Why Everyone Has a Crush on Linux—even IBM

Solaris, Windows, UNIX, Linux, AIX, Mac OSX
March 14, 2017

Linux has been a game changer for enterprises over the last decade. In its early years, Linux was just one of a fringe family of operating systems that struggled to disrupt Microsoft Windows. Following IBM's famous $1 billion gamble on Linux in 2001, however, there was a wave of innovation as vendors made Linux distributions integral to their products and services.

Today, Linux is a fixture of both consumer and business computing. For its part, IBM has made Linux especially prominent within Power Systems, announcing Linux-only servers in 2012 and, more recently, porting Linux's built-in Kernel-based Virtualization Machine hypervisor to create PowerKVM. In late 2013, IBM confirmed another $1 billion investment in Linux, underscoring just how far the open source project has come.

IBM's commitment to Linux has the added benefit of attracting organizations that have already gotten onto the open source bandwagon elsewhere. In high-performance computing, Linux now runs on a staggering 485 of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, up from almost zero in 1999. Similarly, a July 2014 Frost & Sullivan study also found that Android, a Linux-based OS, was the most popular choice for the mobile enterprise.

Linux everywhere: in the cloud, on mobile, and for HPC

Linux's obvious advantages over proprietary operating systems are well-documented. It is open source, meaning that the active user community regularly suggests and reviews changes. In turn, Linux does not require bleeding-edge hardware or complex licensing, even when it underpins commercial offerings. And finally, its distributions are inexpensive and sometimes even free.

More importantly, on a technical level, Linux helps enterprises make IT more scalable and flexible. It has become the glue holding together systems that process huge amounts of data and navigate on-site and/or cloud-based infrastructure. Supplemented by dedicated, Linux-compatible tools for job scheduling—like Automate Schedule—it puts organizations in a prime position to streamline operations to meet changing requirements.

And that’s where Automate comes in. Automate Schedule is the very type of software solution that thrives with a powerful and diverse server like Linux. Automate's multi-platform capabilities allow it to function on many servers, including AIX, Windows, Apple and, of course, Linux. As an enterprise job scheduler, this cross-server functionality with Linux is particularly useful as organizations expand or transition from or between various platforms.

Take IBM's recent launch of POWER8. Big Blue invested billions in this update to the Power Systems line to ensure greater throughput than x86-based servers, which enables clients to reduce their data center footprints. Three of the four POWER8 appliances can run Linux, IBM i, or AIX, while one of them (the Power S822L) runs Linux exclusively. Linux is pulling ahead.

"Big data workloads require systems that scale to manage massive amounts of data," said Doug Balog, General Manager of IBM Power Systems. "Clients are choosing to run Linux on Power Systems because they are seeking a higher value, open server solution to help them better handle and leverage growing volumes of data."

As Linux is edging out to be one of the most flexible servers, so Automate is becoming one of the most flexible and robust automation tools to scale the types of big data workloads and cross-platform events that Linux is handling with ease.


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