CA Pushes Linux On Mainframes

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A recent survey sponsored by CA indicated that larger enterprises are expecting to invest more money into running Linux applications on mainframes.

CA is continuing the drumbeat of mainframe computing, sponsoring a survey showing that enterprises are continuing to invest in running Linux on the platform.

CA, which released the results of the survey on 17 June, found that of the 100 IT professionals at global enterprises contacted, 93 percent said they planned to either increase the use of IBM’s Linux specialty processing engine on their System z mainframes over the next two years or maintain the current level of investment.

Forty-two percent said their use of IBM’s IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) specialty engine will grow between 21 percent and 40 percent, and another 10 percent said that use will grow more than 76 percent.

The survey backs up much of what CA officials have been touting in their new Mainframe 2.0 initiative, including that the platform remains a viable option for businesses looking to increase their computing capacity in a more cost-effective way.

“Linux on the mainframe is clearly a very attractive platform choice for IT organizations that have to continue scaling the services they deliver to the business, even as their infrastructure budgets are constrained by market uncertainty and competing priorities,” Michael Zinda, senior vice president in CA’s Mainframe Business Unit, said in a statement. “This study shows that customers are very much aware of the unique value that Linux offers on the mainframe—and that the mainframe remains an ongoing focus for IT investment.”

IBM also is seeing interest in Linux on the mainframe growing. Last year, MIPS on System z Linux mainframes jumped 77 percent, with more than 1,300 mainframe customers using the platform.

CA, IBM and other vendors are increasing their investments in the platform as well. Over the past six weeks, CA has upgraded more than 140 of their 166 mainframe management applications, and has enhanced compliance capabilities on the IBM System z.

Unisys in May upgraded its ClearPath mainframe line, and officials with BMC Software have been talking up their mainframe management software. IBM also is instituting new services and financial offers to entice users of Unix systems from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems to come to the mainframe.

IBM officials announced June 8 that the company was planning to roll out 30 enhancements to a variety of software offerings for their System z portfolio in 2009.

In addition, Centrify, which makes identity and access management software based on Microsoft’s Active Director, on 17 June unveiled Centrify Suite 2008 for Linux on IBM System z.

Initially supporting Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server for System z, Centrify Suite enables enterprises to centrally control access and manage users on Linux on System z.

“Linux on IBM System z servers provides one of the most cost-effective, powerful, resilient platforms for running massive Linux workloads” Corey Williams, director of product management for Centrify, said in a statement.

One analyst said that CA officials are making a strong case for the mainframe with their Mainframe 2.0 arguments.

“The sub-text of CA’s announcements … is that the mainframe is not only here to stay, but is potentially a critical success factor in achieving the kind of major reduction of overall IT cost structure needed to survive a brutal recession,” Wayne Kernochan, an analyst with Infostructure Associates, said in a report released 10 June. “In addition, the company is emphasising that, as a premier supplier of cross-platform ‘hub’-architecture administrative software and a tool vendor ubiquitous in mainframe sites, it can deliver the kind of automation and efficiency necessary to help large enterprises achieve dramatic cost reductions.”

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