PowerLinux Distributions and Support Software Expand

October 24th, 2016

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

The rapid growth of Linux and Open Source code is incredible. At the same time, demands on Linux applications needing to support mission-critical work and high performance is being matched by Power Systems, with the advent of new Open Power Consortium IBM LC models. The landscape is very dynamic and very hard to keep up with, as sometimes “announcements” get lost somewhere. So, let me just review the distributions and some comments on infrastructure support.

The current list of enabled Linux distributions is: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Big Endian and Little Endian; SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Big Endian and Little Endian, Ubuntu Little Endian, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, and OpenSUSE. My comment here is: CHOOSE WISELY and try to be consistent, as while the Linux distributions are all Linux, they come at different kernel levels, and the management tooling and included infrastructure can be quite different.

Also consider support. IBM does offer a per server support offering that covers all the different SUPPORTED distributions, if you wish to run different distributions on the same server. This support offering is for Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu. The other distributions running on Power are basically betas (Fedora and OpenSUSE) or community supported (CentOS and Debian).

Now about the “rest of the stack.” Running just Linux OS is not what you all do. You also run virtualization, open stack, tooling, HA, etc. My recommendation is to run the stack of the distribution. I say this for support reasons, consistency, and tight integration testing before the distributors create the package.

With the recent Red Hat announcement (see my other Blog on the IBM – Red Hat press release), it appears the SUSE, Ubuntu, and Red Hat distributions will all contain an integrated and tested Linux OS, KVM virtualization, HA support, and cloud management with Open Stack. Having a mixed bag of infrastructure tools seems to just create support, currency and integration issues.

But, again, that is just my opinion.

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