At the Linux Technology Center, our focus has shifted over the years. While initially, the LTC’s emphasis was largely centered on Linux, the scope has expanded over the years. When we started, we spent a lot of time working to make sure that all of IBM’s products worked with Linux so that Linux ran well on our different families of servers - x86, Power, and mainframes, helping the IBM Software Group take advantage of Linux for their hundreds of software products, and sometimes stepping in with services to make sure that they could deploy Linux in their engagements.
From that, we became involved in helping Linux move into new areas. We worked with customers that were interested in deploying Linux for scale-out file systems and utilizing real-time Linux, and helped make enterprise requirements like Linux high performance and scheduling a reality. Over the years, the LTC has worked on open source development well beyond the kernel in areas as diverse as RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability), device support, networking, systems management, security, Samba networking protocol, the toolchain, standards, test and quality. Now that Linux features are mature, we are turning our attention to the new frontiers of open source innovation – big data, cloud, and mobility.
- Big Data - Hadoop is an open source software project that enables the distributed processing of large data sets. Its focus is big data and big data analytics. It is something we have strong platforms for - both in the x86 world and storage, as well as in IBM Power Servers. Think of IBM InfoSphere BigInsights. It is a software-led initiative but it using Linux and Hadoop under the covers and the LTC is doing the Hadoop development.
- Cloud - We are also heavily involved in open cloud computing, working with the OpenStack Foundation, which provides a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds.
- Mobility - More recently, we have also become involved in mobile computing and we are now learning about the back-end server needs for mobile computing type workloads. It is a completely different programming model – and one that is still emerging.
Over the course of our involvement in open source, we have helped launch consortiums as a way to bring companies together and get projects moving quickly – probably more quickly than they would have if they had developed organically. For example, we were involved in the formation of Linaro, which was focused on Linux for ARM processors that are used in cell phones, cars, and embedded in other devices. And, most recently, we helped kick-start OpenDaylight, a project under The Linux Foundation focused on a common software-defined networking platform. The result of all this work with different open source paradigms is that inside IBM, as well as externally, we are recognized for our expertise both technically and organizationally.
Because of the LTC, IBM is known as being good at working with open source initiatives – we know how to leverage it, the proper way to partner, and, when there is new open source technology that is emerging, people often come to us for help in pulling the project together in a cohesive way. The LTC has become a locus for people to gain assistance in solving their own problems or “scratching their own itch.” Ultimately, that is good for IBM – and something we all can benefit from. That’s what “community” means.
Director, IBM Linux Technology Center