IBM has announced a significant refresh for the LinuxONE z Systems platform it introduced in 2015. In the last year, IBM has seen its z Systems sales up 35% and the introduction of the Linux-only LinuxONE Rockhopper and Penguin models are being credited with a significant part of that growth.
In order to maintain the momentum of LinuxONE IBM has announced a number of new features and technologies that will be available on the platform. The intention is to make it easier for developers to integrate enterprise Linux applications with cloud, Internet of Things (IOT) and mobile.
According to Ross Mauri, general manager, IBM z Systems and LinuxONE: “IBM is strengthening its expansion into the open community, providing developers more choice and flexibility with LinuxONE. The platform’s broadened ecosystem and new hybrid cloud capabilities underscore the security, efficiency and performance that clients need, while delivering the flexibility and possibilities of open source they love.”
What’s new with LinuxONE?
Two new models: Little is known about the details of the two models until they are formally unveiled later today in the US. IBM has said that they will include faster processors, more memory and support larger amounts of data. It has also promised new security and improved I/O performance both for transactional data and for big data analytics.
More Linux support: From April 2016, Ubuntu from Canonical will join SUSE and Red Hat which means that all three major Linux distributions will be supported on LinuxONE. As well as bringing its Linux distribution to LinuxONE Ubuntu will add support for its cloud tool sets Juju, MAAS and Landscape.
IBM and SUSE have also been collaborating on OpenStack technologies. The result of that collaboration is a range of new tools to manage public, private and hybrid clouds running on LinuxONE.
Enhanced ecosystem: IBM recently ported the Google Go programming language to LinuxONE and has committed to contributing its own code enhancements to the Go community from summer 2016. It has also said that there will be a number of other ecosystem announcements throughout February with many expected at IBM InterConnect in four weeks.
New hybrid cloud features: Both Cloudant and StrongLoop will be available on LinuxONE. StrongLoop enables developers to use Node.js in order to integrate core enterprise systems with other platforms such as cloud, mobile and IOT. Cloudant also supports mobile by storing mobile data in the JSON format eliminating the need to convert data before it is stored.
Support for IBM Open Platform (IOP): This will come in March 2016 and will deliver support for a range of big data and analytics applications. Among these will be Apache Spark which IBM committed to last year.
The new Rockhopper and Penguin LinuxONE systems will be on show at IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas at the end of February with the first shipping units expected to arrive with customers in March. IBM has been positioning z Systems as part of a cloud ecosystem for the last three years and LinuxONE is just one of the options it offers.
It would be interesting to see how customers are really using LinuxONE as opposed to running Linux on z Systems as part of their cloud environments. IBM also needs to say when it will deploy LinuxONE inside SoftLayer to really prove its cloud credentials otherwise it all looks like a marketing rather than a deployment pitch.