Free Stuff for Your Mainframe: 2013 Edition

FREE! That's a word we all like to hear, though maybe "no additional charge" is more truthful since nothing in life is truly free. In the past I've listed many of the mainframe freebies available, and those posts have been popular. This post is an update since there are so many more mainframe freebies now. Please do grab these freebies, explore, and put them to productive use. After all, the price is right.

Free Mainframes

Free mainframes? Did you say free mainframes? Yes, you can get access to mainframes free of charge with certain caveats. Here are some examples:

Free Mainframe Operating Systems

Linux is an open source operating system licensed per the GNU Public License (GPL). This type of license means that you don't have to pay a license fee to obtain and to use Linux, though Linux distributors (such as Novell and Red Hat) charge fees if you want their optional support services. Here are some examples of Linux distributions and other operating systems available for zEnterprise:

IBM Freebies for z/OS, z/TPF, z/VSE, and z/VM

Other Freebies (Mostly for z/OS)

I'm sure I'm only providing a partial list of mainframe freebies, but it's a start. Have fun!

by Timothy Sipples August 29, 2013 in Application Development, Economics, Linux, z/OS
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Significant Changes in the z/OS Release Schedule

IBM is moving to a biennial release schedule for z/OS, a good move in my view. Here are some highlights:

  • IBM plans to introduce new z/OS releases every two years. The idea is that z/OS users will have more time to exploit new z/OS functions and spend less time installing and testing release upgrades.
  • IBM is increasing the standard support period for z/OS releases from 3 to 5 years.
  • IBM is also increasing the fee-based extended support period from 2 to 3 years.
  • The next release of z/OS will also be a new version: z/OS 2.1. This new version will require a System z9 or higher since it will exploit newer processor instructions.
  • There are going to be more Web-delivered enhancements between releases, which isn't surprising.
  • As another corollary, there will be more enhancements in each new z/OS release.

As long as z/OS users don't simply "slow down," I like this new release schedule. It should make life simpler for software vendors, too.

by Timothy Sipples April 11, 2012 in z/OS
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Learning z/OS the Cloud(y) Way

Marist College is accepting new students for its z/OS professional courses. You can learn z/OS from the comfort of your own home — the courses are conducted online. The deadline for enrollment for the spring term is February 6, 2012. If you miss this term you can enroll for the next term, but why wait?

by Timothy Sipples January 24, 2012 in Cloud Computing, z/OS
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New WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile

A large and growing percentage of mainframes run JavaTM code. Even when you license only z/OS, you get Java at no additional charge. CICS Transaction Server, IMS, DB2, WebSphere MQ, Linux on zEnterprise — the list goes on and on — all support Java. If you want to write or run Java on the mainframe, there's nothing stopping you. Go for it!

I'm quite pleased to see that IBM has announced its beta program for WebSphere Application Server Version 8.5. One major new innovation is the WAS Liberty Profile which supports both z/OS and Linux on zEnterprise. The Liberty Profile for z/OS is tiny (by today's and yesterday's standards): the download is only 32 MB. It starts quickly and consumes very little memory. And you can download the beta version now to try yourself. Of course, anything that can run on the Liberty Profile can also run on WebSphere Application Server if/when you're ready. That's because the Liberty Profile is WAS, but with as-needed/where-needed function delivery, depending on your application's requirements. And yes, of course, you can access all the helpful JZOS methods from the Liberty Profile for z/OS.

I expect this new WebSphere Liberty Profile will be extremely attractive to mainframe customers and to mainframe software developers. (Did I mention it's tiny?) Please go give it a try today and let IBM know what you think.

by Timothy Sipples December 21, 2011 in Application Development, Innovation, Web Technology, z/OS
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Japan's NTT Data Is Rock Solid with zEnterprise

NTT Data is the largest system integrator in Japan. In this video a couple of NTT Data's professionals discuss the new banking solution they're building for the Bank of Japan and the exceptional attributes of zEnterprise, z/OS, and WebSphere middleware products on z/OS.

by Timothy Sipples December 13, 2011 in Financial, Innovation, Web Technology, z/OS
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Welcome, Senegal Customs!

Congratulations to the Customs Directorate of Senegal's Ministry of Finance which is placing into service a new, real-time customs processing system for their officers at all 30 border checkpoints. CFAO Technologies is implementing the new solution which is expected to enter service later this month. Computing technologies include System z10 mainframes, z/OS, and Parallel Sysplex. Simon Pierre Thiaw, CIO of the Customs Directorate, said this:

Senegal's import and export business plays a key role in the economy of the country. By implementing some of the most advanced and powerful IT systems available, we are able to transform our customs processes and ensure that the work we do is performed as accurately and efficiently as possible. While we considered alternative offerings from other vendors, we were convinced by the price/performance ratio of the IBM system.

Senegal is a growing country in western Africa and home to about 14 million people.

by Timothy Sipples February 9, 2011 in Current Affairs, z/OS
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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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