IBM launches LinuxONE at LinuxCon, announces Open Mainframe Project

IBM is betting big on open source by making three major announcements for the open source community

jim zemlin
Credit: Swapnil Bhartiya

Today at LinuxCon, IBM announced the launch of LinuxONE, which it calls the most secure server line in the industry. LinuxONE comprises two Linux servers: LinuxONE Emperor and LinuxONE Rockhopper.The two servers come with software and services from IBM.

IBM claims LinuxONE Emperor, based on the IBM z13, is the world’s most advanced Linux system with the fastest processor in the industry, a system clearly aimed at large enterprise customers and organizations. The LinuxONE Emperor, for example, can prevent fraud as it is occurring because it can analyze transactions in real time, IBM said. It is capable of scaling up to 8,000 virtual machines or thousands of containers, currently the most of any single Linux system.

One the other hand, LinuxONE Rockhopper is an entry-level system targeted at clients and emerging markets that want mainframe capabilities at a smaller budget.

The two systems offer more options to customers, as users can choose from a broad range of open source software to run on LinuxONE and IBM z Systems, including Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef.

Customers can provision LinuxONE systems as virtual machines using the open source KVM hypervisor. SUSE, one of the three trinities of the Linux world (along with Red Hat and Canonical), will offer initial support for KVM for the mainframe. Canonical and IBM are working together to bring Ubuntu to z Systems, and Canonical is also planning to make Ubuntu available for LinuxONE and support KVM on the mainframe.

Open Mainframe Project launch

Another major announcement is the launch of  the Open Mainframe Project, in collaboration with the Linux Foundation. IBM will be contributing mainframe technologies to the open source community, which will provide greater access to the mainframe, further driving innovation through the community.

The company said, "Enabling greater access in the developer community, IBM’s contribution of mainframe technologies is the largest single contribution of mainframe code from IBM to the open source community."

One of the key parts of this contribution are IT predictive analytics, developed by IBM to help admins continually monitor systems for unusual behavior and prevent issues that can lead to system failure. Developers can use the code to make their systems resilient to failures.

Commenting on the Open Mainframe Project, Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation executive director, said, "Linux on the mainframe has reached a critical mass such that vendors, users and academia need a neutral forum where they can work together to advance Linux tools and technologies and increase enterprise innovation."

IBM is also creating the LinuxONE Developer Cloud to offer open access to the community. IBM said the "cloud acts as a virtual R&D engine for the creation, testing and piloting of emerging applications, including testing linkages to engagement systems, mobile applications and hybrid cloud applications."

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