Demand for Linux on IBM’s System z Accelerates, Clients Continue to See Cost Savings


This is a guest blog post by Greg Lotko, vice president of IBM System z. 

Greg Lotko, IBMRecently, at LinuxCon 2013, IBM announced another investment in support of the Linux open source community – a pledge to invest $1 Billion to promote Linux development on Power Systems. This assurance echoes IBM’s landmark 1999 decision to invest in the Linux platform across all its units including, Linux on System z and IBM Software Group Linux support. By reinforcing its commitment to Linux, IBM continues to build upon all of its previous and ongoing investments.

The announcement further strengthens IBM’s strategic commitment to Linux and other open source technologies, such as OpenStack, and comes on the heels of IBM’s acquisition of CSL International, the producer of virtualization management software for Linux on System z. The August 2013 purchase of CSL International continues to reinforce our commitment to the Linux platform. IBM’s initial Linux investment in 1999, and continued investment across all hardware platforms is helping transform enterprise data centers, fueling the tremendous interest, development, and support for Linux on System z.  

When Linux support on System z was introduced in 1999, it was met with both curiosity and skepticism as Linux was not yet a widely accepted technology. However, over time, as virtualization technologies were adopted, clients have realized the robustness of Linux on System z by experiencing the economic benefits and improved quality of service that are key advantages of Linux workload consolidation. These gains have resulted in System z being able to grow into an enterprise level Linux leadership position. 

Today, Linux on System z is a quickly growing and accepted Linux platform for server consolidation and Linux workload deployment with an installed MIPs CAGR of 48 percent. More than 75 percent of the Top 100 System z accounts run Linux, on the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL). Linux is helping IBM attract new clients to the System z platform, such as White Cube in the UK, and is enabling existing System z clients to tackle new workloads, cut costs and meet new business requirements, by integrating new and existing workloads.

Clients like Algar Telecom (Brazil) migrated from the x86 platform, to Linux on System z to support their growing business. In the process, Algar cut their data center costs by 70 percent, reduced their maintenance effort by 65 percent and boosted operational efficiency by 30 percent. (Get the full details from the IBM Algar case study.) Other examples are Nationwide Insurance (US), which saved an estimated $15 million over the first three years, and Baldor Electric (US), which eliminated 200 servers and cut their energy costs by more than 60 percent. Even clients with smaller IT budgets like EFiS EDI Finance Service AG (Germany), National Registration Department of Malaysia and Shelter Mutual Insurance (US), have saved or expect to save thousands of dollars a year in IT costs with their move to Linux on System z.

Open source technologies like Linux provide businesses with exciting opportunities to increase flexibility, cut costs, and drive business innovation. IBM’s Linux for System z and virtualization development teams in Boeblingen, Endicott, Bangalore, Beijing, Moscow, Brazil and Israel continue to push the boundaries of enterprise level Linux development working in close cooperation with the IBM Linux Technology Center and our distribution partners Red Hat & SUSE to address business and client needs. 

**All Stats as of 2Q13.

Greg Lotko is the vice president and business line executive for IBM’s Systems & Technology Group, System z division. He is responsible for all facets of IBM’s mainframe business including strategy, architecture, operations, technology development and overall financial performance.