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10 Years With Tux

10 Years With Tux

Linux celebrates a decade on the mainframe
Illustration by Media Bakery

A decade after it was first ported to the IBM mainframe environment, businesses are still adpoting Linux* on System z* for their high I/O and mission-critical workloads, and for good reason. The open-source OS, in combination with z/VM* software, provides extreme virtualization, consolidation and cost savings on top of the existing mainframe qualities of service.

These business benefits couldn’t have come at a better time. In 1999—just before IBM announced support for Linux on System z—the technology industry was bright with the promise of the dot-com era. Businesses predicted incredible growth and were willing to invest heavily in new data centers because they didn’t need a brick-and-mortar store; clients were going to come to the online storefront.

“It was a period when businesses were continuing to deploy more servers and applications and the way you grew your application environment meant you had to install one server box after another,” explains Reed Mullen, IBM System z optimization initiative leader. “Companies felt very confident overspending on this infrastructure, so they were positioned to be a leader in the online industry.”

One year later, this distributed-environment approach proved costly and an economic downturn meant people had to stop spending and make what they already purchased more manageable. By making Linux available on the System z server, IBM allowed clients to utilize the advanced virtualization technology of the mainframe and consolidate their multiple distributed-server applications onto a single mainframe using Linux and z/VM virtualization software.

The Linux operating system is extremely robust, and the Linux-on-z/VM partnership greatly enhances the value proposition for running Linux on System z. —Reed Mullen, IBM System z optimization initiative leader

Natalie Boike is a former IBM Systems Magazine managing editor.


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