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Linux on IBM POWER (LoP) for consolidation and scalability

IBM has thrown its support behind Linux by allowing customers to run its proprietary Unix (AIX) or Linux on System p. Find out what business opportunities this may bring you as a VAR or systems integrator.

Kenneth Milberg

This two-part tip will present some important concepts about Linux on IBM POWER5 systems. This will interest VARs who are either considering running Linux on POWER (LoP) architecture, or need to support the architecture for an end customer. Part one provides an overview of LoP, while part two offers LoP best practices.

Let's quickly define LoP. LoP systems refer to IBM supported Linux distributions available on its POWER5 architecture. IBM has supported Linux in a big way, by allowing its customers to choose either its proprietary Unix (AIX) or Linux to run on IBM System p. This in itself is a philosophical breakthrough; no other vendor can claim that it natively supports Linux and Unix (concurrently with separate logical partitions on the same physical box) in quite the same way.

Linux on POWER VAR opportunities
Part 1: LoP for server consolidation and scalability

Part 2: LoP installation and architecture best practices

With the micro-partitioning abilities of Advanced Power Virtualization (APV), you can assign as little as one-tenth of a CPU to a logical partition (LPAR). Shared Ethernet, an APV feature, lets you use virtual adapters on your partitions using virtual I/O (VIO) servers. This is a great way to help you reduce an IT shop's footprint as part of a data center consolidation, or to save money on hardware and take better advantage of untapped resources. If you're centralizing server farms or a data center, why scale horizontally if you can scale vertically?

So why join Linux and the POWER architecture? With Linux revenues growing 30% a year and Unix revenue gradually shrinking, IBM positioned its hardware and virtualization strategies with an eye toward the future. The current generation of the 64-bit POWER5 processors are among the fastest and most powerful in the industry. When you couple that with the speed and flexibility of Linux, it makes for a unique combination of innovative possibilities. For the systems integrator who develops applications, adding a Linux partition in addition to your machine's native OS opens your environment to a whole new set of resources and possible customers.

The following tip offers LoP best practices to get you started.

About the author: Kenneth Milberg is a systems consultant with his own independent consulting firm, Unix-Linux Solutions. He has 15 years of experience with Unix and Linux systems, as well as broad technical and functional experience with AIX, HP, SCO, Linux and Solaris. Milberg holds certifications with IBM (IBM Certified Systems Expert -- eServer p5 and pSeries Enterprise Technical Support AIX 5L V5.3 & IBM Certified Specialist –HACMP), SUN (SCNA,SCSA), HP (HP Certified –HP-UX administration) Cisco (CCNA) and Oracle (OCP-DBO).


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