05 December 2011

Which linux is good for you? A small history of Novell and RedHat with IBM!

Linux on the System z: Which Linux is Right for You?

A profile of Linux distribution partners.
April 2006 | by Ed Gauthier

In early 2000, customers became aware that Linux* was able to run on IBM* mainframe computers. With their reliability, security, and scalability, coupled with their suite of virtualization features and functions, customers saw mainframes as an ideal place to run multiple Linux servers to make more efficient use of their computing resource.

Customers began experimenting with early adopter, no charge versions of the operating system that were available from Marist College in Poughkeepsie N.Y. However, when customers wanted to use Linux on their mainframes to support business applications, they started looking for commercial distributions, backed by quality vendors to entrust with their mission critical workloads.

IBM System z* is fortunate to have the support of two premier Linux distributors. Novell* SuSE and Red Hat* offer System z customerscustomers quality engineering, a variety of support options, and timely updates to their versions of Linux to help customers get the most out of their mainframes while supporting Linux applications.

Which brings us to the question that most customers ask when they are planning to use Linux on a mainframe to host a business application: "Which one is right for me?"." With that in mind, IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition, approached IBM distribution partners Novell SuSE and Red Hat and asked them to prepare a short description of their companies, their commitment to Linux on mainframes, features, and anything else they thought IBM customers would like to know to make their decision easier. We were pleased to get responses from both. We'll begin with a few words about Red Hat from Mark Spencer - a Red Hat solutions architect - and we'll move on to Ray Lazarine - product marketing manager for NovellSuSE.

Mark Spencer on Red Hat

Red Hat has long been a player on IBMon IBM mainframe platforms. Since the turn of the Milenium, Red Hat has been committed to providing a stable open source platform on the mainframe. From the S/390* platform, and continuing on to today's System z architecture, Red Hat has continued to provide a platform for the delivery of mission-critical applications. This is manifest in Red Hat's commitment to a unified code-base, a cornerstone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux stability and predictability. This means that Red Hat uses the same source code to deliver Red Hat Enterprise Linux on a System z9* as it does on an X86 or X86_64 platform.

Red Hat is dedicated to delivering a predictable Linux platform for mission-critical application deployment. Through it's partnership with IBM, as well as the ISV community, Red Hat has become identified with Linux. This partnership provides a proven Linux computing environment clients have come to expect from IBM and Red Hat.

By utilizing the same Linux operating system as used in the distributed computing environment, clients can further lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) by taking advantage of the fact that they only need to train systems administrators on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, rather than multiple operating systems. This focus on a single operating systems allows clients to develop highly-skilled systems administrators who are capable of running Red Hat Enterprise Linux on whichever platform their business requires.

In addition to its hardware commitment, Red Hat delivers a full solution stack to System z platforms, including software that allows for the virtualization of storage. Red Hat's Global File System (GFS) allows multiple nodes to share a single file-system, in with both read and write capabilities. This allows for the deployment of clustered database-based applications, as well as enabling the clustering of other services such as NFS.

Not long ago - and even continuing today - the big buzz-term in our industry was was "open source." Conventional wisdom stated that, as a consultant, you asked your clients not if they were using open source software in their environment, but where. Today, clients are asking about virtualization. They are keenly aware of virtualized servers and are starting to become more aware of the possibilities of virtualized storage as well. They strive to maximize their technology investments while lowering their computational costs.

Many Red Hat customers are examining ways to continue to scale their environments. Again, conventional wisdom drives them to take advantage of grid computing methodology. This is the so-called "scale-out" or "distributed" model. In such a model, the reasoning goes, if you need more computational horse-power, you simply add more nodes to your grid. The obvious rebuttal to this methodology is that each additional node requires incrementally more power and cooling, as well as adding to the administrative overhead. These three items contribute directly to a rise in the TCO of the solution, while keeping the return on investment (ROI) constant.

The opposing methodology of "scale-out" is "scale-up" where, by adding more workloads to existing computational resources, clients can raise the ROI of their computing investments. The more work a single node can accomplish with the same power, cooling and administrative overhead, the TCO lowers, but the ROI rises. However, many clients have valid concerns about "having all of their eggs in one basket".

Fortunately, IBM and Red Hat have the a solution which will allow clients to take advantage of both "scale up" and "scale out" methodologies, with the combined effect of lowering the client's TCO, while raising their ROI.

