IBM estimates that two thirds of the worlds business data reside on its servers, with the majority of that running on the S/390, and now the computer giant is introducing the availability of Linux software and services for the S/390 server. In step with IBM's initiative to make the Linux operating system more readily available within the full range of its e-business servers and services, the Linux for S/390 has been generally released by IBM, as well as its SuSE and TurboLinux distributors. Rich Lechner, vice president for e-business enterprise servers at IBM says that while the new Linux offering is still in beta testing and he could not name the clients, he envisions the financial services industry, a majority of which already rely on the S/390 server, is a set of customers that "are very interested in the new development."
As an open source system, users can add Linux applications alongside the other Java, UNIX and other applications already residing on their S/390 server. IBM will also make certain middleware applications available to allow users access to legacy data and applications. "The middleware is designed to let users integrate with their existing IT assets, such as data, transactions and applications, and to provide the foundation for e-business aplications on Linux 390," says Lechner. He adds that users are looking for ways to extend those assets onto the Web and with the middleware they can take advantage of applications on the OS/390, the platform's flagship operating system, while running Linux for S/390 concurrently.
IBM plans to make middleware applications such as DB2 Connect, CICS Transaction Gateway, IMS Connect, MX Client, Java JDK, WebSphere, DB2 Universal Database, Tivoli Framework and Tivoli Storage Manager Client available later this year. So why would financial firms be interested in the Linux option? Lechner says that as the fastest growing server operating system, continuously developed and tested , the Linux for S/390 offering features increased scalability, low failure rates and lower cost of ownership. "For these kinds of Web application serving, where presence is so important and it's critical that the site always be up, having the option to deploy the Linux class of application on the 390 with very high availability characteristics and very low failure rates is a great proposition," notes Lechner. IBM will also offer full technical support and middleware integration through its Global Services division.