Is the Time Right for Linux on IBM z Systems?

Is the Time Right for Linux on IBM z Systems?

2015 is upon us, and it looks to be a great year for IBM z Systems. On January 14, IBM announced a new generation of z technology. And along with the hardware and many software announcements being made, they will also introduce new solutions for Linux on z. We can expect more-powerful hardware, and software that provides new functionality and integration with other systems. These announcements will clearly show that IBM considers Linux a key element of the platform’s success, and is working hard to expand the Linux on z portfolio in many areas.

Looking back

Linux on z has been my focus since 2001, and I have watched it mature from both a hardware and software perspective. Improvements in processors, buses and caches are easy to quantify, but software improvements are just as important. Due to advances in Linux, z/VM and software solutions, we are now seeing double-digit speed improvement for applications.

It is not uncommon for me to talk to clients who tried running an application on Linux on z four or five years ago and failed. The good news is that we are now in an entirely new world. Every single client I have worked with recently that has decided to give the platform another try has been very happy with the results. And Linux on z is being adapted in shops where the client previously thought the platform was a bust.

As you can imagine, getting a client to give a platform a second look can be very difficult. Opinions are made and welded to the floor, cemented and guarded closely by what seem to be overzealous ‘protectors of the data center.’ I can’t blame these clients for being wary; I would be, too. That’s why, for the past several years, I have shared the following quote from Buddhist monk Seng Ts’an in 700 AD:

“If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the mind’s worst disease.”

I can’t be 100-percent sure, but I am fairly certain that Seng Ts’an had Linux on z in mind when he said that! Over the years I’ve watched IT folks be for or against a certain solution, but rarely have I seen the vigor that is used against Linux on z. And I’m amazed at how passionate the outcry against the platform can be. Many times individuals have valid concerns, but too many times I’ve seen individuals fight while armed with inaccurate information. Generally speaking, I’ve seen objections fall into three main categories:

  • Valid concerns based on past experience
  • Opinions formed based on misinformation
  • Opinions formed based on a complete lack of information, platform bias, fear of job loss or unwillingness to step out of comfort zone

What’s ahead in 2015

As I began planning for 2015, I looked back at how many clients have adopted Linux on z and realized there are still a good number that have not yet benefited from the cost savings, improved security, high availability and scalability that Linux on z can provide. I decided that I need to come up with a new way to help companies better understand the platform, eliminate the misinformation, and realize the benefits of the platform.

In the coming months, I will tackle these topics head-on in a format that will make it easy for you to share with co-workers, in the hope that you will consider Linux on System z for workloads you previously would not have. To be clear, I don’t want to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. I simply want to provide an alternative that might benefit the data center as a whole. Topics will include:

  • Why z Systems is the most flexible system today, and how it can benefit your data center
  • Why Linux on z Systems can become the center of the data center
  • Linux on z Systems and cloud: when it makes sense and when it doesn’t
  • Why Linux on z Systems should be a huge, in-house database juggernaut
  • When Linux on z Systems and mobile make sense

I will also address some misconceptions you may have about System z and Linux on System z, to show you:

  • Why z Systems and Linux are more open than you think
  • Why z Systems isn’t the most expensive platform
  • Why Linux on z Systems really can consolidate more per core than any other platform
  • Why you don’t need to panic about staffing your z Systems in the future

At this point it might look like I am trying to hard-sell Linux on z Systems. I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth! One of the major benefits of working with Sirius is that we offer a wide spectrum of products and solutions. We want to help you find what path is best for your data center – including examining paths that you might not have considered without our encouragement. We try to take bias out of the decision-making process and let the numbers do the talking. More than once I have worked with a client and not recommended going forward with Linux on z. Why? Because no one solution is the answer for every challenge! But because this is Sirius, I had product specialists to help with the alternative solution.

As 2015 begins, I’d like you to consider the following questions:

  • Do you look at all the alternatives for a solution?
  • Do numbers drive your decisions more than passion or bias?
  • Are your decisions fully informed?
  • Do you consider directions you haven’t considered in the past?

I doubt anyone will answer yes to all of these questions. After all, we only have so many hours in the day! My job is to show clients an alternative in Linux on z that might be beneficial to them. The platform has a proven track record and drives hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions worldwide each day. There is real potential to better protect your data or provide flexible, robust scalability or cost savings using Linux on z.

The Sirius team can help you find out if Linux on z is a good fit for your company, as we’ve already done for many companies. We can show you what other clients have experienced, help with cost analysis, and provide no-cost proofs of concept. This will allow you to get the most realistic look at how Linux on z would fit in your data center strategy. And Sirius will be with you every step of the way.

You never know, the end result might surprise you!

Visit siriuscom.com/GoSystemz to learn more about IBM z Systems solutions from Sirius, or contact us for more information.

By |2018-12-26T21:44:08+00:00February 4th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

About the Author:

Kevin Gates is a Client Executive with Sirius Computer Solutions.

One Comment

  1. Clarence Waldrop February 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Great Job, Kevin. Thank you!

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