IBM: WebSphere + Linux + Power4 Chip = Savings

IBM Wednesday brought together three of its flagship technologies together for the first time to help its customers add a jolt to their IT systems without costing them extra cash.

The Armonk, N.Y. vendor has crafted its WebSphere Application Server software to support its eServer pSeries and iSeries machines running both Linux and IBM’s Power4 microprocessor.

Big Blue said it made the alterations to those lines — Linux and Power4 have never been coupled for WebSphere — because it believes that as more banks, retailers, government agencies and turn to Linux in a cost-conscious era, they will want extend the use of the popular open-source operating system beyond Intel-based Windows platforms to those servers capable of handling greater workloads, such as the iSeries and pSeries servers.

Bob Sutor, Director, WebSphere Infrastructure Software, said the move is the company’s way of demonstrating two forms of interoperability — one with Java and WebSphere and one with Linux and Power4.

Sutor said the combination of WebSphere, Linux and Power4, which IBM hawks as the first “server on a chip,” containing two 1-gigahertz-plus processors and other innovations, creates a platform for extending Java-based applications to customers that isn’t offered by the likes of rivals Sun Microsystems or HP.

For example, Microsoft Windows applications can only run on Intel-based servers. Sutor said a combination of Linux and WebSphere, will allow customers greater choice in using applications across on multiple server platforms and chip architectures.

Moreover, current Java-based applications running on top of WebSphere Application Server will easily run on the new Power4 architecture running Linux.

“Customers can choose their hardware platform and have a lot of portability to scale from a lower-end Intel-based machine to the high-end iSeries or pSeries servers with the Power4,” Sutor said. “On top of that you have WebSphere apps that are Java-based to offer even more portability. So you have this flexibility of developing a small machine on one level with Linux on an Intel chip to creating 8- or 16-way configurations on the Power4. It’s a completeness of flexibility.”

“The new WebSphere software advances IBM’s distinction as the only company that can support customers’ use of Linux across every major server platform,” said Tom Inman, Vice President, IBM WebSphere Foundation and Tools, in a statement.

Sutor says this comes in stark contrast to the philosophy of firms that say Linux goes as high it can go on the traditional Microsoft Intel-based server where there is no scalability all the way up to mainframe. It also contradicts Sun Microsystems’ belief that Linux belongs to the low-end on Intel.

Additionally, Sutor said IBM has quietly rolled out offerings for its DB2 database line and Tivoli security software line that support Power4 running on Linux.

In keeping with their new tradition to make their platforms more attractive to cost-conscious enterprise customers, the WebSphere software will be included in a new offering from IBM Global Financing that allows qualified customers in the United States and Canada to defer payments until January 2004 at no charge or choose special low financing rates.

This applies to all IBM Software products that are purchased on a one-time charge basis. U.S. contracts for this program must be signed by Sept. 30, and by Sept. 15 in Canada.

WebSphere + Linux + Power will become available in an updated version of WebSphere Application Server Version 5.02 and on IBM eServer pSeries and iSeries on July 15.