Attempting to disprove that Linux cannot scale, Palmisano said that may have been true a couple of years ago, but that during the past year multiple Fortune 1000 companies and universities have successfully implemented supercomputer-class implementations, including the University of Illinois and Shell Oil, which has set up a 1,000-server node network.
Palmisano said Linux has now grown out of being a niche operating system, as is evidenced by the diverse market segments now using it, and using it for a wide range of application needs.
"You can say that [Linux] is being mostly used by ISPs, telcos, and other Web services providers. Well, just those markets are about a $1 trillion niche. That is a niche big enough to play in even for IBM," Palmisano quipped.
Trying to shatter the notion that Linux is not ready to control corporations' mission-critical applications, Palmisano pointed to several deals with companies that are buying native versions of Linux to run on Big Blue's z900 series of mainframes or to run it in a partition under the OS/390 mainframe operating system.
Palmisano cited recently released total cost of ownership studies that show Unix-based workloads consolidated on a single IBM mainframe prove corporate users can save significant investments on hardware, software, services, and administrative costs.