You might not think thatLinux and mainframe belong in the same sentence, but IBM has been putting various flavors of Linux on its mainframe computers for 15 years. Today IBM and Canonical announced that the two companies were teaming up to build one running Ubuntu Linux. The new unit is called the LinuxOne. The announcement comes as part of a broader strategy from IBM designed to drive mainframe usage to a wider audience.
This new approach includes a monthly subscription pricing model, deeper involvement with other open source projects, contributing a huge cache of mainframe code to open source and participating in the newly launched Open Mainframe Project. The new mainframes come in two flavors, named for penguins (Linux penguins get it?). The first is called Emperor and runs on the IBM z13, which we wrote about in January.
The other is a smaller mainframe called the Rockhopper designed for a more entry level mainframe buyer. You may have thought that mainframes went the way of the dinosaur, but they are still alive and well and running in large institutions throughout the world. IBM as part of its broader strategy to promote the cloud, analytics and security is hoping to expand the potential market for mainframes by running Ubuntu Linux and supporting a range of popular open source enterprise software such as Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef.