One of IBM's biggest solution providers, Mainline Information Systems, this week signed a deal with SuSE to roll out a comprehensive package of products and programs for SuSE Linux on IBM mainframes.
SuSE, Turbo Linux and Red Hat all have distributions for mainframes, said Jimmie Lee, director of emerging technologies at Mainline, Tallahassee, Fla. However, the new relationship between the two means that Mainline will essentially become the delivery arm of SuSE's enterprise distribution, he said.
Under the agreement, Mainline will market the SuSE code. Mainline will also support the zVM (zSeries mainframe Virtual Machine) operating system, which can consolidate multiple servers to a mainframe. The solution provider will also offer customers Level 1 and Level 2 support for both the IBM mainframes and for IBM middleware such as DB2 and WebSphere when used in with SuSE Linux, said Lee.
Mainframe customers that work with Mainline will have a single neck to choke if they decide to implement SuSE, Lee said. Mainline will take ownership of any customer problems, including handling trouble tickets, and will provide SuSE patches as needed, he said. In addition, the solution provider will provide four-hour response to problems on a 24-hour basis, and will work with clients on resolving problems related to applications ported to Linux on the mainframe.
For $2,000, Mainline will fly a technician to the customer to install SuSE on the zSeries mainframe and will bring up the Domain Name Server (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Samba File and Print, said Lee.
That package will allow most customers to consolidate three to eight Wintel servers to the mainframe while moving related applications and files in one swoop, Lee said. "This is the first step," he said. "It gets customers comfortable, and gives them a chance to look at the next step."
Mainline also helps customers port or write applications or suites of applications to SuSE on the mainframe, and helps with such applications as Bynari, which can replace Microsoft Exchange while keeping Outlook in place, as well as tools to speed WebSphere development, he said.