IBM Initiative Pushes Linux for Small and Medium Business

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 18 Dec 2001: IBM today announced an initiative to accelerate the adoption of Linux among small and medium business (SMB).

To speed the development of Linux applications that address the unique needs of small and medium business, IBM introduced the Linux Test Drive for eServer iSeries, which makes available over the Internet a "virtual Linux server" to help independent software vendors and the open source community write and port their applications to Linux on iSeries.

The eServer iSeries uses advanced "partitioning" technology that allows a single physical server to be divided into dozens of virtual servers that can be accessed remotely by software developers around the world.

IBM believes the combination of Linux, the fast-growing server operating system, and IBM eServer iSeries, with its popularity among SMB customers, can help small business consolidate dozens of standalone servers on a single, easy-to-manage, mainframe-class server, reducing cost and complexity. To date, more than 200,000 customers around the world, many of them mid-sized companies, run their businesses on IBM eServer iSeries, choosing it for its security, reliability and low total cost of ownership.

According to IDC, small businesses represent 48 percent of all Linux server installations. Industry analysts also estimate that small and medium size business (up to 1,000 employees) will represent more than 50 percent of the total server market worldwide by 2004.

"The Linux Test Drive illustrates IBM's commitment to the development of Linux applications that solve real business issues for small to mid-size customers," said Kim Stevenson, vice president, IBM eServer iSeries. "The key to Linux adoption among small and medium-sized businesses is offering ISVs a fast, convenient way to develop for this important market segment."

H.A. Technical Solutions LLC, a provider of high availability clustering and data replication software, recently ported two of its applications to Linux on eServer iSeries. "The process of moving Unix and Java applications to Linux on eServer iSeries proved remarkably easy," said LeRoy D. Earl, executive vice president, H.A. Technical Solutions. "We simply installed the software and it ran perfectly."

Software providers can get more information and enroll at the Linux Test Drive site at Participants can select from SuSE or Turbolinux distributions of Linux, and can choose between 14-day free access or 30-day access for a nominal fee. The recently announced Red Hat Linux distribution will be supported on the Test Drive server in January.

IBM eServer iSeries offers mid-sized customers mainframe-class reliability and security. A single iSeries server can support up to 31 separate Linux partitions, allowing businesses reduce cost and complexity by consolidating multiple workloads onto a single, easy-to-manage server. Earlier this year, IBM eServer iSeries was named "Best of Show" at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

The Linux Test Drive joins a comprehensive set of Linux software and hardware offerings for SMB. The Small Business Suite for Linux includes DB2 Universal Database, WebSphere Application Server and Lotus Domino. The Suite is bundled to deliver all the tools necessary to help customers with messaging and collaboration, productivity, Web site creation and design, and data management.

The Linux Test Drive builds on the success of Linux and the IBM eServer z900 mainframe in large enterprises. The Linux Community Development System, a program announced earlier this year, provides developers access to their own virtual mainframe running Linux, helping them build new enterprise applications that enable customers to consolidate their distributed servers on a single IBM zSeries mainframe.

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