Timothy Morgan Prickett's June 11, 2012 article titled "Why IBM Is Trying To Surf The Linux Wave With Power Systems"
is an excellent article filled with outstanding statistics for both revenue and market share covering the rise of Linux in a declining server market.
While this sounds like something new for IBM it is really old news with some great new results for IBM's Linux business.
For IBM i users and more importantly managers and executives of shops using IBM i you need to take note of Tim's article and other facts. Here is a quote from the Wikipedia: from a page titled simply "IBM"
Today there are less than 100 people within IBM working on IBM i. I would guess the number is even lower than that. Note the new Power Linux machines that are designed to compete with Intel machines and give IBM a shot an market segment that they have never been successful in (the under $10,000 server business).
IBM invested over $1 Billion in Linux back in 1998 and helped convert Linux from "an interesting idea" to a highly competitive market leader. IBM realized that proprietary operating systems like IBM i, zOS, and AIX would not survive. In 1998 Microsoft was dominating the server environment with millions of installed Windows based machines. It was clear that IBM could not dominate the world with Operating systems any longer. Every year revenues from its mainframes and midsize machines was shrinking due to their dependency on proprietary operating systems (zOS, IBM i, and AIX). At the same time, IBM's xSeries servers running Windows was growing.
The investment in Linux was designed to stop or limit Microsoft's growth and dominance of the operating system market place. This strategy has been extremely successful. While Microsoft still has millions of installed servers in its customer base compared to thousand in the IBM i, and zSeries market base, IBM now has a universal shot of selling all of its hardware to the Linux community.
Keep in mind that while the new Power Linux machine targets low end customers, Linux runs on all IBM platforms from its largest mainframes to its smallest Intel based servers and across the entire Power Systems line of machines.
IBM does employ about 300 people as indicated above dedicated to developing the Linux Kernel but this is a fraction of the cost of the several thousand developers that used to work on IBM i (over 5,000 back in 2006), zOS (unknown but over 1000), and AIX (again unknown but over 1000 at its peak). Add that up, 300 people versus 7,000 to 10,000 people? Hmmm... Sounds like a bargain to me, especially if 2/3 or more of those 300 Linux developers are in India or China!
If you think there is a future for IBM i read Tim's article. Buy and read the IDC study upon which this article is based!
Look at the economics behind the IBM Plex initiative. This is a way to drag IBM i customers kicking and screaming into new technology and sell them SAN's and other integration based technologies and mainstream the environment with Microsoft and Linux technology along side IBM i applications. Plex is a great way to begin to move away from IBM i without pulling the plug right away.
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Read the original at Bob Cancilla on IBM i.