What Is LinuxONE?

April 10, 2024

LinuxONE is a family of enterprise-grade servers offered by IBM that are engineered specifically for the Linux operating system. These systems are designed to provide high performance, security, and scalability for running Linux applications and workloads. Leveraging IBM's extensive experience in mainframe technology, LinuxONE servers can handle large volumes of transactions and data, making them suitable for businesses that require robust computing infrastructure.

LinuxONE Features

LinuxONE's main features—advanced security measures, seamless scalability, and superior performance—combine to provide a robust, secure, and high-performing computing environment for businesses of all sizes. Here is a breakdown of the key features of LinuxONE servers:

  • Robust security. LinuxONE offers hardware-based encryption for data at rest and in transit. Secure partitioning ensures isolation for different workloads, making it suitable for security-critical tasks.
  • Flexible scaling. The modular design allows vertical scaling (adding processing power) and horizontal scaling (adding servers) to meet growing demands, minimize downtime, and maintain performance.
  • High-performance processing. Designed for high-speed operations, LinuxONE efficiently handles large workloads. It is ideal for finance, healthcare, and other performance-intensive applications.
  • Exceptional uptime. LinuxONE prioritizes continuous operation with features like fault tolerance and redundancy, ensuring critical applications remain available.

LinuxONE Models

We are currently on the fourth generation of IBM LinuxONE servers, introduced in September 2022 with the announcement of the LinuxONE Emperor 4. All models come with 4.6 GHz Telum chips.

Here is a summary of the current LinuxONE lineup:

  • Emperor 4 (multi-frame). This model represents the pinnacle of the LinuxONE series in terms of power and scalability. With up to 200 processing cores, 48TB of memory, and the capability to extend across four frames, it's tailored for the most demanding, data-intensive applications.
  • Rockhopper 4 (single frame). Serving as a more cost-effective yet still powerful option, this model provides up to 68 cores and 16TB of memory within a single frame, balancing high security and reliability for businesses with substantial but slightly less extreme computing needs.
  • Rockhopper 4 (rack mount). This variant of the Rockhopper 4 offers similar specifications to the single frame model but is designed for integration into existing rack setups, providing flexibility for organizations with specific deployment requirements.
  • LinuxONE 4 Express. As the entry-level option in the lineup, the LinuxONE 4 Express is designed for smaller workloads or organizations just starting with enterprise-grade computing needs. It offers 16 cores and 1TB of memory, emphasizing affordability and co-location compatibility for storage and switch infrastructure.

LinuxONE Advantages and Disadvantages

The LinuxONE system is a powerful platform for security-conscious businesses with large workloads. However, it is necessary to consider the initial cost and specialized skillset requirements.


Here are the benefits of LinuxONE:

  • Robust security. LinuxONE stands out for its exceptional security. With features like EAL 5+ certified isolation and robust encryption, it safeguards data at all stages, making it a good choice for organizations that handle sensitive information.
  • High reliability and uptime. LinuxONE boasts impressive uptime due to its redundant hardware components and live partition mobility. These features translate to minimal downtime for critical business applications.
  • Efficient resource utilization. The architecture of LinuxONE is particularly efficient. It can consolidate workloads that would typically require multiple x86 servers. This consolidation reduces energy consumption and data center footprint, potentially leading to significant cost savings in the long run.
  • Scalability. LinuxONE excels at scaling to handle enormous workloads. While the initial cost might be high, its consolidation capabilities can be cost-effective in the long run for large enterprises.
  • Hybrid cloud integration. LinuxONE integrates seamlessly with hybrid cloud environments, allowing businesses to leverage cloud resources while keeping sensitive data on-premises.


These are the drawbacks of LinuxONE:

  • Cost. The initial cost of acquiring a LinuxONE system is significant, especially for smaller businesses. Compared to more affordable x86 servers, the upfront investment can be a major obstacle.
  • Specialized skill requirements. Operating and maintaining a LinuxONE environment requires staff with expertise in IBM Z architecture and specific LinuxONE features.
  • Vendor lock-in. As an IBM-exclusive solution, LinuxONE can lock businesses into IBM's pricing and support structures, limiting their ability to negotiate for better deals elsewhere.

Nikola is a seasoned writer with a passion for all things high-tech. After earning a degree in journalism and political science, he worked in the telecommunication and online banking industries. Currently writing for phoenixNAP, he specializes in breaking down complex issues about the digital economy, E-commerce, and information technology.