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Cognos taps Novell SUSE Linux for mainframe debut

Cognos chose Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise as the first mainframe operating system on which to run its business intelligence application.

IBM's Corp.'s Cognos segment has chosen Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise to debut its Cognos 8 business intelligence software on the mainframe.

Cognos, which IBM bought for $4.9 billion last November, bypassed three IBM operating systems (z/OS, z/VM and z/VSE) and instead chose IBM System z for Linux and Novell's SUSE for its entrée into the mainframe market. An IBM mainframe version for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is also in the works.

"System z represents 20% to 30% of software applications on the mainframe, and its lead is growing," said Jennifer Hanniman, a senior product marketing manager for Cognos 8. "And 20% of the growth in demand for System z is for Linux [rather than IBM's other mainframe operating systems]."

Cognos 8, which already is available on IBM Systems p and x, Windows and Unix, consolidates all business intelligence functions such as reports and queries in one platform, and is easy to deploy and manage, Hanniman said. The latest version of the business intelligence application is 8.3. Linux will get the latest version in the next point upgrade, Hanniman said.

The current focus on green IT initiatives and reducing data center complexity has created a resurgence in adoption of the mainframe, which, in addition to saving energy, is more reliable and has higher availability and greater security, Hanniman said. This, in turn, has boosted demand for Linux for mission-critical applications such as business intelligence as users add new mainframe workloads in order to be cost-effective, she said. Moving business intelligence to the mainframe also helps customers because data access is faster when the data and the application are on the same platform, she said.

Dan Olds, a principal at Gabriel Consulting Group in Beaverton, Ore., concurred that storing an application and data on the mainframe results in faster processing because incoming mainframe data doesn't have to be copied, then translated for an x86 processor.

"This will remove some steps from the data analysis process with the data living on a mainframe," he said.

Cognos was able to fast-track porting the application to System z because it was already available for IBM Systems p and x and because it's faster to make changes to open source code, Hanniman added.

"We already had a strong base [in open source], and that helped us get off to a fast start," she said.

For several years, Satyam Computing Services Ltd., a large systems integrator in Hyderabad, India, has developed Cognos applications for its customers, and the company has already beta-tested Cognos 8 for the mainframe and used it to create 15 business intelligence reports for its customers.

Hemant Kulkarni, the head of Satyam's Cognos besta testing team, said that his customers are in the process of migrating from Windows and Unix to Linux on the mainframe, so the ability to run Cognos 8 on Linux will be helpful to them as well as Satyam.

"Being part of this beta program definitely puts us ahead of our competitors," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Pam Derringer, News Writer . And check out Enterprise Linux Log.

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