IBM and Novell promise easier marriage of Linux to mainframe

Novell is teaming with IBM to make it simpler to install SUSE Linux 10 on to System z servers.


Novell is teaming with IBM to make it simpler to install SUSE Linux 10 on to System z servers.

The two companies jointly announced that Novell is offering SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Starter System for System z. The pre-built installation server can be loaded on the mainframe using IBM's z/VM virtualization tools.

The pair said the product is aimed at server consolidation, as well as, security and performance. Red Hat and IBM inked a similar partnership in May 2007 to grow the use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on System z mainframes. The deal included product development and support features.

The two partnerships are part of a $100m (£50m) project IBM launched in October 2006 to simplify use
of its System z mainframe.

"SUSE was one of the first Linux distributions available on IBM mainframe technology and it is something they have stayed close to," said Dan Kusnetzky, president of the Kusnetzky Group consulting firm.

"For people using Linux for Web-based apps this could be a significant savings on hardware by replacing a large number of industry standard systems or midrange systems with a single mainframe Sysplex that can be managed as a single machine."

Kusnetzky says tools from IBM for management, load balancing and availability make it even a more attractive alternative. But he says it is not the tip of a trend.

"My sense is that large corporations when they adopt Linux

are putting it on the mainframe because they have people who know that environment. I would not say running Linux on the mainframe is a trend across the industry," he said.

Novell hopes that the easier installation will push mainframe users toward evaluating Linux.

The pre-built server includes the complete set of RPM packages that ship with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1. It also includes utilities and configuration tools to help users deploy additional SUSE-based virtual machines.

The software is available now from Novell.

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