IBM offers many resource on how to architect Linux on Power (LoP). LoP is about running Linux on IBM's RISC POWER architecture. This architecture allows for logical partitions and the ability to have both Unix and Linux partitions run natively inside logical partitions within a physical box.
IBM uses Advanced Power Virtualization for their virtualization strategy, which also provides micro-partitioning abilities that allows one to assign as little as a tenth of a CPU to an LPAR. An APV feature called Shared Ethernet is another exciting innovation; it lets you use virtual adapters on your partitions, using specialized partitions called VIO servers. These servers remove the need for dedicated adapters in environments that may not need a lot of network bandwidth.
One of the best arguments for using LoP is that it will give you the single source vendor option (IBM) that many desire: Storage, OS support, hardware, etc. It will also give you the raw performance, scalability and reliability which hasn't been available in traditional Linux shops.
When it comes to architecture, I strongly recommend you download the IBM Systems Workload Estimator. This is a Web-based sizing tool, which will help you size a new system or assist you in server consolidation. The IBM System Planning Tool is another great tool. It runs on a Windows PC and assists in system planning and design. It will also produce a system validation report that reflects the user's system requirements and ensures that they do not exceed system recommendations.
It goes without saying that implementing a strong infrastructure for a client, will make your client a happy one. The IT staff should fall in love relatively quickly with the logical portioning and virtualization capabilities of the POWER architecture. An infrastructure that lowers the companies Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and bring a larger Return on Investment (ROI) for server consolidation projects, will also make you a star for the finance folks in the organization. Strong infrastructure will also give IT the ability to be more responsive to its customers, while providing increased reliability, scalability and performance. Designing your infrastructure correctly around IBM System p platform, should give the customer all this and more.
For more information on potential channel opportunities, check out the OpenPower project, which was created for Linux developers and users.
Also, take a look at the LOP Technical Forum, and the IBM LoP home page.
This was first published in May 2007