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1 Dave Williams commented   Permalink No RatingsRatings 0




Most of you probably know that the IBM mainframe turned 50 this year. IBM recently hosted a NYC event centered on the theme Engines of Progress to celebrate the mainframe’s birthday. There have been many retrospectives in the formal press and on blogs over the past month chronicling the incredible story of the mainframe.



Given its age, I guess it is understandable that some folks still think of a mainframe as a behemoth that fills up cavernous rooms. After all, it has been portrayed in movies time and time again in ways not all that dissimilar to this wonderful time capsule:



us__en_us__ibm100__system_360



Folks are captivated by the flashing lights and old reel tape drives, and as the picture seems to indicate, you can’t have a mainframe without being attached to a refrigerator-sized, reel-to-reel, vacuum-assisted tape drive. It’s simply cinematic magic!



Heritage

 
You would expect the Engines of Progress program to be filled with testimonials from large institutions touting the things that only the mainframe has been able to provide—and you’d be right.



The 50-year-old platform hosts many of the long-lived applications that touch us all—from airline reservation systems to credit card processing and banking transaction systems. Our grandpas’ lives, and for that matter, all of our lives were changed forever by the stodgy old mainframe. There are many reasons that the mainframe is the platform of choice for these mission-critical applications but I would probably sum it in a few key points. The mainframe is:




  • Dependable. Software and hardware work together in highly available configurations to eliminate single points of failure. This can allow any individual components to fail and not impact applications.


  • Backwards compatible. Software written for the mainframe is supported for very long periods of time. In fact, there are many applications that run on today’s mainframe that were originally written decades ago.


  • Flexible. The platform can be configured into many smaller logical machines, called logical partitions or LPARs to create smaller, independent, isolated machines.


  • Secure. Security is paramount on the platform and it has sophisticated controls that isolate users from each other and their applications, which can also protect the system from malicious attacks from the outside world.


  • Scalable. The mainframe can scale up vertically by adding resources like processors to an existing mainframe and horizontally by adding more mainframes to form a cluster known as a “parallel sysplex.” On-demand capacity can be added at the “flick of a switch” to handle planned or unexpected peak workloads that can sometimes occur on events like Black Friday.



This is an incomplete list to be sure, but you might have already had an idea that the mainframe can do these things. It is probably true that if that were all the mainframe did, grandpa’s mainframe would still be the most dominate commercial platform for complex systems of record applications on the planet. Your grandpa’s mainframe has a uniform, and it wears a suit and blue tie.



Green, open, modern

 
The mainframe of 2014 (IBM zEnterprise EC12) doesn’t fill a room the size of a football field. Here is a lovely image of a modern mainframe with her stealthy cover. Sexy, isn’t she? She has definitely lost weight and hardly looks 50 years old.



She is a green and mean processing machine, and she not 03Helixonly speaks the language of your grandpa’s mainframe but she has also grown with the Generation X and Y crowd of programmers and understands their credo: openness.



What? The mainframe is open? Did you know one of the fastest growing markets for new mainframe purchases is from customers running nothing but Linux on them? Not only do the lucky programmers get to leverage running Linux on the fastest processors in the industry (5.5gHz) but they also get to tie it to the most sophisticated input/output (I/O) subsystem as well, and that leaves the processors free to do other work. This means their Linux apps scream on the mainframe.



Many of the customers that run Linux on the mainframe leverage a hypervisor called z/VM. Did you know that IBM has developed OpenStack adaptors to z/VM? OpenStack adaptors allow modern cloud software to work with resources on the mainframe just like any other platform.



And, did you know that young programmers worldwide are learning the mainframe through innovative engagement programs like the “IBM Master the Mainframe” contest? This was truly a worldwide affair with the first, second and third place winners hailing from Taiwan, South Africa and the United Kingdom respectively.



One last tickler just to pique your curiosity and maybe surprise you: did you know that the mainframe can run Windows? Seriously. Today’k s mainframe is truly a system of systems.



There certainly is much, much more material that could be said to drive home the case, but I hope that it is at least clear to you that today’s mainframe can not only wear your grandpa’s suit and tie but also be right at home in recycled clothing and sandals— bridging the gap between generations. It’s a true engine of progress.



What do you think about the evolution of the mainframe? Feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter @StephenKinder.



2 Stephen Kinder commented   Permalink No RatingsRatings 0






Most of you probably know that the IBM mainframe turned 50 this
year. IBM recently hosted a target="_blank">NYC event centered on the theme Engines of
Progress
to celebrate the mainframe’s birthday. There have
been many retrospectives in the formal press and on blogs over the
past month chronicling the incredible story of the mainframe.






