SUSE and IBM: Bringing the Mainframe to the Masses | SUSE Communities

SUSE and IBM: Bringing the Mainframe to the Masses


Almost 60 years ago, IBM unveiled a new era in computing by introducing the mainframe.  Thirty years later, SUSE was the first company to deliver an Enterprise Linux for the platform.  Many people have asked, “Is the mainframe dead?”  The answer to that is a resounding no.  And to prove that point, IBM has announced its newest entry level mainframe, the IBM LinuxONE 4 Express. It should be no one’s surprise that SUSE is once again supporting this announcement ensuring that our SUSE Linux Enterprise Server runs seamlessly on the platform.

“IBM is delighted that SUSE is supporting the launch of the new IBM LinuxONE 4 Express”, said Rick Schoonmaker, Director, IBM Z and LinuxONE HW Product Management. “Cyber-resiliency, workload consolidation, and lower TCO are important to our joint clients and also in the wider Linux market. We continue to work closely with SUSE on development, testing and support of SUSE Linux on IBM Z.”

What exactly is the IBM LinuxONE 4 Express?

Simply put, this mainframe is the baby of the LinuxONE family of products.  But don’t let that fool you.  This is still a powerful machine, providing all the benefits of its bigger counterparts.  Its core benefits include:

  • Lower Cost of Entry
  • Cyber resiliency
  • Sustainability

Let’s explore these a little more.

Lower Cost of Entry 

With the introduction of the IBM LinuxONE 4 Express, IBM has made the benefits of the mainframe available to any enterprise.  It has a published lower price point with preconfigured hardware options making it easier than ever to get a quicker return on investment.

To that end, SUSE has also made changes to our SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE offering.  In fact, an attractive choice of new options are available.  The flagship option bundles SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with our most valued solutions including SLE Live Patching, SUSE Manager Lifecycle Management Plus, SLE High Availability and Long-term Service Pack Support.  The other SUSE Linux Enterprise Server options lower the cost of entry for IBM Z or IBM LinuxONE servers while including SLE Live Patching. These changes let our joint customers use the most secure Linux on the most secure hardware – giving our customers even more choice depending on their environments.

Cyber Resilience

Like its big brothers, the IBM LinuxONE 4 Express gives you a cyber resilient platform with confidential computing included.  IBM has named this Secure Execution, a hardware-based security technology, that protects data in use – particularly important in hybrid cloud environments.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE also is built from the ground up with security in mind.  From a SLSA-compliant Software Supply Chain to obtaining the highest security clearances including:

  • Common Criteria EAL 4 Certification
  • FIPS 140-3 Compliance
  • DISA STIG Certification

Additionally, SUSE and IBM jointly collaborated on the technology and technical reference documentation needed by customers to deploy containerized confidential computing.  This solution includes the use of the IBM Z and LinuxONE Secure Execution trusted execution environment using SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images (SLE BCI) and the IBM Hyper Protect Platform for on-premises and in IBM Cloud deployments.  Learn more here.


Sustainability has always been an attractive element of the mainframe and even the IBM LinuxONE 4 Express model offers sustainability with its preconfigured sizes.  Offered as a rack mounted option only, this platform can be configured with up to 16 IFLs and 1TB of memory.  That can replace many x86 servers, while still enabling reduced IT energy requirements, more efficient scaling of resources, and including on-chip AI acceleration in a more sustainable way.

SUSE, as an open source company, also lives in the world of sustainability.  The whole concept of open source is that it delivers timely, agile innovation that acts as a force for good. The Linux Foundation states that “open source powers cost-effective and trusted infrastructure… breaking down barriers to innovation at a global scale, reducing waste, and creating a culture of inclusion, transparency, and trust.” Open source, by its very nature, is about teamwork and collaboration.  It’s about focusing resources where they are most needed, sharing knowledge, and dedicating resources to where they are most needed. That’s why open source is at the core of everything we stand for. SUSE is a pioneer in making choice happen.

SUSE and IBM have had a long history of building attractive solutions for our joint customers.  The release of the new IBM LinuxONE 4 Express is no different.  Learn more about SUSE Linux for IBM Z and LinuxONE here.

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Stacey Miller Stacey is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at SUSE. With more than 25 years in the high-tech industry, Stacey has a wide breadth of technical marketing expertise.