IBM Pledges $1 Billion for Linux on Power

by Sean Michael Kerner

In an effort to help bolster its sagging Power Server Systems architecture, IBM once again bets big on Linux.

NEW ORLEANS - IBM famously announced in 1999 that it was going to invest $1 billion in Linux.

Today at the LinuxCon conference, IBM announced that it is investing another billion dollars in Linux, but this time its aims are significantly more narrow than they were in 1999. Instead of investing in Linux as a whole, IBM PowerLinux IBM's new investment is specifically targeted at Linux on IBM's Power server architecture.

IBM's Power Server architecture has been struggling in the marketplace. IBM's first quarter results in April revealed that Power revenues were down by 31 percent. At the time, IBM CFO Mark Loughridge said that Linux would be the way forward for Power, and it's a strategy that IBM has been rolling out ever since.

In May, IBM announced a new effort to encourage Linux on Power in China. That effort involves a Power Systems Linux Center, located inside of IBM's China Systems Center in Beijing. In July, IBM announced a new PowerLinux 7R4 4-socket, 32-core system.

As part of the new announcement at LinuxCon, another Power Systems Linux center is being opened, this time in Montpellier, France.

Additionally, IBM is announcing a Linux on Power development cloud to help developers build applications for Power. Jim Wasko, director of IBM's Linux Technology Center, explained to Server Watch that the $1 billion investment is something IBM is making over multiple components and multiple years and is intended to be a sustained investment.

Asked why IBM is making a $1 billion commitment to Linux on Power now, Wasko said it's related to the opportunity. IBM's Power can also run on AIX Unix as well as on IBM's System i operating systems.

"The Unix market is on the decline and Linux continues to grow," Wasko said. "The timing of this is we really are just hitting the gas pedal, as we view it as a good point to put our emphasis on where the market is going."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Sep 17th 2013
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