Taking advantage of IBM's built-in virtualization technology, z/VM on IBM's System z architecture allows clients to not only "scale out", implementing many virtual nodes within the z/VM* environment, but it allows them to "scale up", driving up the utilization rates of their existing hardware investment. This has the net combined effect of lowering the TCO of the solution, all-the-while increasing ROI.

A good example leveraging mainframe virtualization strength is the use of IBM's HiperSockets that allows that allows fast communications between the virtualized nodes, without having to change the guest kernel at all. This allows for the creation of solutions with massive throughput, allowing for the creation of highly-scalable deployments of enterprise applications.

Ray Lazarine on Novell

Novell, Inc., founded in 1983, is a provider of infrastructure software and services to over 50,000 customers in 43 countries. With more than 20 years of experience in data center, workgroup and desktop solutions, the 6,000 Novell employees, 5,000 partners and support centers around the world are meeting customer requirements for identity-driven computing and Linux solutions. By providing enterprise-class software and support for commercial and open source software, Novell delivers increased operating flexibility and choice at a lower total cost of ownership.

Novell entered the Linux market through its acquisition of Ximian (Linux desktop software vendor) in 2003, and SUSE* Linux, one of the leading enterprise Linux companies, in January of 2004, and ultimately bringing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to the market.

Novell began shipping SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 in August of 2004. Since then, we've been hearing from our customers and partners that SUSE Linux is a strong foundation for open source computing in the enterprise.

Some of the key features of SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 include:

·       Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance 4+ certification, the highest security certification level available today

·       SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 also Enablingenables you customers to deploy mission-critical applications by including scalability, reliability, performance, and clustering services

·       All Complete supported on of IBM's System z9 platforms

·       Our Linux platform also includes Rrobust platform support for Linux applications delivered by third party ISVs

Novell and IBM have been working together for years on enabling the IBM mainframe IBM mainframe platform to run Linux. Our partnership has resulted in a growing acceptance of SUSE Linux as a primary operating system of choice for mainframe customers. In fact, customers are now able to deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM's zSeries System z platform, to leverage capabilities in the areas of:

·       Business Resilliency, including high availability, disaster recovery, serviceability, reliability, Hiperswap, XRC and PPRC

·       Security, including privacy, regulatory requirements, identity management, zSeries* hardware quality of services, ethical hacking by research, HiperSockets and, as mentioned, Common Criteria Certification

Novell and IBM are now working together to support the launch of Novell's next release of the SUSE Linux platform, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, scheduled for availability in the second quarter of 2006. Planning is now under way between Novell and the IBM zSeries System z team to execute joint marketing campaigns that will drive further adoption of SUSE Linux and the zSeries platform in the datacenter.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 is a secure, reliable and flexible server operating system for enterprise computing. Backed by Novell with a seven-year lifecycle guarantee, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 offers improved performance and scalability, comprehensive open source functionality, enhanced virtualization capabilities and support for a broad range of software applications and hardware platforms, including IBM's System z.

The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server platform is created using a Novell development and testing methodology - Autobuild - which ensures that all Linux software code that Novell releases meeting meets strict technical standards for reliability and integrity. Using AutoBuild, Novell is able to create and deliver important software updates in hours, rather than days or weeks. AutoBuild also allows Novell to create SUSE Linux Enterprise for multiple platforms simultaneously. As a result, you can create a more efficient IT infrastructure because you will run the same Linux operating system on your mainframes, grids, clusters, workstations and desktop systems.

Novell's AutoBuild methodology ensures that you can deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 on all of the most important hardware architectures used in business with confidence, including the System z platform from IBM.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 also provides open application programming interfaces (APIs) and other development tools that simplify Linux integration and customization. As a result, businesses can lower operational costs across servers, increase computing utilization, and protect corporate data.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 helps enterprises reduce cost, improve system performance and increase flexibility through a combination of software and services designed for today's mainframe requirements in the data center. It also provides an open foundation for a variety of server workloads, including enterprise database deployment, line of business applications, and mission-critical software applications.

With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and IBM System z9, customers can build the data center of the future - today.

For Additional Information
Novell and Red Hat are IBM's Strategic Alliance Partners for Linux and - in collaboration with IBM developers and our Linux Technology Center - have each earned the respect of
IBM customers and have established themselves as leaders in delivering commercial Linux distributions. For further information about Red Hat Linux, visit www.redhat.com, and for
more information about Novell SUSE Linux, visit www.novell.com.

IBM Systems Magazine is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. The editorial content of IBM Systems Magazine is placed on this website by MSP TechMedia under license from International Business Machines Corporation.
©2011 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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