week, IBM made an announcement relating to further investment in Linux technology.
This investment is for $1billion (USD) and has some key components. The two
main components are the establishment of a client centre in Montpellier,
France, similar to existing centres in New York, Beijing, and Austin. The
second part is further investment in Linux on Power Systems.

McCredie (the Vice President of Power Development) made the announcement at
LinuxCon 2013. A significant part of the investment is to enable easily
scalable and flexible server infrastructure: “Open, customizable and designed
from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads” as McCredie puts it.

planks of the investment are the client centres. These centres allow developers
and other technical professionals access to various Linux Power Systems
. Additionally, the centres enable access to IBM subject matter
experts and provide facilities that enable optimisation of applications. They
also provide facilities that will aid in the timely deployment of applications
to market. Figure A shows the new
client centre in Montpellier.

Figure A

Linuxon Power development cloud is another initiative announced by IBM. This is
to allow developers to utilise the cloud to rapidly prototype applications for
use on Power Systems and other IBM platforms.

commenting on the investment, Jim Zemlin (Executive Director of the Linux
Foundation) says, “The last time IBM committed $1B to Linux, it helped start a
flurry of innovation that has never slowed.” (The last time Jim refers to is in
2000.) Jim continues: “IBM’s continued investments in Linux for Power Systems
is welcomed by the Linux community.”

is betting heavily on Power Systems as the future path to growth. This will
further fuel growth in Linux and associated applications. Investment in Linux on
Power Systems is likely to have a flow-on effect for x86 systems. 

announcement follows on from previous announcements by IBM on Power Systems and
x86 servers. IBM is clearly positioning to take advantage of a burgeoning big
data and cloud market. This is a positive move, as IBM’s traditional business
model of using managed services as a revenue stream is under pressure (as are
other more traditional managed service providers) from cloud providers that can
offer services at a far lower price than IBM. The use of Power Systems for
cloud and big data computing should assist IBM to gain traction in a market
where service providers do not necessarily care about what vendor kit the
services run on.