IBM Invests $1 Billion in Linux

Sep 24, 2013

Big Blue writes a big check for Linux server and cloud development.

Back in 2001, IBM changed history by announcing the investment of a staggering $1 Billion dollars for the fledgling Linux operating system, which Big Blue hoped to provision as a competitor to Windows, Solaris, Unix, and other enterprise-grade systems. The massive investment of system integration and development time brought Linux into the corporate server room, where it has flourished ever since.

Now IBM is proposing to invest another $1 Billion for another round of Linux development. The new funding, which IBM VP Brad McCredie announced at the LinuxCon conference in New Orleans, is targeted for expanding and adapting Linux for IBM's next-generation Power series server systems. Much of the money will be for extending the Power server as a platform for virtualization and cloud services.

One immediate sign of the new commitment is a new IBM Power Systems Linux Center, which opened on September 17 in Montpellier, France. The center will support IBM developers and will also provide training services and customer briefings. Similar centers are already operational in Beijing, New York, and Austin, Texas.

According to McCredie, "Many companies are struggling to manage big data and cloud computing using commodity servers based on decades-old, PC-era technology. These servers are quickly overrun by data, which triggers the purchase of more servers, creating unsustainable server sprawl. The era of big data calls for a new approach to IT systems; one that is open, customizable, and designed from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads."

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin welcomed the announcement: "The last time IBM committed $1 Billion to Linux, it helped start a flurry of innovation that has never slowed. IBM's continued investments in Linux for Power Systems is welcomed by the Linux community. We look forward to seeing how the Power platform can bring further innovation on Linux..."

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