IBM Launches Linux-Powered Mainframe LinuxOne

IBM has launched a Linux-powered mainframe for the enterprise. With the launch of the new system, dubbed LinuxONE, IBM wants to bring together the advantages of open source software and those of optimized, centralized hardware with world-class customer service.

Linux One systems, which run Ubuntu Linux and support a range of popular open source enterprise software suites, are available in two flavors:

The IBM LinuxONE Emperor, powered by the IBM z13 mainframe, delivers the flexibility, scalability, performance and trust for business critical Linux applications. The IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper is an entry point into the LinuxONE Systems family, with the flexibility of a smaller package with upgradability to the Emperor system.

IBM and Canonical Partner to Deploy Ubuntu to the Enterprise

IBM mainframeTechCrunch notes that Emperor and Rockhopper are names of penguins (the popular Linux mascot is a penguin). The short, minimalist announcement video features cardboard penguins.

IBM is no newcomer to Linux, but this announcement seems to indicate an escalation in IBM’s commitment to open source Linux solutions for its enterprise clients.

“Linux is everywhere,” states the LinuxOne website. “It’s the driving force of an open standards revolution
that is now moving to business critical applications.”

IBM LinuxONE brings together the flexibility and agility of the open revolution with the industry’s most advanced, trusted and performance enterprise system.”

IBM is partnering with Ubuntu Linux developer and distributor Canonical. The partnership is likely to benefit both IBM that will gain access to enterprise clients already committed to Linux and open source software, and Canonical that will gain access to the enterprise sector.

Large expensive mainframes may seem obsolete in the age of networked computers and cloud computing, but many large organizations rely on mainframes for critical applications that require a tightly integrated system from a single vendor able to provide timely customer service. Besides using open source system and application software to make mainframes more affordable, IBM wants to modernize mainframes and open its enterprise solutions to mobile devices and cloud computing.

In related news, the Linux Foundation announced it was launching the Open Mainframe Project, an open source endeavor devoted to helping companies using mainframe computers.

IBM hopes to drive more mainframe usage by lowering the cost and complexity of owning one.” The Open Mainframe Project gives these customers, vendors and service providers one place to come together,” said Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Systems. “The real question is how effective the group will be in attracting members whose interest may be initially limited.”

Images from IBM and Alfred Lui/Flickr.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.