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IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. are putting renewed pressure on Sun Microsystems Inc. with new solutions to help customers and ISVs move away from SPARC/Solaris and onto Linux.

At this week’s LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, IBM will announce new resources to help ISVs and developers port Linux applications to the company’s Power microprocessor architecture, which is the foundation for IBM’s pSeries, iSeries and BladeCenter JS20 platforms.

Click here to read why Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes LinuxWorld is all grown up.

HP will announce an expanded Solaris migration program that is targeted at ISVs developing applications for Solaris and that will provide incentives to foster development of Linux applications for HP ProLiant and Integrity servers.

Under the IBM program, customers can run Linux natively or in a logical partition with the Unix-based AIX 5L operating system for the pSeries and in a partition with the OS/400 operating system for the iSeries, officials said.

IBM will provide ISVs, developers and the academic community with resources and offerings to help them port, test, support and market Linux applications on the three Power platforms and is expanding its 3-month-old Virtual Loaner Program, said Scott Handy, IBM’s vice president for worldwide Linux strategy, in Somers, N.Y., in an interview.

The new program will allow ISV partners to remotely access IBM hardware and operating systems through a secure Web portal over a VPN connection. IBM will make virtual pools of these servers available to its ISV member partners.

“The number of ISV Linux applications certified for Power has doubled to 600 in the first half of this year, and one of the things that is resonating with [ISVs] is the fact that they can get iSeries, pSeries and Power blade support with a single port and a single binary,” Handy said.

Next Page: Winning over software providers.

Some software providers such as Acucorp Inc., in San Diego, have been won over. Acucorp produces enterprise software that allows businesses to modernize COBOL applications and deploy them in service-oriented architectures. Its solutions allow customers to move existing COBOL workloads to Linux on Power, then modernize and extend them.

“We provided the first COBOL on Linux and the only COBOL ported to Linux across all IBM eServers. Our customers are demanding a Linux platform that gives them reliability, scalability and robustness, and IBM is addressing this with Linux on Power. There’s no question we intend to support that initiative,” said Joe Seiley, Acucorp’s director of strategic partnerships.

Regarding the program to encourage ISVs to move their applications to Linux, particularly away from Sun’s platforms, Handy said IBM is targeting specific applications it wants moved to Linux.

“We have long been targeting the Solaris, Oracle [Corp.], BEA [Systems Inc.] ecosystem with Linux on Intel [Corp.], but now we are taking the momentum we already have with them on that front and are getting them to now also support Linux on Power. We also have a very targeted list going after the Sun and HP installed base and have an initiative called Workloads to Linux that targets other people’s workloads,” Handy said.

HP is expanding its Sun ISV migration program to help ISVs migrate applications to Linux as well as ensure that those ISV partners developing applications have access to HP’s Itanium- and Opteron-based products and its blade server, said Jeffrey Wade, a Linux manager at HP, in Houston.

Customers can sign up to buy discounted HP hardware or can get access to HP’s testbeds and download applications in a virtual environment.

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