Today's Potpourri

1. If you were lucky enough to visit Palo Alto, California, last week, Charles Webb delivered a presentation to the HOT CHIPS 19 technical conference at Stanford University. The title: "The Next-Generation Mainframe Microprocessor."

2. GUIDE SHARE Europe sponsors their first annual z/VSE, z/VM, and Linux on z conference at IBM's Boeblingen, Germany, labs, from October 15 to 17, 2007. [I need to go to Germany in October, boss....]

3. The IBM Software Group continues to acquire interesting capabilities for its fast moving and growing business. Of particular note to mainframers: Princeton Softech and DataMirror.

4. So how do you save power and minimize cooling in your data center? Stanford has a new study. The study's authors examined the issue carefully and arrived at the answer: get a server which has the best input/output performance. "Since the CPU is usually the highest power component, these results suggest that building a system with more I/O to complement the available processing capacity should provide better energy efficiencies." As one blogger noted, "Ah, the irony! 40 years after the minicomputer we're back to a batch mainframe I/O-centric architecture. All things old are new again."

Both batch and online, actually. The physics never changed.

5. IBM ships the new Integrated Removable Media Manager for System z next month. Why should you care? At long last IBM integrates tape management across multiple operating systems, including z/OS. You can now manage tape media across the enterprise from policies defined on your mainframe, the "hub of the universe."

About freakin' time, since so many businesses are struggling with data retention and archiving policies for regulatory compliance, privacy protection, etc.

by Timothy Sipples August 27, 2007 in Systems Technology
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Introducing the 6th IBM Mainframe Operating System: Solaris?

The Associated Press reports on IBM and Sun's new collaboration announcement concerning the Solaris operating system. Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz called this announcement "a tectonic shift in the market landscape."

As most of you know, the IBM mainframe currently has five widely deployed and supported operating systems available: z/OS, z/VSE, z/TPF, z/VM, and Linux on z. A single machine can run all five, in any combination, in multiple secure instances dynamically responding to business demands, at the same time with the highest service qualities.

Next up it appears: Solaris on System z. In fact, Sine Nomine Associates already began work over one year ago to bring Solaris to the IBM mainframe, so maybe OS #6 is a lot closer to delivery than anybody knew. It took a little more than one year to bring Linux to the mainframe, for comparison.

Solaris is particularly popular among telecommunications companies who have racks and racks of smaller servers, typically running C and C++ code, to perform tasks such as call accounting. There's a lot of Web hosting on Solaris. Solaris is Fujitsu's preferred UNIXTM solution, and Fujitsu is one of the largest technology service companies in Japan. I could go on, but the introduction of Solaris on System z would help many customers around the world lower their costs of computing (including power, cooling, and data center space), scale up in addition to scaling out, improve the quality of their service delivery, and take advantage of increased choice and flexibility offered with all the applications and middleware available for the other 5 operating systems via in-memory, secure, high performance connections.

Solaris on System z would become in fact the third UNIX or UNIX-like operating system for the mainframe. Linux is "UNIX-like" of course, and z/OS is UNIX. (z/OS contains z/OS UNIX System Services, a complete, certified implementation of UNIX.) [Update: One develops z/TPF applications nowadays using Linux (e.g. gcc), and z/TPF is acquiring lots of in-built software familiar to UNIX users, so arguably z/TPF is at least trending toward acquiring UNIX-like characteristics.]

Now that Solaris on System z looks like a not-too-distant capability, do you think you'll be trying it?

by Timothy Sipples August 16, 2007 in Future
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What would you do with an extra $250 million?

The mainframe wins yet another a new customer: IBM. The company anticipates $250,000,000 in hard dollar savings over 5 years by collapsing 3,900 distributed servers in its major data centers onto 30 only partially full System z machines.

by Timothy Sipples August 1, 2007
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