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Linux and IBM – A Power Couple

The first Linux operating system was released almost 30 years ago and since then Linux has become one of the most prominent examples of open-source software collaboration. Linux source code can be used, modified, and distributed commercially or non-commercially by anyone under the terms of its license agreements. And to top it all, its creator, Linus Torvalds has an asteroid named after him – 9793 Torvalds, or Kalliope Linus, is a moon that orbits the large M-type asteroid 22 Kalliope!

Linux Today

With open source at the core of the Linux kernel, more than 13,000 developers from around the world have contributed to its development. It was only a matter of time that Linux was to become a giant in the IT industry. In 2020, it’s estimated that Linux is at the heart of most public cloud workloads, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things (IoT) systems – and all of the world’s supercomputers. Of the top 25 websites, only two aren’t using Linux. The penetration of Linux across all industry verticals is supported by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) popularising Linux containerisation with Red Hat OpenShift at the forefront.

Linux on IBM Power Systems

In 1986, IBM introduced its proprietary Unix operating system running on the RS/6000 platform, and AIX is still supported by IBM on its Power Systems including the latest POWER9 family. However, in the early 2000s, IBM also started supporting open-source Linux on its POWER processors, now including enterprise-class Linux distributions in collaboration with Red Hat, SUSE, and Canonical (Ubuntu).

IBM Power Systems has a reputation for market-leading reliability, availability, and serviceability. The latest survey data from Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) found that IBM Power Systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux led the pack with only 0.08 hours of unplanned downtime per year. In fact, IBM Power Systems has consistently delivered the highest levels of uptime availability based on every metric and measure of reliability over the past 12 years of ITIC research.

Running applications on Linux on Power also provides key performance benefits that can directly reduce cost and accelerate performance – for example, (alongside many others!), SAP S4/HANA which is based on an in-memory database is a natural choice taking advantage of the industry-leading memory bandwidth available with IBM Power Systems. AI machine learning & deep learning workloads also run with unprecedented performance on Linux on Power coupled with GPU acceleration.

In the same spirit of openness which launched the Linux kernel, IBM partnered with several leading technology companies to launch the OpenPOWER Foundation in 2013 to share governance of the ecosystem surrounding the POWER processor, systems, and software architecture. With the free release of a POWER processor core design under a Creative Commons license, the Linux on Power platform stack now includes open components from top to bottom.

Deploy with Confidence

Deploying a Linux-based software stack on a POWER processor-based platform can be done with as much confidence as with any other supported enterprise-class platform – with the knowledge that the same enterprise Linux distributions are supported. The Linux kernel is built using the same source code and the operating system packages are built with the same source code.

The same KVM virtualisation technology is available together with IBM’s PowerVM Hypervisor and the system management software can be used across any Linux platform. Interpreted languages, such as Python, Node.js, Ruby, and Java all run identically without changes – and skills acquired in any Linux environment are perfectly portable from one processor architecture family to any other.

CSI and Cloud Disruption

Many businesses today are looking at a cloud strategy to take advantage of new technologies such as containerisation and automation while improving performance, scalability, availability, and security. The good news for companies running Linux on IBM Power Systems is the strong value proposition for running mission-critical workloads within a private or public cloud environment as well as on-premise.

For many years CSI has been managing critical workloads on IBM Power Systems. As an IBM Platinum Business Partner, our experts can support client platforms on-premise, hosted in a third-party data centre, our private PowerCloud, or in public hyper-scale clouds.

Our multi-cloud platform allows organisations to meet changing demands, increasing or scaling-back resources in private, hybrid, or public cloud environments. Migrating to the CSI Cloud means you can take advantage of the latest versions of IBM Power Systems without the capital expenditure of hardware upgrades.

We ensure systems are correctly sized, securely connected, and comprehensively monitored and managed by:

  • Reacting quickly to alerts through a 24/7 service desk and proven service management processes
  • Monitoring all components that can impact system stability
  • Confirming that the operating system and firmware are maintained at correct versions
  • Ensuring that backups complete successfully, or escalating failures
  • Providing a disaster recovery or high availability environment

The CSI Cloud Linux on Power Services are designed to help our clients optimise the availability and performance of their critical Linux workloads running on IBM Power Systems.

With the growing popularity of Linux as a platform for in-memory intensive applications like SAP S/4HANA, SAS Viya, AI, and IoT, we’ll continue to evolve our skills and services into the future.

Next Steps

For an overview of our services, please click here to view our Linux on Power services datasheet.

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss anything in more detail, please get in touch with the CSI Team.