Perhaps not so suddenly, Linux now seems to be the preferred option in many “Unix” situations. It’s cheap – isn’t it? None of that expensive IBM Power technology; cheap hardware, cheap software and cheap people?
Ten years or so ago Linux was the preferred OS in research and higher education for scientific computing (HPC). Frequently on dual core servers with the same instance of the OS deployed in 10s or 100s or 1000s of servers with no associated middleware it fitted the bill perfectly. Gradually, multiple processor (SMP) servers were supported but even so, installations attempting to implement commercial clusters discovered that harmonising layers of OS, database, web application servers, management software etc was not the simplest job in the world.
Things develop and move on. Now Linux would appear to be a reasonably secure method of providing the Database layer that IBM “p” servers currently provide through either AIX or iOS. Linux on Intel is perceived in many places as the natural option for low cost IT.
Trends in IT are such that this bandwagon will roll on this is recognised with IBM’s latest Linux only on Power server. The one thing the research sector does with a vengeance is to get the best raw server performance against price. It means more gene sequences or strings of data from the Hadron accelerator analysed. The IBM Linux on Power offering has made huge inroads into this market in recent months and, very simply, this that means that the price/performance offered by Power is superior to Intel.
This is the long way of saying that if you are looking at Linux then look at the IBM Power offering. Additionally you will find that the virtualisation on Power is superior to virtualisation on Intel offerings particularly when it comes to supporting databases – i.e. the very area that Linux would be deployed into.
Large SMP Intel servers aren’t actually cheap – anything but – and a look at IBM’s Linux only Power offering is certainly worth a look.