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IBM is investing $1bn into Linux, tapping open source developers to enhance IBM's offerings in cloud and big data

IBM is investing $1bn into Linux, tapping open source developers to enhance IBM’s offerings in cloud and big data

Technology giant IBM announced plans this week to invest another $1bn into Linux technologies including a new Linux research centre for the company’s developers, clients and partners to collaborate on Linux projects tailored to the IBM’s Power Systems offerings.

As part of the investment the company, which unveiled its plans at the Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon 2013 conference in New Orleans earlier this week, will set up a new Linux research centre in Montpellier, France which will house research staff that will explore and optimise Linux for the Power servers and architecture. IBM already has similar facilities in the US, Canada and Asia.

Rather than investing directly in the Linux Foundation IBM will also expand its Power System cloud infrastructure, which provides free access for the Linux development community to prototype, build, port, and test Linux applications on the Power platform. IBM also says it will expand the OpenPower Consortium, a cross-industry alliance announced this summer involving early-joiners like Google and Nvidia innovating over IBM’s Power chip architecture.

“Many companies are struggling to manage big data and cloud computing using commodity servers based on decades-old, PC era technology. These servers are quickly overrun by data which triggers the purchase of more servers, creating un-sustainable server sprawl,” said IBM fellow and vice president of power development Brad McCredie.  “The era of big data calls for a new approach to IT systems; one that is open, customizable, and designed from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads.”

Over the past decade Linux has become the most popular computer language for x86 server architecture and the new investment makes sense given the company’s move to open source the Power8 architecture under the OpenPower Consortium. The company seems to be stepping up its open source strategy in the hopes of delivering new solutions that will help the technology giant combat slow server sales, which according to IDC have declined more than ten per cent in the past year, and take on vendors making big data and analytics plays like HP and Dell.