Linux on z Systems: The Open Source Movement

According to industry experts, Linux essentially runs most of the Internet. Today, the operating system that has been around since the 90s can be found on your phone, computer, car, and even your refrigerator.

Not surprisingly, Linux operates on many mainframes as well. Linux has been running on z Systems for 16 years, and the installation rate only continues to grow. In fact, IBM Linux Offering Manager Bryan Foley explained in his previous SHARE Academy session that the Linux installation rate is the fastest-growing part of IBM’s mainframe business. According to Foley, 80 out of IBM’s top 100 clients (by size and revenue) run Linux on mainframe, as well as 40 percent of IBM clients overall.

Linux for Enterprise

Why are so many businesses interested in Linux on z Systems? It all comes down to scalability, flexibility, and security. Systems like LinuxONE help unleash the full potential of Linux for business, offering incredible scalability (8,000 virtual servers in one system), supporting millions of active users and consistently delivering sub-second response times, all at a nonstop, high performance level.

Businesses tend to be focused on three things: gaining a competitive advantage, reducing costs, and minimizing risk. Linux on z checks off all three boxes by combining the innovation and flexibility of Linux with the guaranteed stability of enterprise computing on the mainframe.

Consider the modern-day business risk involved in servicing mobile customers. Customers who use their phones for everything from banking to airline tickets need guaranteed access. If the server side of your mobile application is down or non-responsive, customers will quickly move on to the competition. This is a reason why customer-facing applications should be run on Linux on z.

Open Source & Innovation

Because it’s distributed under an open source license, Linux on z offers unparalleled opportunity for innovation. More and more companies are authorizing open source usage to further innovation.

Foley notes that 78 percent of companies run on open source; 66 percent build software on open source; and half say that a majority of their engineers are working on open source projects. Most tellingly, 88 percent of companies are looking to increase their open source contributions in the next three years. Open experimentation with Linux is the future of mainframe innovation.

The Open Mainframe Project is looking to be the center of that innovation. The project is designed to “create an open source, technical community where industry participants may easily contribute to and adopt the project’s technology and [be] a focal point for deployment and use of the Linux OS in a mainframe computing environment.” Through such developments, the power of Linux on z is growing, cementing it as one of the mainframe’s leading operating systems. 

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