IBM Pledges $1 Billion To Linux Effort To Boost Power System

It's a smart move for IBM that allows it to move deeper into an increasingly Linux-centric enterprise, said Tom Hughes, director of alliances for Technology Solutions Group of Ciber, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based IBM partner. "This gives developers a greater return on their investment in the Power technology," he said.

People are migrating away from Unix because of cost, said Jed Scaramella, research manager in the enterprise server group at IDC. The move by IBM, he said, gives customers an alternative to IBM's version of Unix called AIX.

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"As people look to more affordable solutions, Linux offers both cost savings and flexibility," Scaramella said. He said that Linux is the OS of choice for infrastructure and Software-as-a-Service providers, and IBM is hoping its Linux investment will make it an attractive choice.

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IBM is setting up a new Power Systems Linux Center in Montpellier, France, where it will create a development cloud for customers to remotely build and test Linux applications. Access to the development center will be free, IBM says, and will center on its Power-based servers running Linux.

IBM says its $1 billion investment does not spell the end for its Unix/AIX Power Systems, which have been a mainstay for the company for years. However, IBM has doubled-down on its Linux strategy recently, introducing a Linux Power Systems, Power 7 rack and blade servers, and also Power Linux system 7R4 server.

IBM previously has made large investments in Linux and continues to be one of the operating systems' biggest champions. In 2000, IBM invested $1 billion to Linux-enable its products, including the iSeries.