50 Years Ago: The IBM 1401

I missed the exact 50th anniversary date, but here's a terrific short documentary celebrating the landmark IBM 1401 computer...and, more importantly, its people:

The IBM 1401 was so wildly popular that IBM provided optional 1401 emulation on the System/360 mainframes that were announced in 1964. Although it's hard to be certain, it is conceivable (and likely) that, somewhere, there are still programs originally written for the IBM 1401 that are running on today's System z mainframe, nearly 50 years on. Perhaps they've been modified and updated along the way, as business rules and other business needs evolved, but they were born many decades ago.

What an amazing journey.

by Timothy Sipples December 17, 2009 in History
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Another New Mainframe Customer...and It's a Big One

BC Card, the largest credit card company in Korea, has announced that they have chosen IBM System z as their next generation IT infrastructure. The company has never had a mainframe before.

They have chosen System z10, z/OS, CICS Transaction Server, DB2 for z/OS, WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, and several other software products. They are also consolidating many distributed servers to System z10.

"We chose System z for its continuous operation, service quality made available through IBM's mainframe software solutions, and economic returns for the years ahead," said Jeongkyu Lee, Chief Information Officer at BC Card. "We're aiming to become Korea's premier Global Payment Service Provider. We see System z as a critical success factor for our business objectives and service level requirements for customers."

Congratulations to BC Card, and welcome to our community.

by Timothy Sipples December 16, 2009 in Innovation
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z - that's a cloud, right? well if a Vblock is.

It's not new to say the "cloud" is like a mainframe reimplemented for distributed IP-based networks, but I was a little surprised at a briefing event from EMC this week, to see it was positioning bundles from VMware, EMC and Cisco (VCE) as the basis for a private cloud. I wrote the post up over here.

I mean if Symmetrix + VMWare + Cisco networks and servers is a pre-tested, pre-integrated building block for a private cloud then, surely a mainframe is too?

It wasn’t clear how enterprise compute purchasing is actually simplified with Vblocks. Frankly an enterprise could buy an IBM System z mainframe and it would be just like a Vblock- a fully-virtualised, pre-tested, pretested solution based on IBM software and gear. IBM doesn’t have a TotalStorage, System p and WebSphere coalition.

My aim here is certainly not to criticize EMC for making it easy for customers to purchase gear, but the Cloud should be about purchasing compute, not gear. Vblocks will be sold by VARs and integrators such as Accenture, CSC, and Capgemini.

If you’re digesting an elephant its not a cloud. I can see Vblocks being a solid channel play. Let hosting companies or SIs offer elastic hosting to their clients. It was notable that EMC’s customer reference for the day was the IT Services arm of Orange, the French telecommunications services company. EMC could perhaps deploy Vblocks to customers, with an agent for billing, and only charge per server image: some mix of local install, agent, and billing as a service. Not so different from IBM used to deploy mainframe to customers back in the day…

What is more - you can deliver z on a pickup, like this: ;-)

mainframe pickup

disclosure: IBM is a redmonk client.

by James Governor December 4, 2009 in z/OS
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