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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

IBM Corp has released details of 10 new Linux customers ahead of the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco next week, looking to steal the limelight from server rival Sun Microsystems Inc, which will unveil its first general-purpose Linux servers at the event.

The announcement of 10 corporate and government sector customers is also important for the perceived success of the open source operating system. While Linux distributors and server vendors have been telling the world how adoption levels of Linux as an enterprise-level operating system are increasing, the number of customers prepared to go on record has been limited.

Armonk, New York-based IBM claims to have over 4,600 customers using Linux on its various hardware platforms, including the 10 new customers announced on Thursday. They include Air New Zealand, which has signed a strategic outsourcing agreement with IBM Global Services to replace 150 Compaq servers with a single IBM eServer zSeries mainframe running Linux, as well as IBM's WebSphere, DB2 database and Tivoli systems management software. The Linux-based mainframe will replace 4,000 Microsoft Corp Exchange email and file and print clients with the Bynari open source email application.

In the retail market the company has also announced that Satellite Records, the largest retailer of dance music on North America, is implementing IBM's DB2 database on Linux to integrate its front- and back-end systems with its website. The company, which is improving its web presence to include real-time inventory information and order status checking, is also planning to build an extranet for its international distributors and is converting its other IT systems, such as point-of-sale terminals, over to DB2 for Linux by the end of the year.

The government sector has proved rich pickings for the Linux operating system, particularly in building Linux-based server clusters as an alternative to expensive parallel supercomputers. One of IBM's new customers in this space is the Mississippi State University's 1,038-processor eServer x330 cluster, which has been used by the US Navy to analyze ship designs and create efficient submarines through the analysis of computational fluid dynamics.

Other new IBM customers include Deutsche Telecom's T-com unit, 7-Eleven, baked goods company Wolfermans, Westport Rivers Winery, the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Australian Government's Centrelink service delivery agency and e-business consulting firm Triaton.

This year's LinuxWorld promises to be even more intriguing than usual. Microsoft has for the first time hired a stand at the event, which runs from August 12 to August 15 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center. Microsoft will use the event to promote its .NET and Windows products and services as an alternative to open source, and attempt to win users running mixed environments.

Meanwhile Sun's chairman and CEO, Scott McNealy, is expected to outline details of the company's first general-purpose Linux servers during his keynote on August 13, while Oracle Corp's outspoken chairman and CEO, Larry Ellison, will be on hand to discuss Oracle's software for 'Unbreakable Linux' during his keynote on August 14. Ellison recently predicted the demise of the big-box server and announced plans to move the database software company's business from HP RISC servers running Unix to clustered Intel servers running Linux.

Vendors presenting new products in the show's exhibition area include Borland Software Corp, which will showcase its Borland Kylix 3, Linux independent development environment, Software Systems International LLC's Cylant division, which will introduce its CylantSecure 2.0, kernel monitoring and detect attacks security software, and Sharp Electronics Corp, which will demonstrate the Zaurus SL-5500, Linux/Java PDA.

© ComputerWire

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