Linux is about the lowest-cost operating-system alternative on the market, which accounts for its growing appeal in the world of business and government. Just as important, Linux is ideally suited for the emerging on demand world because it can contribute so much to making a business responsive, variable, focused, and resilient.
For example, to begin moving toward an on demand operating environment, one must first simplify the data center. That requires, among other things, consolidating many distributed servers into one. And Linux, more than any other technology, allows the workloads of hundreds, even thousands, of distributed servers to be consolidated on a single mainframe.
Server consolidation a prime benefit of Linux on the mainframe can result in fewer servers to maintain, fewer IT staff required, and less floor space and power consumption to pay for. The savings can then be invested in further transforming business processes, integrating them, and virtualizing the system environment. The result is an environment that is more responsive and a cost structure that is more variable.
Being open, Linux lets a customer deploy applications across many different hardware architectures running the operating system, resulting in a more integrated operating environment, less time spent connecting applications and processes, and more focus on the business. This Linux-based integration results in significant cost savings savings which, again, can be reinvested in transforming the business.
Honeywell Corporation, the large industrial sector conglomerate, implemented a Linux/mainframe solution that simplifies its business immensely with a single point of entry to 20 distinct strategic systems and makes operations more resilient with automatic rerouting to backup systems should the primary fail. And not having to worry about 20 different sign-ons lets Honeywell engineers focus more on their business.
The Open Source operating system also lends itself readily to utility-like computing and consequently a more variable cost structure. Any business can tap into a Linux-based, zSeries mainframe, for example, and acquire the processing power it needs in the same way that it obtains electricity on demand and paid for on a usage basis.
Mobil Travel Guide, instead of investing in its own equipment, will use Linux-based mainframe virtual servers and Enterprise Storage servers at IBM's e-business hosting centers and pay for only the computing power they consume. Mobil, in turn, will offer customers on demand travel services, including 24-hour enroute travel support. As a result, Mobil moves toward a more variable cost structure, becomes more responsive and, since it does not have to worry about IT, can focus more on its own business. In short, it takes a major step toward becoming an on demand business.
Despite the bursting of the dot-com bubble, companies around the world still recognize the value inherent in all the open technologies and standards that have emerged in the Internet era. They see their potential for making a business more responsive, focused, and resilient, and moving it toward a more variable cost structure. More than any other operating system, Linux, with its roots in the Open Source community that built so much of the Internet, can be an integrating platform that capitalizes on all those creative forces unleashed by the Net to turn a business into an on demand business.
Somers, NY, April 2003