Able-One Blog

Linux on Power -  An introduction

With the continued growth in Linux and open source solutions, it is no surprise that IBM has increased their focus on Linux on IBM Power Systems.  IBM has been an active Linux participant for over 15 years and continues to be one of the leading commercial contributors to the Linux community today.  In September 2013 IBM made an additional $1 billion dollar Linux investment which included the opening of a new Power Systems Linux Center & many innovations around the world.  One of the game changing innovations that came from that investment was IBM Watson, IBM’s self-learning computer that beat Jeopardy (check out the video below), but can you guess what platform it is built on?  That’s right, Linux on Power.


In the spirit of Open Source, IBM has developed specific tools for Power (free of charge of course) to ensure their users are provided additional value.  Some of the most popular are the IBM installation toolkit for Power Linux, Software Development Kit, and Advance Toolchain.

IBM made a very strategic move with the announcement that Little Endian is supported with the introduction of the Power 8 processors.  The x86 Linux application ecosystem is very large and x86 platforms use Little Endian mode. That announcement definitely contributed to a significant increase in interest in PowerLinux by both customers and Linux application providers. The list of Linux applications now supported on PowerLinux is growing rapidly.  A good blog to read on this topic is “Just the FAQs about Little Endian” by Jeff Scheel, IBM Linux on Power Chief Engineer.

In comparison to x86, many people now accept that running Linux applications on IBM Power will lead to better performance and reliability.  What surprises many is the lower total cost of ownership (TCO) typically found for PowerLinux solutions versus x86. The lower TCO is a result of IBM’s aggressive Linux on Power pricing combined with lower total costs for databases and Linux applications that are often priced per core.  Typically many more cores are required in an x86 environment to adequately run the same workload versus what is required with PowerLinux.

IBM’s Power Systems support the industry standard SUSE, Redhat and Ubuntu Linux distributions as highlighted below:


"IBM believes open standards and open-source software are absolutely critical to the future of IT, and IBM actively supports and encourages the adoption of Linux. Our partnership with SUSE is a key component of this Linux strategy."

- Jean Staten Healy Director, Linux Strategy, IBM


IBM and Redhat -

“As prominent members of the open source community, Red Hat and IBM have a long history of making significant investments in Linux technology. Red Hat is a leading provider of open source solutions and IBM is one of the largest Linux contributors”


IBM and UBUNTU - (

“The leading platform for scale-out computing, Ubuntu Server helps you make the most of your infrastructure. Whether you want to deploy an OpenStack cloud, a Hadoop cluster or a 50,000-node render farm, Ubuntu Server delivers the best value scale-out performance available.”

If you would like to discuss more of what Linux on Power can do for you and your organization or have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us today! ( )

Topics: Infrastructure, PHP, linux on Power

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