IBM embarks on high-end Linux push in the region

Big Blue wants customers to run Linux at the core of the enterprise. Open source OS offers greater flexibility and price performance, claims top executive

  • E-Mail
By  Greg Wilson Published  March 7, 2001

IBM wants to drag Linux into the line of sight of corporate business and IT managers. Big Blue is positioning Linux to run across its entire range of servers, sharing the workload, running the ‘new world’ applications for service-based computing.

“Customers just want their applications up and running, they’re not interested in what the operating system is,” says Andreas Kerstan, director of system sales, CEMA, IBM. “Linux provides better price performance and a more flexible model of computing. Linux is delivering on the promise of Unix, [companies] will be able to run applications across hardware platforms — from a 390 to AS/400, to X Series Servers,” he adds.

The open source, Unix-like operating system has witnessed dramatic growth over the past couple of years. Recent IDC figures indicate that Linux has a 26% market share in the operating system market. But for many IT managers, Linux-based machines have to prove their corporate credentials.

At best Linux machines are often being used as cheap Web servers on the periphery of the IT environment. But IBM has been working to change the common ‘geek’ perception of Linux and make it suitable for corporate environments.

“IBM — with IBM Global Services — is capable of supporting Linux environments. IBM has stuck $300 million into services for Linux over the last three years, to prove that we can support Linux and run it [across] our boxes,” says Jan Butkieswicz, systems sales for IBM Middle East.

Although IBM is fighting to drag Linux into the corporate mainstream, Kerstan realises that there is still work to do if Big Blue is to its convince high end enterprise companies — many traditionally conservative in nature — to tread a Linux path. But Kerstan argues, there has been ‘early corporate adopter,’ instances in the States and Europe.

“Linux isn’t at the stage where it’s being considered as a full production environment, but there are significant early adopters such as Shell,” says Kerstan.

However, without Linux support here in this region, the impact of the Unix-like operating system has been restricted to a few universities and the emerging dot-com market space. IBM is also investing in a systems sales team in the region, which will build the brand of IBM’s five-strain server range, and offer some local Linux skills. The team, to be headed by Butkieswicz, will number between six and ten by the end of the year, and will also have the responsibility of building Big Blue’s storage business in the region. “The Linux message is going to get more important as we go forward,” says Kerstan.

“Increasingly, there is going to be less emphasis on the operating system, and it will focus on the application. It’s moving away from product branding, to workload branding, and that is where we’re strong.”

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code