IBM adds Linux apps support to Unix servers

The 'Lx86' capability allows x86-based Linux applications to run on IBM's System p and Power-based Unix systems without modification

IBM has added a new capability to its virtualization platform that will allow Linux applications to run on IBM's Unix servers, the company announced Tuesday.

The "Lx86" capability, to be included in IBM's PowerVM virtualization software, allows x86-based Linux applications to run on IBM's System p and Power-based Unix systems without modification, according to IBM. The systems will automatically detect and run Linux-based binaries designed for x86 environments.

"Lx86 is a way to say, 'Whatever you have, it can run," said Scott Handy, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Power Systems.

The capability will simplify the consolidation of Unix and Linux server sprawls, Handy said. Running Linux applications in the Unix environment can reduce the cost of server consolidation and energy consumption and increase asset utilization, he argued.

Lx86 will be a useful tool for people looking to migrate from Linux systems to other IBM systems, IBM said. The company offers both Unix and Linux operating systems on its servers.

The capability will be included in all editions of IBM's PowerVM platform, which it also renamed Tuesday from the Advanced Power Virtualization platform.

The software now includes an Express edition targeted at SMBs. It allows customers to create up to three partitions on a server and control the use of processor cycles to get optimal performance. The Express edition will be shipped to customers soon, priced at $40 per core. PowerVM is also available in Standard and Enterprise editions.

IBM also announced that it will update its i5/OS operating system with support for Power6 processors. The update, called V6R1, includes improved performance, storage and security features, according to IBM.

The update supports IBM's Power6 EnergyScale technology for controlling energy use. The company also updated its Rational software tool set for the i5/OS, Handy said.

The i5/OS V6R1, for IBM's System i servers, will ship in March. It will also work with the company's new BladeCenter H server chassis, Handy said.

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