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IBM servers to run Linux, Windows

Big Blue taps tools from software maker VMware to allow x360 eServer models to run the two operating systems in various combinations.

IBM wants its Intel-based servers to pull double duty.

The company will use tools from software maker VMware to allow IBM x360 eServer models to run the Windows and Linux operating systems in various combinations.

IBM will discuss the VMware licensing deal later Tuesday at its Partnerworld conference. The deal fits into two Big Blue efforts: the X architecture initiative to offer more sophisticated Intel-based servers and an overall emphasis on the open-source Linux software.

The new x360 server was designed to bring features from IBM's "big iron" mainframes to less expensive server hardware based on Intel Xeon processors.

By using the VMware software, IBM will allow customers to run the two different operating systems, or multiple copies of each, on the same server, and thus run a wider range of applications. The software will allow each x360 server to mimic as many as 20 virtual servers, each capable of running its own OS and applications. That is, each virtual server would perform a separate task from the other 19.

IBM also this week launched the z800, or Raptor, a new lower-end mainframe computer, which runs Linux as well as ordinary mainframe software.