Reflections on Common 2016 New Orleans and Linux

May 25th, 2016

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

I just returned from speaking at the Common User Group in New Orleans.  Common is primarily an IBM i customer user group.  The attendance was very good and increased about 10% from last year.  The attendees range from System Administrators to IT managers to IBM i programmers…all very intelligent, and knowledgeable about their systems, applications and application needs.  My speaking sessions were mainly about Linux on Power, with a focus on IBM i system co-implementations.  This was basically a “curriculum” from basic Linux understanding to implementation, management and applications.

I saw a great increase in attendance of the IBM i customers for the Linux on Power sessions.  The majority of the audience was deeply interested because customer management is directing the IT department to implement Linux applications (such as Magento, MariaDB, SAP, etc). They want the implementation to be on Power Systems for performance gains over x86 Linux and direct integration with the IBM i DB2 data.  The additional benefit they see is not having to implement a second platform.

The System Administrators found a significant difference between the IBM i GUI-driven and managed environment with Navigator, but saw management of virtualized Linux on PowerVM being totally consistent with their IBM iPowerVM implementation.  Many of the sysadmin used several of the IBM i performance tools.  They understood that these were primarily instrumented to the IBM i OS, and as such, they would have to learn and use new tools for Linux and its applications.  The net is, the administrators did recognize that a change was coming.  They were prepared to undertake the change, and were excited about the challenge overall.

One of my recommendations to the Common User Group audience was to engage either an IBM Business Partner or IBM to assist in the first POC or implementation.  This will eliminate the frustration that may occur when they engage in tasks such as ordering the proper distribution, installation of the ISO image, and initial application implementation.  This will insure both a positive experience and success.  I believe, this is good advice for all of you embarking on Linux on Power.

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