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  1. Blog
  2. Article

Frank Heimes
on 6 February 2024

IBM LinuxONE 4 Express and Ubuntu Server drive data centre performance and economics

Canonical is pleased to announce that Ubuntu Server is optimised and fully supported on IBM LinuxONE 4 Express – the newest addition to IBM’s world-leading LinuxONE server family.

The previous model in the Express series, IBM LinuxONE III Express, was immensely popular, and brought the power of LinuxONE to a wider audience than ever. IBM LinuxONE 4 Express builds on this success by taking advantage of the latest LinuxONE 4 technology to drive new levels of efficiency and sustainability. Users can gain even more value from the new IBM hardware by pairing it with Ubuntu Server, benefiting from bespoke optimisation and comprehensive and cost-effective support. 

Next-generation IBM server

With the shift from LinuxONE III to LinuxONE 4 technology, IBM LinuxONE 4 Express benefits from the same advances in security and performance that we’ve already seen in IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 and IBM LinuxONE Emperor 4.

LinuxONE 4 Express (with up to 16 IFLs and 864 GB of memory)

Rebasing on the latest LinuxONE 4 offering means that the new upgraded peripherals are available, including OSA Express 7S, FICON Express 32S and RoCE Express 3, as well as new options like secure boot and Secure Execution for Linux, and the IBM Telum chip for AI acceleration. What’s more, IBM’s hardware maintenance, IBM Technology Lifecycle Services (TLS), has been simplified to 8% of the hardware price (Y1 under warranty) for all geographies.

LinuxONE 4 Express remains focused on the core principles that have made the Express server line so successful, with new advances in:

  • Simplicity: Due to evolved management options (like DPM), preconfigured design and modern Linux capabilities, LinuxONE 4 Express is now even easier to deploy and operate.
  • Price: The even lower entry-level LinuxONE 4 Express price makes LinuxONE more accessible than ever to a new and growing market.
  • Route: IBM has added new purchasing options to address clients via Business Partner Agreements (BPAs) and independent software vendors (ISVs)
  • Flexibility: With more and differently sized hardware options available, customers can choose the perfect fit for their data centre and plan for growth. It’s even possible to scale within a single rack…

A preconfigured LinuxONE 4 Express system is a rack-mounted entry-model that comes with up to 16 IFLs – but can be upgraded (via MES) to any of the available LinuxONE 4 sizes. The frame can accommodate the rack-mounted and mid-size LinuxONE Rockhopper 4, with up to 68 IFLs (Max68), and eventually up to a full-blown, multi-frame LinuxONE Emperor 4 system with up to 200 IFLs (Max200).

Last but not least, LinuxONE 4 is the perfect option to elevate your sustainability strategy, as it offers significant performance improvements without increasing energy consumption. In fact, IBM LinuxONE Emperor 4 won the Sustainable Product Award at the SEAL 2022 Business Sustainability Awards

Make the most of LinuxONE 4 Express with Ubuntu

We’ve seen that LinuxONE 4 Express brings a host of new capabilities to the table, but to take full advantage of these features you need an operating system that supports them – and this is where Ubuntu Server comes in.

Building on the long-standing partnership between IBM and Canonical, Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS, and the upcoming 24.04 LTS, were designed in parallel with IBM’s server technology to support the complete range of LinuxONE 4 features. Out-of-the-box support enables Ubuntu users to unlock the full potential of IBM LinuxONE 4 Express from day one, and maximise resource utilisation for a highly efficient system.

Complementing the flexibility of IBM LinuxONE 4 Express, Ubuntu Server can be deployed in LPAR, as an IBM z/VM guest, as a KVM virtual machine, and in different container environments such as LXD, Docker or Kubernetes.

Cost-effective, full-stack support

Ubuntu Server adds further cost-savings to the LinuxONE Express offering thanks to Canonical’s distinctive pricing model for enterprise support. Canonical’s support subscription,  Ubuntu Pro, is available either through a per IFL model (like with most vendors), but also per drawer. Both a LinuxONE 4 Express system and a LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 each only count as a single drawer, regardless of the number of active IFLs. This means that you can run up to 68 IFLs on a LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 in a supported way for the cost of just one drawer subscription.

Going beyond price, what further sets Ubuntu Pro apart from the support subscriptions of other vendors is that it not only covers the operating system itself, but also:

  • The full infrastructure stack, including KVM, OpenStack, MicroK8s, LXD, MAAS and more
  • Livepatch service for s390x, enabling you to patch kernel vulnerabilities without system downtime
  • An ever-growing open source application landscape, including but not limited to:

Ubuntu Server and IBM LinuxONE 4 Express

The competitive price-point of the LinuxONE Express series has always made it a compelling option. When you pair that value with the uniquely cost-effective support of Ubuntu Pro, alongside full LinuxONE 4 feature enablement and full-stack infrastructure coverage, it’s easy to see why Ubuntu Server and IBM LinuxONE 4 Express are the perfect match.

To learn more about IBM LinuxONE 4, visit:

Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS is available now. Download it here.

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