,000 per processor, while the Network Deployment version will sell for $15,000 per processor on the same day. The Enterprise version ships on July 25 and costs $30,000 per processor.

News Around the Web