IBM has introduced new services and programs to help more companies migrate from Sun and HP servers to IBM's System z, particularly on the Linux platform. The goal of the new Server Consolidation and Migration Services offering is to help customers "lower their costs and get on to a world-class consolidation platform," Karl Freund, vice president of System z strategy in IBM's Systems and Technology group, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "If they are doing a fairly large-scale data center consolidation, and many outfits are especially in today's economy, this is the best way for them to go. They can save more money by putting it on z then on really any other platform." By replacing slow, manual methods with an automated solution, the Server Consolidation and Migration Services can reduce server consolidation and application migration efforts from months to weeks according to IBM.
The Server Consolidation and Migration Services is part of a continued investment by IBM in Linux on System z. Nearly 2,800 of the 5,000 applications available on the System z platform are Linux-based, Linux accounted for about half of the roughly 1,000 new or updated applications produced for the IBM mainframe in 2008, and more than 40% of new System z customers last year installed Linux. The System z Linux environment has proven popular with businesses as a means to consolidate workloads and deploy new mission-critical mainframe applications that are well suited for Linux, according to IBM, and often these Linux applications on System z work in concert with the z/OS environment to enable an end-to-end solution within the same mainframe. The Server Consolidation and Migration Services originated in IBM's Global Technology Services unit and been used successfully in IBM's own data center consolidation efforts.
In tandem with the services offering, IBM also announced the new z Rewards program. Under the program, companies that purchase or upgrade to a new qualifying System z10 Enterprise Class or Business Class mainframe from Sun and HP systems can earn points that can be redeemed for certain IBM migration services. "It's like a frequent flyer program that allows clients to accumulate points, with which they can pay for those services after the sale," says Freund. "They can pay for services from IBM or from any other service provider, and if they choose another service provider, IBM will cut a check to that service provider and pay for that. A healthy business partner ecosystem for us is very, very important. We want our business partners selling more and making more money."