IBM continues Solaris-to-Linux migration push

IBM is offering yet another free Linux migration program targeted at Solaris x86 customers.

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IBM is offering yet another free Linux migration program targeted at Solaris x86 customers.

Under the program, IBM is offering a new migration kit for folks taking part in two Big Blue programs unveiled this year, the IBM Migration Factory and the Chiphopper program.

Both programs have encouraged existing Solaris customers to partake in free-of-charge migration assessments and have been met with much success. Union City, Calif.-based Sageza Group reports that 3,000 of IBM's existing 12,000 Linux customers were former Solaris users who migrated using one of these programs.

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The new "Migration Kit" for Solaris-to-Linux supports any IBM eServer or System, including Linux on Power, Linux on Intel-based and AMD-based servers and blades and Linux on the mainframe.

Scott Handy, IBM vice president of worldwide Linux and open source strategy, said the free kit will be made available for download from IBM's Web site for IBM business partners, independent software vendors (ISVs) and customers.

Handy said IBM's new PartnerWorld Linux portal will now provide IBM business partners with a single Web resource where they can access Linux migration initiatives, training and technical support from IBM's software, hardware and services groups.

"You download this tool and run it, and the three tools in this kit that look at the source code or application that needs to be ported from Solaris to Linux, and it basically assess and reports on what the user needs to do," Handy said.

The three tools Handy referred to include one that examines C and C++ code and then looks to areas that need to be changed if it were being migrated to Linux. The tool then grades the difficulty of such a migration. There is also a shell script to look at file usage and finally there is a tool that examines Endian issues, which address the fact that byte orders are opposite on SPARC and Linux machines.

To Pund-IT Research principal analyst Charles King, the most interesting news from IBM on the Solaris to Linux migration front was the fact that this latest offering extended to all of IBM's platforms. Also, the download was offered through the PartnerWorld portal, meaning that IBM was focusing on the small and midsized business space.

King also believes that IBM's success in courting ISV support with its programs, especially with Chiphopper, was why he had heard so much buzz regarding Big Blue's migration programs and kits. It was also why Solaris was experiencing such hardship in keeping customers on Solaris, he said.

"Since they tried to commercialize it, the question has always been 'who is going to want this,' as most x86 customers are interested in Windows first," he said. "The argument is somewhat analogous to the argument that there needs to be another 64-bit development environment out there."

Also not helping Sun's cause is Sun itself. King said the vast majority of Opteron boxes that Sun has been selling have been Linux based.

"This is a good thing and bad thing for Sun; it gives them the chance to say we have Linux on Opteron, but every one of those boxes that goes out without Solaris 10 detracts from the argument that Solaris 10 is a superior operating environment," King said.

Future updates and expansions to the program were still possible, Handy said, and included the expansion of support for Chiphopper and Migration Factory programs into 2006.

"As we continue to do more migrations, we will keep expanding the overall portfolio of tools available to help customers to move off Solaris," he said.

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