IBM Announces Shipment Of Linux-based 64-bit PSeries At Enterprise Linux Forum

Partitioning support planned for the first quarter of 2003

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IBM announced on Wednesday the shipment of its final eServer--its pSeries Unix servers--running Linux in native fashion.

The computer giant currently offers Linux on its xSeries Intel servers, iSeries Power4 midrange servers and zSeries mainframes. The availability of native Linux on its 64-bit Unix server line fulfills IBM's commitment to offer Linux across its entire eServer family. The servers are competitively aimed at IA-64 servers running Intel's Itanium.

During an interview at Enterprise Linux Forum here, IBM Linux General Manager Steve Solazzo said the delivery of pSeries running Linux natively for the first time widens choices for corporate customers interested in running Linux on a 64-bit platform.

During the first quarter of 2003, IBM also plans to extend partitioning support for Linux on its pSeries line, with native support for up to four partitions, he added.

"This gives customers with 64-bit engines a choice: IA-64 or pSeries running Linux," Solazzo said, adding that IBM will also continue to offer existing pSeries servers with IBM's flagship AIX 5L Unix operating system running in native mode with support for Linux images alongside the Unix code.

IBM will initially offer six models of its 64-bit Unix Power4 servers running Linux in one-way, two-way and four-way configurations and with up to 8 Gbytes of memory.

The eServer p630 running Linux with a POWER4 RISC processor costs about $17,000, more than 40 percent less than a similarly configured HP rx5670 Itanium 2 server, according to IBM. The company also said pricing for a one-way pSeries system running SuSE Linux Enterprise 7 is $1,250, a slight increase over similar Itanium-based Linux servers averaging $1,000.

Solazzo said the increasing availability of enterprise applications for Linux and new low-cost 64-bit Linux servers from IBM will be of interest to partners selling into the SMB market.

"We'll see more Unix partners selling these applications into the SMB market," Solazzo said.

Solazzo delivered a keynote identifying major new Linux customers and five major areas of Linux deployment in the enterprise. The list included workload consolidation, Linux clusters, distributed solutions, infrastructure solutions and enterprise applications.

Solazzo listed a number of IBM's Linux customers, including Sherwin Williams, which cut a deal with IBM for 5,000 Linux point-of-sale servers. Mobil, another customer, outsourced the hosting of its Web-based Mobile Travel Guide to IBM. Those servers all run Linux, he said.

Solazzo also pointed to Linux deals with the China Post Office, Winnebago, L.L. Bean, Konica, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, Tommy Hilfiger, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the city of Beijing, Supervalue and T-Com, the Internet services arm of Deutsch Telecom.

Roughly 15 percent of IBM's zSeries and xSeries eServer businesses are based on Linux, he said.

"Linux is a game changer," he said during his keynote. "In two short years, the [Linux technology has come out of two public sectors and changed the game in seismic processing, Hollywood, genomics, pharmaceuticals and brokerages."

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