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IBM Opens System P Servers to Thousands of x86 Linux Applications

New Virtual Environment Designed to Help Customers Reduce Power, Cooling, and Space by Consolidating x86 Linux Workloads on System P Servers, the Leading UNIX Platform (1)

ARMONK, NY - 23 Apr 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today introduced an open beta version of a virtual Linux environment that enables x86 Linux® applications to run without modification on POWER™ processor-based IBM System p™ servers. Once released, the technology -- called the IBM System p Application Virtual Environment (System p AVE) -- is designed to open a universe of thousands of x86 Linux applications to the System p platform. (2)

Today's news follows IBM's recent launch of three System p-based Web-tier servers aimed at consolidating x86 Linux workloads. Customer orders in the first quarter show a fast start for the System p5-560Q as a Linux consolidation solution.

IBM intends to extend the leadership of System p servers to the Linux marketplace; the platform is already the number one UNIX server with a 31.5 percent revenue share worldwide in 2006, according to IDC (1). IBM posted 14% first quarter revenue growth for System p products this year.

p AVE-ing the way

With nearly 2,800 applications that already run natively on Linux on System p servers, System p AVE will allow most x86 Linux binaries to run unmodified as well (3), which will expand the x86 workloads that can be moved to a System p server, thereby increasing the power, cooling and space savings customers can get by consolidating x86 server footprints onto System p products.

Today's customers want to get more out of their IT investments and are already moving Linux workloads to virtual server environments that allow the consolidation of multiple servers onto a single platform. To do this they need a systems approach that maximizes system resource utilization, manageability and flexibility as well as provides 'no excuses' reliability and scalability. Offering leadership in flexibility and server optimization for Linux workloads, IBM System p Advanced POWER virtualization was awarded Best Virtualization Solution in the 2006 Linux Journal Product Excellence Awards at LinuxWorld Conference & EXPO®.

"System p customers have told me that technology that may have been 'good enough' for deploying one x86 server at a time is not 'good enough' when consolidating over 300 x86 servers spanning eight racks onto one rack of more powerful System p servers," said Scott Handy, vice president, worldwide marketing and strategy, System p. "These customers are choosing to trust System p products and our Advanced POWER Virtualization for those more mission critical points of consolidation and p AVE will expand the possibilities of what x86 workloads they can consolidate onto System p platforms to derive greater savings.

"I'm encouraged by the fast start in the first quarter, especially for the new p5-560Q, the most powerful of the three web-tier server solutions announced in the quarter," Handy added. "Customer orders show that each p5-560Q sold in the first quarter had an average of 30 logical partitions configured for Linux per server."

IBM currently has more than 25 participants in a successful private beta program for p AVE and today is dramatically expanding the beta program via a web-based download to include all customers, IBM business partners and independent software vendors (ISVs).

"We can help our costumers run their legacy x86 software on POWER technology," said Alexander Davidsen, Linux system administrator, Webdeal AS. "We see endless possibilities using POWER technology and p AVE. This could result in better performance and more stable solutions for our customers. And using virtualized System p machines makes this more cost-efficient for our company."

IBM System p AVE "technology at a glance"

Initial testing shows that clients should be able to easily install and run a wide range of x86 Linux applications on System p and BladeCenter® JS20 and JS21 servers that are using a Linux operating system. These applications should run, without any change to the application and without having to predefine that application to the Linux on POWER operating system with p AVE installed. The system will "just know" the application is a Linux x86 binary at runtime and run it automatically in a p AVE environment. Behind the scenes, p AVE creates a virtual x86 environment and file structure, and executes x86 Linux applications by dynamically translating and mapping x86 instructions and system calls to a POWER Architecture™ processor-based system. It uses caching to optimize performance, so an application's performance can actually increase the longer it runs.

Using p AVE, IBM expects ISVs that don't already have a native Linux on POWER product to be able to expand their addressable market to System p servers at minimal cost by allowing them to run their existing x86 Linux applications on these servers without having to recompile, release new media or documentation, or maintain a unique product offering for POWER technology. IBM intends to leverage its highly successful Chiphopper program to help those ISVs support System p servers with the x86 Linux version of their application.

Customers and ISVs can download and test this powerful new extension on their System p and BladeCenter JS20 and JS21 servers starting today by going to the following website: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/p/linux/systempave.html. IBM intends to make this capability generally available in second half of 2007 (3).

For more information, please visit www.ibm.com.

Contact(s) information

John Buscemi
IBM Media Relations
914-766-4495
jbuscemi@us.ibm.com

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1 (1) According to the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, dated February 2007.

2 (2) All statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.

3 (3) No direct hardware access and no kernel access. IA-32 instruction set architecture (x86). As defined by the 1997 Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual consisting of Basic Architecture (Order Number 243190), Instruction Set Reference Manual (Order Number 243191) and the System Programming Guide (Order Number 243192) all dated 1997.