IBM has launched a new line of mainframes that run solely on Linux indicating the growing strength of the open source operating system.
The IBM eServer zSeries, the size of a washing machine, will be formally introduced at the LinuxWorld Conference in New York next week and will begin shipping by the end of March.
Big Blue said that the machine would allow users to consolidate dozens of servers into one box. This follows the success of the Linux mainframe installation at Swedish telco Telia last year.
IBM is hoping to target both new customers which have never considered mainframes because of the high-level of management skills needed, and others wishing to consolidate numerous servers into one box.
The servers are intended for infrastructure applications such as firewall, web serving, file and print serving, and mail serving.
"These new Linux servers answer the call of every customer who is serious about reducing server sprawl and dramatically improving their total cost of ownership," said Bill Zeitler, IBM eServer senior vice president and group executive.
IBM also announced a version of its iSeries line of servers aimed at small business that run only Linux. The system, a version of the i820, will have a starting price of $50,000 and can run up to 15 instances of virtual Linux servers on one physical server enabling customers to cut the number of servers they use.
It supports the SuSE and Turbolinux distributions of Linux and includes an installation wizard for rapid deployment.
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