News in Brief

IBM's new Linux Web portal, Competency Center; Unicenter updates support on-demand computing

New Resources for Big Iron Linux

IBM Corp. unveiled a new Web site designed to serve as a centralized portal for Big Iron Linux downloads, information, and other resources.

The site ( called “Speed-start your Linux app 2003,” offers links to and information about free-of-charge evaluation versions of Linux software for S/390 and zSeries mainframes.

Evaluation downloads include version 8.1 of IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition for Linux on S/390 and zSeries; IBM Developer Kit for Linux, Java 2 technology edition; IBM 31-bit SDK and Runtime for Linux on zSeries; IBM WebSphere Application Server Advanced Single Server Edition V4.0 for Linux on zSeries; IBM WebSphere MQ V5.3 for Linux on zSeries; IBM Directory Server V5.1 for Linux on zSeries trial; and IBM Directory Server V4.1 for Linux on zSeries trial.

The site also provides documentation and educational resources, including installation guides, porting tips, and IBM Redbooks.

In addition, the site provides additional information about Big Iron Linux distributions available from vendors Red Hat Inc., SuSE Linux AG, and TurboLinux Inc., along with modifications developed by IBM to support Linux on S/390 and zSeries.

Although a good central source, IBM’s Speed-start your Linux app 2003 site isn’t quite comprehensive. Among other omissions, it doesn’t provide information about any of several Big Iron Linux distributions that are available from other sources—such as Debian/390 and ThinkBlue.

IBM Establishes New Linux Competency Center

In other Linux-related news, Big Blue announced the establishment of a Linux Competency Center based in London. The new center—dubbed the Linux Center for Financial Services—is expected to provide financial services firms with an environment in which they can test and deploy Linux-based solutions running on a mix of IBM eServer hardware platforms and interoperating with IBM software such as WebSphere and DB2.

This is the ninth Linux Competency Center established by IBM. Big Blue’s Linux Competency Centers are distributed across at least five different geographic regions—North America (New York City), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Germany), the Middle East (United Arab Emirates) and Asia (China, Singapore).

CA Enhances Unicenter for On-Demand Computing

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) this week introduced new and enhanced Unicenter offerings designed to facilitate corporate on-demand computing initiatives.

So-called “on demand” or utility computing models typically describe an infrastructure for the virtualization of computing resources—such as storage, servers and networks—to increase performance, lower costs, or enhance overall manageability.

Among major vendors, IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), and Sun Microsystems Inc. have all announced variations on the utility computing theme that stress some combination of self-healing or “autonomic” hardware, intelligent software, and services offerings.

CA is unique in that it maintains that the benefits of on-demand computing can be achieved primarily through IT management rather than by an extensive overhaul of IT's systems and software.

CA representatives say the new or revamped Unicenter offerings leverage extensions to CA Common Services that provide shared Business Process Views, synchronization between business processes and IT resources, and self-management capabilities. The upshot, they say, is a management framework for on-demand computing: "By transforming Unicenter technology to provide the industry's first management platform for on-demand computing, CA is ensuring that our customers can achieve a new level of IT efficiency and alignment,” asserted Wai Wong, senior vice president and general manager of Unicenter solutions for CA, in a release.

Revamped Unicenter offerings include version 3.1 of Unicenter Network and Systems Management (Unicenter NSM), which CA says enables IT organizations to view IT resources based on the services that they support—even in a dynamically changing environment.

Also enhanced is Unicenter Management for webMethods—now in version 3.0—which manages the performance and availability of the webMethods enterprise application integration platform. Unicenter Management for webMethods works in tandem with Unicenter NSM to dynamically associate applications and individual infrastructure components with the business processes they support in an on-demand environment.

CA has released version 4.0 of its Unicenter Software Delivery, which boasts self-healing and provisioning capabilities for applications and operating systems; version 4.0 of Unicenter Asset Management, which provides multi-dimensional software and hardware asset management capabilities; and version 6.0 of Unicenter ServicePlus Service Desk, which enables devices and applications to proactively and automatically interact with a help desk

A new Unicenter offering is the Unicenter NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option, which works with Unicenter NSM to monitor business service levels. The Unicenter NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option can anticipate when additional capacity is needed to improve performance, and allocate it as necessary.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.