Linux is becoming increasingly important for resellers because of pent-up end-user demand, particularly among small and medium businesses (SMBs), according to IBM's Linux chief.
Speaking to vnunet.com ahead of this week's Linux Expo event in London, Adam Jollans, IBM worldwide Linux software marketing strategy manager, also said cost was not the only reason.
"Resellers tend to follow demand. They are interested in 'how do I make money and save money?' Demand is coming from end users," he said.
Unix users look for reduced costs by running on Intel. But some Microsoft Windows users had switched because of issues such as reliability, openness and licensing, he added.
Nick Patching, sales manager for IBM iSeries with reseller GSA Morse, agreed that Linux demand was increasing. "Linux is gathering pace. Rather than being a great idea, it is here. It's an acceptance thing," he said.
But Patching was also anxious to give credit to resellers for this, and said cost remained the major driver.
"You have to go out there to create opportunities, proactively spreading the word about Linux on Intel - for instance, using blade technology to scale out or scale up with IBM x440," he said.
He also saw cost as being a major consideration for using Linux in consolidation with the IBM PowerPC-based iSeries from other Unixes.
Jollans said IBM had worked hard on helping resellers provide solutions, as SMBs had a major need for applications. Other programmes included training and provision of evaluation code.
Migration of applications from both Unix and Windows was progressing well, with WebSphere Java and DB2 applications in particular easy to migrate from Windows, he added.
And he described this year's IBM 'double your discount' programme for Linux sales as "a clever way of providing development funding, because it is dependent on how much you sell".
Other initiatives, such as the WebSphere 'Express' low-cost applications programme, emphasised business solutions and a further Express release involving DB2 will occur on 4 November, Jollans added.
"In the early days Linux was under the wire without the chief information officer (CIO) knowledge. It was the technical decision for things such as a file and print server, with cost or reliability the driver. Now we have CIO adoption," he said.
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