IBM brings high-end AIX clustering software to Linux

Adding higher caliber bullets to its server gun pointed at Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM on Tuesday announced it is bringing its high-end AIX clustering software, referred to as Blue Hammer, over to work under Linux.

Backing up that announcement, IBM also said that its Beaverton, Oregon-based Linux laboratories plan to piece together customized Intel-based Linux clustering solutions for targeted markets, including ISPs/ASPs (application service providers) and the life sciences. The company hopes to start delivering such solutions sometime this summer.

"Our message here is we are moving away from delivering raw technology, where we ask customers to figure out for themselves what to do with it, to building the specific solution they want that best exploits clustering," said Dave Turek, vice president of Deep Computing with IBM's Web Server group in Armonk, New York.

IBM officials plan to further migrate the same clustering technology to its z900 series of mainframes sometime during the first half of this year. It will eventually implement the software on its iSeries of mid-range servers, but declined to say when that would be delivered.

"Our goal is to extend the reach of our clustering technology across a broad set of our platforms. But the first step is to have our Linux clustering technologies take on some of the capabilities now in AIX," Turek said.

By building AIX-based clustering capabilities -- such as managing large clusters from a single point of control -- into Linux, IBM hopes to eventually make it easier for its larger customers to seamlessly mix and match Unix and Linux clusters. This ability, company officials believe, will give corporate IT shops more confidence to deploy Linux for mission-critical applications.

"Some of our users have complained about the various elements of risk in the Linux space, which has slowed its rate of acceptance. By making this sort of investment we can attack those risks," Turek said.

Users can control 32 eServer rack systems from a single workstation. The Linux version of the product can manage a 32 two-way eServer xSeries Model 330. The Unix version can handle up to 32 two- to eight-way M80 servers or one H80 server running AIX.

The new software will be available for IBM's AIX-based M80 and H80 servers next month, and will be available for Linux in May, company officials said.

At the center of the Blue Hammer is the SP supercomputer's Parallel System Support Program (PSSP) cluster management software and the General parallel File System (GPFS).

Capable of scaling to 9 terabytes, IBM said it will take the GPFS out of AIX and make it available for Linux. That product will also be available in May.

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