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Commentary: IBM hedges bets by offering Linux on all platforms

Big Blue adopts a strategy of offering Linux across all hardware platforms to position itself as a leader in case the operating system takes off.

By John Phelps, Gartner Analyst

Since 1999, IBM has made several announcements in support of Linux. IBM has done so because it wants to position itself as a leader, in case Linux takes off in a big way.

Accordingly, IBM has adopted

See news story:
IBM sweetens mainframe pricing for Linux
a strategy of offering Linux across all of its hardware platforms, including mainframes.

To get Linux on its S/390 mainframe, IBM has also devised a pricing schedule that makes adopting the OS a financially palatable option. Under the plan, IBM charges $125,000 per processor in a G6 IBM S/390 server running Linux, less than what IBM would charge normally for an additional processor.

The addition of the new processor also does not raise other software fees. Typically, software licensing fees would go up in this situation. Therefore, not only has IBM made running Linux on the mainframe easier to afford, but businesses can do so without fear that their other mainframe costs will rise.

IBM will charge $20,000 for the operating system, S/390 Virtual Image Facility for Linux, plus $5,000 annually in maintenance.

This initiative, however, will likely not drive new sales of mainframes--it is aimed at businesses that already have S/390s. Moreover, the initiative does not represent a major boost in Linux's abilities.

Although S/390 is now the machine with the highest availability that runs Linux, the Virtual Image Facility for Linux must still prove its robustness.

Entire contents, Copyright © 2000 Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.