Taking Linux Infrastructure to the Next Level in 2015


Doug BalogThis is a guest blog by Doug Balog, General Manager, IBM Power Systems.

What will 2015 bring for the Linux community? It is a good question, since over the past 20+ years the Linux community has virtually redefined IT development. It has created a paradigm where clients look for, and downright expect, to get the very best innovations from a broad community of the brightest and most passionate developers in the industry. For over 30 years, I have both engaged in and studied the changes and challenges in the IT industry very closely. I have seen Linux reshape a segment of the market that is now growing more rapidly than any other. New workloads and creative developers are gravitating to the dynamic world of Linux. Here are my thoughts on what the year has in store for Linux — from an infrastructure perspective — now that we are a few months in:

1) Continuous redefinition of cloud deployments

The definition of cloud continues to be written as new workloads, tools, and management capabilities allow clients to leverage the economics and flexibility of cloud deployments in new ways. Linux has been a major driver in the makings of the modern cloud, and the value of “open” development has spread, giving rise to related technologies like OpenStack, CloudFoundry and Docker, just to name a few.

As cloud continues to mature — on premise, off premise and combinations of the two — Linux and open source software and standards will play a larger role in what’s ahead. That also includes open hardware technologies. Why? Because cloud is all about innovation, choice, and flexibility. The tenets of what it means to be open — and Linux knows how that’s done.

2) Delivering new levels of infrastructure agility

The world of IT is constantly changing, and at what appears to be a constantly increasing rate. Businesses are a microcosm of that dynamic. To be relevant, businesses need to be able to constantly leverage their infrastructure in new ways. The emergence of software-defined environments — such as network function virtualization and software defined storage — are good examples of how open standards and Linux-based trends and technologies are delivering new levels of flexibility for both infrastructure and its management. As more data and workload diversity create strain on traditional IT environments, evolutions in software-defined environments are fundamentally changing the use cases of infrastructure. Expect to see more of this coming in 2015.

3) Access to innovators honing the cutting edge

Linux has proven that it’s a platform for innovation. Breakthroughs in big data and analytics, mobile and social have come from a community committed to driving the industry forward and allow us to now do things that we never imagined only a few years ago. Things like banks knowing my habits so well they can detect fraudulent activity on my account before a culprit has left the sales counter, or retailers learning how to target the individual. New paradigms in how to manage and gain insights from data, technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL all started on Linux. And there is no limit to data, the insights to be gleaned, and therefore the innovation to come.

Open development creates new levels of choice

As with most great ideas, getting real value from them requires outstanding implementation. Realizing true performance gains, energy savings and simple deployment requires innovation from the lowest levels of the infrastructure out to the application. Open development can deliver this by creating choice –the support of multiple platforms enables users to select software or hardware platforms for specific workloads. Optimal results will come from choice and smart selection from the application to the architecture. 2015 will bring new levels of choice to the Linux ecosystem.

For example, IBM’s Power Systems recently reinforced its commitment to open development and Linux with our announcement to partner with three market-leading Linux distributors on little endian versions of Linux. What does this really mean? That the application and ecosystem built around those Linux distros can now easily be migrated and leverage the infrastructure innovations of Power Systems.

Canonical’s Ubuntu and SUSE’s SLES both have support for Power Systems in little endian mode, and with the latest release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta, developers now have access to a little endian mode on POWER through Red Hat. Our big endian modes are still available through SUSE and Red Hat, as they always have been for the workloads that run best there, but we are committed to Linux development and support community distributions like Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE to offer even more options to the user community.

It’s about choice, flexibility and value. No matter what happens in 2015, the open development communities are poised to deliver change and advancement through the power of choice.