BMC Software's Calvin Guidry expects to see Linux running mission-critical applications sooner rather than later. The company's Houston-based general manager of enterprise systems management says supporting Linux is a strategic initiative for BMC because it works on platforms as diverse as Intel and IBM's mainframe class Z series (formerly S/390). "If I can move from the Intel platform to the Z series with no modifications to my applications — just a re-compile — I can save millions of dollars," he says, adopting a CIO's point of view. "At the moment we have to run mixed environments. If it's Linux and the hardware becomes transparent, we save a lot of money. If Linux is a new frontier for running mission-critical environments, our [BMC's] tools are more applicable and also less expensive to run and maintain." Guidry says BMC, which sells systems management and monitoring tools, has seen an increase in its Linux-related business and has partnered with a small Israeli company, Aduva, which has delivered a deployment manager for Linux. "This is different for BMC, which traditionally has provided tools for very established environments. With Linux we'd like to move up the deployment and development cycle and get closer to the application. "It will let customers not only run Linux in a production environment but get to the production stage faster. It lets customers run thousands of Linux instances from an immediate and single point." BMC has also partnered with IBM to build a predictive tool for migrating software from other platforms for Linux. The initiative sprang from a customer request wanting to know how to optimise the cost of consolidating servers. The customer wanted to know how much it would cost to migrate from the Sun E10 to the IBM Z Series. BMC had the predictive tools and IBM had the algorithms on its competitors' machines which led to the development of what is being called the Server Consolidation Tool for Linux. Slated to ship next April, the tool will initially be for migrating to Linux on the Z series but will ultimately work across all platforms and in all directions. BMC has ported its main tools Patrol and MainView to let administrators make predeployment decisions regarding Linux server installations or migrations from other server platforms. Among the packages are Patrol for Perform, Patrol for Predict and Configuration Manager for Linux, all of which are used to evaluate workload, capacity and underlying hardware requirements of supported applications. Data collected on current systems with the BMC software could be used by businesses to help avoid surprises when installing Linux servers for the first time or moving from one platform to another. Such pitfalls could include performance slow-downs under heavy loads or incompatibility with custom-built applications.