Virtualisation drives Linux onto IBM mainframes

Some 40 percent of IBM mainframe customers now use Linux within their infrastructure, more than Big Blue ever expected

Linux penetration on IBM mainframes is much greater than the company ever expected, according to a senior executive at IBM.

In an interview with ZDNet UK, Rich Lechner, IBM's vice-president of virtualisation, said that "40 percent of [IBM's] mainframe customers are on Linux on zSeries. The greatest penetration we ever anticipated was 25 percent."

According to Lechner, much of the growth is being prompted by users themselves. "Clients are finding new and innovative ways to deploy that technology," he said, "just from living in close proximity to their business and picking up ideas."

The interest in virtualisation among companies is one reason for the rapid take-up of Linux, Lechner said. "Virtualisation with Linux introduces a whole new class of applications to be deployed and to exploit virtualisation technology. [Customers are] cascading applications from the mainframe down but Linux is creating a whole new set of applications going up to the mainframe."

Analysts have often struggled to get an accurate grip on the use of Linux. In December 2004, researchers at IDC admitted that the overall Linux market was far larger than previously estimated.

You can read the full interview with Lechner here.