The Buzz

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Oct 14, 2009

Linux Implementations are Growing

By Natalie Boike

The Buzz around the System z Expo in Orlando, Fla. was definitely a positive one. IBM mainframe users seem optimistic about the platform, and they should be considering IBM’s continued investment in System z solutions.

The 650 plus attendees had their pick from more than 300 technical sessions and hands-on labs offering introductory and advanced knowledge about System z, z/OS, z/VM and Linux on System z. Nearly 40 sessions, the most in any track, were given specifically on Linux on System z.

Tom Rosamilia,  System z general manager, said in his keynote address that there are around 1,300 System z clients utilizing Linux, but  he expects that number to grow. He points to the fast provisioning, low cost and high virtualization capabilities that can be gained by implementing Linux on System z.

ISV growth in the Linux space supports Rosamilia’s prediction. He says there are about 3,500 ISV applications currently available for z/OS, and an additional 3,000 applications exist for Linux on System z.

IBM is also developing System z solutions that leverage the strength of Linux. I’ve been speaking with IBM employees who have some exciting news to share. You can get all of the details by reading our November/December issue.


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We had zLinux installed for about 5 years. Over the course of its life here, it ran at most 10 guests. However, one WebSphere production guest and one WebSphere test guest were always using most of our 2 IFLs. When they were busy, we had about 5-10 second wait just to get a login prompt from the other guests. Then every command you executed ran noticably longer than when the guests weren't running. We constantly had calls reporting slow downs. If you only have 2 IFLs, don't plan on putting much simultaneous WebSphere load on your guests. It was finally decided that the entire environment was too costly for the performance we were getting out of it and the WebSphere apps were migrated to our AIX environment.

I've come to learn that zLinux is not in any way as efficient as z/OS, so don't get your speed expectations too high with it. zLinux is like like Uncle Rico - He shows up and eats all of z/OS's lime-light steak. Gosh!

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