IBM's NT-to-Linux Migration Initiative, SuSE Certification Among LinuxWorld Highlights

Expectations were high, and attendees weren't disappointed

Expectations were high as industry heavyweights gathered last week in New York, NY for the LinuxWorld trade show.

Vendors IBM Corp., Novell Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., and Veritas Corp. didn’t disappoint, trumpeting a range of new Linux-related products and services.

IBM, for example, touted an ironic twist on an established theme: migration away from so-called “legacy” platforms to new, ostensibly “open” systems. Except, in this case, the legacy system in question is Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT 4.0 Server, for which the software giant is expected to end support by the end of the year. The open system? Linux, of course.

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Big Blue believes that it can convert as many as one million existing NT 4.0 server licenses over to Linux, and unveiled a new NT to Linux migration program that it says is designed to address common Windows NT 4.0 usage scenarios, such as file and print serving, Web and application serving, security, systems and network management, collaboration and database applications. The new program prescribes a strong dose of Big Blue's key technologies, including the Lotus Notes/Domino messaging and collaboration platform, the DB2 Universal Database, and the Tivoli systems management application stack.

Scott Handy, vice president of Linux strategy and market development with IBM, believes that as many as two million NT Server licenses could be in play, and he says that IBM believes it can compete for at least 50 percent of this installed base. "The latest IDC data shows that there's about two million NT servers still out there, so we anticipate that some of those clearly will go to Windows and some will go to Linux. We're actually estimating that this could be a fifty-fifty split, and that there could be as many as a million servers coming over to Linux."

IBM also unveiled an updated version of the Integrated Platform for e-business on zSeries bundles it first announced at last year’s LinuxWorld. The bundle combines Linux software and middleware with mainframe hardware at what IBM has described as a “significant” discount.

At this year’s LinuxWorld, IBM announced that it will include WebSphere portal with its Big Iron Linux bundles. According to Adam Jollans, Linux strategy manager for the IBM Software Group, Big Blue made the decision to add a portal component to the bundle largely as a result of feedback from customers. “For example, in government we’re seeing lots of use of Web portals, and it’s viewed as sort of being up-to-date in terms of the key components [that a customer needs to have],” he comments.

Last year’s LinuxWorld was largely a showcase for IBM’s Linux-on-zSeries efforts, but at LinuxWorld 2004, Big Blue championed its Linux-on-pSeries promotions, touting several big customer wins—National Semiconductor, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, and German manufacturer LexCom, among others—for Linux-on-pSeries. “National Semiconductor is consolidating from older Unix machines onto two pSeries systems to simplify their infrastructure and reduce costs,” Jollans says. “Lexcom … is familiar with Linux, but they want to have higher scalability in terms of how they’re running it, so they’re running it with pSeries and DB2.”

In addition, IBM cited an iSeries customer win for Linux: winery Kendall-Jackson.

SuSE Linux

Finally, in conjunction with Novell Inc., now the proud parent of SuSE Linux, Big Blue touted a new security certification for SuSE’s Enterprise Server 8 with Service Pack 3. Deployed on IBM’s eServer platforms, Enterprise 8 has been certified for Controlled Access Protection Profile compliance under the Common Criteria for Information Security Evaluation (CC), which is commonly referred to as CAPP/EAL3+. SuSE Enterprise Server 8 is the first open source operating system to receive the CAPP/EAL3+ certification.

Novell, of course, was on hand with its new crown jewel, SuSE Linux. In addition to the CAPP/EAL3+ security certification that IBM and Novell/SuSE jointly touted, the erstwhile networking operating system giant also announced an open beta of its forthcoming GroupWise 6.5 messaging and collaboration environment for Linux. What’s so exciting about a beta? GroupWise 6.5 will incorporate technology that Novell acquired earlier this year from Linux software vendor Ximian, which marketed an e-mail and collaboration environment called Ximian Evolution, along with an instant messaging client called GAIM.

Novell also announced that it will tap Eclipse as the IDE of choice for all of its development tools. Finally, Novell disclosed plans to launch a Novell Certified Linux Engineer certification program.

Sun, Veritas Announcements

Sun was on hand as well, showcasing its Sun Java Desktop System along with the Sun Java Enterprise System it announced last December. The Sun Java Desktop System is intended as a Windows replacement, while Sun bills the Java Enterprise System as a solution for simplifying datacenter software deployment and management. In addition, Sun disclosed plans to support its complete line of development tools on Linux by the end of 2004.

Veritas announced two Linux-related products at LinuxWorld 2004, including a new version 3.2 release of its OpForce server provisioning software. In addition, Veritas trumpeted the availability of its Veritas Cluster Server and Veritas Foundation Suite software packages for SuSE Enterprise Linux. Veritas previously supported only Red Hat Linux.

The most bizarre news out of this week’s LinuxWorld has to do with Microsoft, which, paradoxically, was one of three finalists for the LinuxWorld Product Excellence Awards in the category of Best Integration Solution.

The winner in the category was the WebLogic Platform 8.1 J2EE application server, from BEA Systems Inc. Microsoft garnered a nomination for the newest version of its Windows and Unix interoperability toolset, Services for Unix, which the software giant plans to make available as a free download.


For more on the IBM NT-to-Linux migration initiative, see "IBM Launches NT to Linux Migration Plan" in our sister publication, ENTnews:

About the Author

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