Over a year in the making IBM has just unveiled its new IBM PowerLinux Systems and Solutions. This new series of Linux-specific POWER7 processor-based hardware comes with a choice of either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server . It's designed for analyzing Big Data, managing industry-specific applications and delivering open source infrastructure services for the mid market and above. Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, opted out of offering its Linux on this new server family though.
According to IBM, “The new PowerLinux Solutions and supporting systems are designed to provide customers with lower deployment time and costs, and greater performance, dependability and workload density than competitive x86 platforms at similar price points.” This is meant to complement IBM AIX Unix and IBM i application requirements on Power Systems.
These are: IBM Power Linux Big Data Analytics Solution; IBM PowerLinux Industry Application Solution, which is for business applications like SAP; and IBM PowerLinux Open Source Infrastructure Services Solution. The last provides virtual machine (VM) machine program PowerVM for PowerLinux virtualization technology. This is designed to let companies deliver edge services such as Web servers, email and social business collaboration more cost effectively by using PowerLinux Systems than can be done with commodity x86 servers.
So where was Canonical? The Isle of Man-based company has been working with IBM on delivering Ubuntu Linux for the IBM’s System p mini-computers. But, the partnership came to nothing.
Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder, told me, “We don't support POWER because, by mutual agreement with IBM, there's little to no overlap between the POWER user base and Ubuntu. People are choosing Ubuntu for farms of commodity servers, and POWER has been adopted for highly-specialized mission-critical roles. If IBM ever wanted to reach either the cloud or bulk computing market with POWER, then I expect the stats above would be relevant for their choice of OS, because they reflect the real choices of those markets.”
Be that as it may, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE still believe that middle to high-end servers can still deliver the enterprise goods.