IBM partners to make mainframes more mainstream

The company is working with Suse and Canonical to expand its offerings

IBM bets big on Linux with its new Emperor mainframe server.

IBM bets big on Linux with its new Emperor mainframe server.

IBM is looking to boost its mainframe business with a Linux push that includes new hardware, software and the founding of the Open Mainframe Project. The company is also contributing mainframe code to the open source community.

The way enterprises run their IT systems is going through major changes thanks to public clouds and the virtualization of the data center. These developments have had a ripple effect on all types of enterprise software and hardware, including the mainframe.

The mainframe has seen a bit of resurgence since IBM launched the z13 in January, its first new mainframe in almost three years. The refresh cycle has been stronger than expected, market research company Gartner recently said.

To build on this success, IBM is stepping up its efforts to attract more enterprises, and Linux is the key building block. The company wants more corporate analytics and hybrid clouds to run on its mainframes. To help make that happen, IBM on Monday introduced Linux mainframe servers, the Emperor and the Rockhopper, under the new LinuxOne hardware, software and services product line.

The Emperor is the bigger of the two, and according to IBM can handle up to 8,000 virtual machines or hundreds of thousands of containers, which wrap software in a complete file system that contains everything it needs to run. The Rockhopper is designed for enterprises that want the speed, security and availability of the mainframe but in a smaller package. Both models are shipping, IBM said without divulging what they will cost.

On the software side, IBM will enable Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Chef and Docker to run on its mainframes. Suse, which provides Linux distribution for the mainframe, will now support KVM, giving enterprises a new hypervisor option. An upcoming version of Ubuntu Linux that Canonical and IBM are working on is also on the way.

In addition, mainframe code from IBM will be open sourced. The company didn't offer much detail on the code, but said it would enable better integration with networks and clouds, for example

As part of this push, IBM along with Suse, CA Technologies and other companies will back the Open Mainframe Project, newly formed by the Linux Foundation. Linux may have been running on mainframes for the last 15 years, but there is still room for improvements, according to the Linux Foundation.

The goal of the new project is to make Linux and mainframes a more attractive combination. That includes broadening the set of tools available for mainframe Linux development.

The companies involved also want to work with academic institutions to ensure there will be people who can manage and program for mainframes. The University of Washington and University of Bedfordshire are part of the project on that front.

In addition to the companies mentioned above, ADP, BMC, Compuware, LC3, RSM Partners and Vicom Infinity are also involved with the Open Mainframe Project.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourcedatabasesapplicationsserversIBMlinux foundationhardware systemssoftwareMainframes

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?