IBM shows off 10 new Linux users

Trying to bolster the image of Linux as a legitimate platform for driving higher revenue and earnings among companies both large and small, IBM at LinuxWorld on Wednesday will trot out 10 new users to give just such testimony.

With these 10 new customers, company officials said IBM now has more than 6,300 Linux customers. Company officials also disclosed that IBM generated more than US$1 billion in revenues in 2002 on Linux-based hardware, software, and services.

Among the 10 companies, Unilever will detail how it has successfully adopted a Linux-based strategy that spans its entire infrastructure. Unilever's brands include Elizabeth Arden, Calvin Klein, Dove, Ragu, Lipton Tea, Ben & Jerry's, Snuggle, Lawry's, and Hellmann's mayonnaise. By standardizing on a Linux-based infrastructure, company officials hope to stitch together the range of hardware and software platforms and applications these businesses deploy.

Also giving testimony, the PGA Tour will show off an online application that lets golf fans follow a tournament in real time or replay it through graphic and statistical presentations.

"We think TourCast will provide the PGA Tour fan with unprecedented information in a fun, easy-to-use, graphical experience," said Steve Evans, PGA Tour vice president of Information Services. "Gone are the days of watching a list of names waiting for a score to change. TourCast will transport the fans onto the course where they can experience the holes, the shots, and the tournament storylines in real time."

Detailing the pieces that make up TourCast, representatives will describe Linux's on-demand capabilities from IBM and how it works with existing technology from the PGA's ShotLink and Tournament Tracker applications, which provide access to information about every player, every shot, and every hole.

The TourCast application runs on Linux Virtual Services, which is an on-demand service hosted by IBM on IBM's eServer zSeries mainframes and IBM Enterprise Storage Server systems. The service allows the PGA Tour to pay only for the power and capacity required to meet consumer demand.

Also expected to testify to the technical and economic merits of Linux as part of a panel are executives from Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers, all of whom have deployed pieces of Linux-based products into their infrastructure.

A third company that will acknowledge the benefits of gravitating to Linux-based infrastructure is VeriSign, provider of digital trust services. Company officials will describe how VeriSign has migrated all of its PKI (public key infrastructure) services to Linux. Currently, VeriSign has deployed approximately two dozen IBM eServer xSeries servers on the West Coast to support the migration, but it will "significantly increase" that number by the end of this year's first quarter.

"Demand was growing for our PKI services, which meant increased pressure on our technical infrastructure," said Marshall Behling, vice president of business development at VeriSign, in a prepared statement. "Ramping up to meet that demand was going to be very expensive, so we looked at other options. Linux was good choice because we see it as a de facto standard, it's being widely supported, and it offered numerous financial and technical advantages for us," he saidA fourth company giving witness will be Mercury Insurance Group, an independent writer of automobile insurance. The company is using IBM's Intel-based eServer xSeries running Linux that services its employees and independent agents.

Other companies presenting their cases will include Grohe, a German-based manufacturer of water fittings, which will outline its consolidation strategy; Banco do Brasil, Brazil's largest bank; Automatos, which has implemented DB2 for Linux to run a number of Internet-based solutions; Eberspaecher, the world's largest maker of auto muffler and heating systems, which has implemented a mainframe-based manufacturing application; Marist College, which has on ongoing project based on virtual Linux servers; and The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis, which has an IBM eServer BladeCenter using Linux to help with research of large-scale genomic data.

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