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Sunday, February 7, 2016

IBM LinuxONE for Hybrid Cloud Environments – Building a Developer’s Dream ecosystem

By Rich Ptak


IBM is wasting no time as it builds out and strengthens the ecosystem for mainframe Linux developers. The IBM LinuxONE family was announced with significant fanfare in late August with an attractive set of attributes, price point and pricing models. It was supported by a robust and significant ecosystem providing support for a broad range of popular open source and ISV tools including Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Chef and Docker.

The current announcements build on and extend that ecosystem.  The highlights this time include enhanced speed and processing power for the entry-level system, Rockhopper. Also, there are new hybrid cloud capabilities in IBM products that included enhancements to increase flexibility, security and performance that will accelerate and facilitate the development of applications targeted for the cloud. 

Mainframe business revenue growth and overall business performance added some much needed good news to IBM’s 2015 financial picture. Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM zSystems and LinuxONE, is committed to building on and extending this performance. To do so, IBM needs to increase and accelerate the penetration of the mainframe into the Linux environment. There is plenty of room for growth in that space. Key to success that area will be expanding the ecosystem of tools, technologies, services and partnerships to attract the attention and interest of active, innovative Linux developers. This means a focus on providing the tools and technologies that define the open source/open stack development environment. Full details of the announcement are available on the IBM site http://www.ibm.com/linuxone. Be prepared to spend some time on the site as it contains lots of links, data and information.

Here’s a look at some of the interesting details: To achieve their goal, IBM is delivering new cloud capabilities such as optimizing StrongLoop and Cloudant technologies for LinuxONE. The result is a highly scalable Node.js environment that is attractive because it allows developers to use their preferred language to develop server-side applications. StrongLoop makes it easy to develop the APIs that connect mobile, IoT and web apps and services. Cloudant is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database that allows users to save time and resources by storing mobile data in its native JSON (popular mobile format).These are important in hybrid cloud environments.

Even more interesting are the expanded software and capabilities. For example, the Go programming language is now supported by IBM LinuxONE. Go was developed by Google for building simple, reliable and efficient software. In the summer of 2016, IBM will begin contributing code to the Go community.
Through OpenStack technology collaboration, SUSE tools will be able to manage public, private and hybrid clouds implemented on LinuxONE Systems.

Added to the existing availability of SUSE and Red Hat distributions, Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distribution and cloud tool sets (Juju, MAAS, and Landscape) will now be available to LinuxONE clients. This completes the Linux Hat Trick for the system.

New releases of both Emperor and Rockhopper will be shipping in March with improvements to speed and processing power. Details to be announced.

Also shipping in March, the IBM LinuxONE portfolio will have the IBM Open Platform (IOP) available at no cost. IOP broad set of industry standard Apache-based capabilities for analytics and big data. The components supported include Apache Spark, Apache HBase, Apache Hadoop 2.7.1 and more. Contributing its open source contributions, IBM optimized the Open Managed Runtime project (OMR) for LinuxONE. As IBM states it: “This repurposes the IBM innovations in virtual machine technology for new dynamic scripting languages, infusing them with enterprise-grade strength.”


IBM is continuing to expand and enhance family of LinuxONE Systems to meet the interests of and respond to the needs of the Linux, open systems, open source and open stack communities. If you haven’t looked at what they are offering recently, we’d highly recommend you do so today. All the best to IBM and the LinuxONE systems team!