IBM holds Linux love fest

IBM wants to get the Penguin to fly. To give Linux stronger wings, IBM recently began offering training to certify IS engineers on Red Hat Linux through IBM Global Services, and on the software side, plans to roll out products that would let IS staff exploit Linux applications running on mainframes.

Among the tools will be connectors that tie Linux applications to messaging and database applications on the S/390, as well as a Tivoli client to manage the backup and storage of data contained in mainframe-based Linux apps.

IBM is the largest and one of the most fervent advocates of Linux. As part of its widespread and rapidly evolving Linux strategy, the company is working with a grassroots users movement to plant the open source software more solidly on its mainframes. For many Big Iron users, Linux is like a breath of fresh air to the staid old mainframe world.

For some time IBM has offered a free download of open source code that will run on the S/390. The offering has drawn 2,100 takers. Among mainframe Linux' other appeals, users can run many thousands of copies of Linux on one server in Virtual Machine mode, with each copy acting as an independent machine.

The Enterprise Connectors for Linux for S/390 announced will serve as gateways to provide high-speed links from Linux applications to the S/390-based IBM DB2 database, MQSeries applications messaging and the CICS transaction monitor software. IBM claims users could do things such as run a Linux Web server front end and connect it to the DB2 database in the same machine. The connections would work at the mainframe's memory speed, IBM says.

IBM also announced mainframe Linux versions of DB2, the Tivoli management framework and the WebSphere Application Server.

The Enterprise Connectors for Linux for S/390 and the DB2, Tivoli framework, and WebSphere Linux software will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The release date for the Tivoli Storage Manager Client for Linux for S/390 will be announced later this year. Pricing was not disclosed.

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