Using Linux and open source for IT innovation

Using Linux and open source for IT innovation

Linux has matured; it is not just a server operating system – it is a way of harnessing the power of innovation to ensure organizations are not left behind in the ever-faster digital economy.

It is possible to use open source technology solutions to meet the growing appetite for new applications, which are increasingly mobile-based.

Innovation is focused on mobile, cloud and big data analytics and to support applications based on these technologies, it is essential to have a cost-efficient IT architecture which guarantees reliability, security and performance.

Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president at IBM Systems, says that IBM surprised the industry 15 years ago by putting Linux on the mainframe, and that a third of IBM mainframe clients are now running Linux.

“We are deepening our commitment to the open source community by combining the best of the open world with the most advanced system in the world in order to help clients embrace new mobile and hybrid cloud workloads,” he says.

“Building on the success of Linux on the mainframe, we continue to push the limits beyond the capabilities of commodity servers that are not designed for security and performance at extreme scale.”

An IDC report, sponsored by IBM, Driving digital transformation through infrastructure built for open source: How IBM LinuxONE addresses agile infrastructure needs of next-generation applications, tackles the key innovation issues facing CIOs.

“Today's digital transformation is about far more than a new architecture or a new application; it is a fundamental reshaping of applications in terms of how they are written, packaged, managed and lifecycled; the run-time environment where they are deployed, and the infrastructure on which they are hosted,” says the report.

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Open source gaining momentum
A survey by Black Duck in 2015 into how open source technologies are being used revealed that 64% of companies participated in open source projects and 88% of companies plan to increase open source contributions in the next few years. Open source and Linux are gaining momentum as part of corporate innovation strategies.

However, as Linux and open source deployments move from niche projects to being more pervasive in the datacenter, it is imperative that business-critical applications be fully supported by enterprise-grade capabilities such as scalability, availability and data protection.

A Linux infrastructure has to be efficient, secure, adaptive and integrated. It must be designed to handle the explosive growth of mobile clients, be able to leverage vast amounts of data, and provide deep, real-time insights at the point for greatest business impact—all deployed within a secure and resilient cloud-ready environment.

LinuxONE has many features that make it an ideal architecture for IT innovation - it is open so the organization can choose the tools it is familiar with; it is flexible with virtually limitless scale; it is simple with fewer servers which reduces cost and complexity; it has optimum utilization and speed; and it is trusted with embedded security and services.

Another advantage for innovation is that the IBM DevOps Solution on LinuxONE Systems provides complete management and automation of the software development cycle, from requirements capture, through application development and testing, then onwards to delivery and monitoring of the executing applications.


Application portability
Porting of Linux applications from other platforms is simple, allowing application development, testing, and execution to be consolidated on LinuxONE Systems with minimal effort. Choosing common tools does not mean being forced into using a single vendor’s technology - whether it is Linux, Eclipse, Java, Docker or other open source technologies, they are available on LinuxONE.

Clive Longbottom, founder of analyst group Quocirca, says LinuxONE is ideal for organizations with a need for massively scaled Linux. He says that service providers will be especially interested, but he also points to notable customers with innovative ambitions including the Met Office and Sichuan Nanchong Dangdai Transport Industry Group, which has bought into the platform.

The Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, is using LinuxONE as a platform for innovation. It replaced a complex distributed landscape of x86 servers and has increased reliability, accuracy and cut total cost of ownership. The Met has created award-winning mobile apps to ensure its forecasts and reports are available anytime, anywhere.

“When it comes to flooding in particular, if we provide timely, accurate, well-communicated forecasts, people will take action and reduce the impact,” says Crystal Moore at the Flood Forecasting Centre.

Longbottom says it is noteworthy that z Systems sales overall have increased by 35% year on year, and he believes that “much of that growth” has been fuelled by the success of sales of Emperor for larger businesses and Rockhopper for medium sized businesses in the LinuxONE series.

He adds: “The LinuxONE platform runs a totally standard RedHat, Suse or Ubuntu Linux – so workloads can be pretty easily moved over. It has mainframe security built in to it – a real benefit when looking at many of the problems that have been seen with standard scale-out platforms.”

LinuxONE and z Systems allows organizations to scale out and scale up, increasing the resources available and giving the ability to adapt to changing workloads, increase flexibility and reduce risk. The overall effect is to improve business agility and with it innovation. As the open source software ecosystem grows on z Systems, and mainframe hardware becomes more accessible to open source developers, the platform is more suitable than ever for enterprise Linux application development.