Given its age, I guess it is understandable that some folks still
think of a mainframe as a behemoth that fills up cavernous rooms.
After all, it has been portrayed in movies time and time again in
ways not all that dissimilar to this wonderful time capsule:






title="us__en_us__ibm100__system_360 by ibmimpact, on Flickr">align="middle" alt="us__en_us__ibm100__system_360" height="282"
src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5117/14384277004_af60a0bc76_o.jpg"
width="500" />






Folks are captivated by the flashing lights and old reel tape
drives, and as the picture seems to indicate, you can’t have a
mainframe without being attached to a refrigerator-sized,
reel-to-reel, vacuum-assisted tape drive. It’s simply cinematic
magic!






Heritage

 

You would expect the Engines of Progress program to be
filled with testimonials from large institutions touting the things
that only the mainframe has been able to provide—and you’d be
right.






The 50-year-old platform hosts many of the long-lived applications
that touch us all—from airline reservation systems to credit card
processing and target="_blank">banking transaction systems. Our grandpas’
lives, and for that matter, all of our lives were changed forever
by the stodgy old mainframe. There are many reasons that the
mainframe is the platform of choice for these mission-critical
applications but I would probably sum it in a few key points. The
mainframe is:










  • Dependable. Software and hardware work together
    in highly available configurations to eliminate single points of
    failure. This can allow any individual components to fail and not
    impact applications.






  • Backwards compatible. Software written for the
    mainframe is supported for very long periods of time. In fact,
    there are many applications that run on today’s mainframe that were
    originally written decades ago.






  • Flexible. The platform can be configured into
    many smaller logical machines, called logical partitions or LPARs
    to create smaller, independent, isolated machines.






  • Secure. Security is paramount on the platform and
    it has sophisticated controls that isolate users from each other
    and their applications, which can also protect the system from
    malicious attacks from the outside world.






  • Scalable. The mainframe can scale up vertically
    by adding resources like processors to an existing mainframe and
    horizontally by adding more mainframes to form a cluster known as a
    “parallel sysplex.” target="_blank">On-demand capacity can be added at the “flick
    of a switch” to handle planned or unexpected peak workloads that
    can sometimes occur on events like Black Friday.









This is an incomplete list to be sure, but you might have already
had an idea that the mainframe can do these things. It is probably
true that if that were all the mainframe did, grandpa’s mainframe
would still be the most dominate commercial platform for complex href="http://bit.ly/1hKbGTV" target="_blank">systems of record
applications on the planet. Your grandpa’s mainframe has a
uniform, and it wears a suit and blue tie.






Green, open, modern

 

The target="_blank">mainframe of 2014 (IBM zEnterprise
EC12) doesn’t fill a room the size of a football field. Here is a
lovely image of a modern mainframe with her stealthy cover. Sexy,
isn’t she? She has definitely lost weight and hardly looks 50 years
old.






She is a green and mean processing machine, and she not
title="03Helix by ibmimpact, on Flickr">alt="03Helix" height="224"
src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2925/14405156413_1a5cc5fab9_o.jpg"
width="175" />
only speaks the language of your grandpa’s
mainframe but she has also grown with the Generation X and Y crowd
of programmers and understands their credo: openness.






What? The mainframe is open? Did you know one of the fastest
growing markets for new mainframe purchases is from href="http://bit.ly/1hBm2VA" target="_blank">customers running
nothing but Linux on them? Not only do the lucky programmers
get to leverage running Linux on the fastest processors in the
industry (href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_zEC12_%28microprocessor%29"
target="_blank">5.5gHz) but they also get to tie it to the href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_I/O"
target="_blank">most sophisticated input/output (I/O) subsystem
as well, and that leaves the processors free to do other work. This
means their Linux apps scream on the mainframe.






Many of the customers that run Linux on the mainframe leverage a
hypervisor called target="_blank">z/VM. Did you know that IBM has developed href="http://bit.ly/1hBmBPg" target="_blank">OpenStack adaptors to
z/VM? OpenStack adaptors allow modern cloud software to work
with resources on the mainframe just like any other platform.






And, did you know that young programmers worldwide are learning
the mainframe through innovative engagement programs like the “href="http://bit.ly/1pdcHWy" target="_blank">IBM Master the
Mainframe” contest? This was truly a worldwide affair with the
first, second and third place winners hailing from Taiwan, South
Africa and the United Kingdom respectively.






One last tickler just to pique your curiosity and maybe surprise
you: did you know that target="_blank">the mainframe can run Windows? Seriously. Today’k
s mainframe is truly a system of systems.






There certainly is much, much more material that could be said to
drive home the case, but I hope that it is at least clear to you
that today’s mainframe can not only wear your grandpa’s suit and
tie but also be right at home in recycled clothing and sandals—
bridging the gap between generations. It’s a true engine of
progress
.






What do you think about the evolution of the mainframe? Feel free
to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter href="https://twitter.com/StephenKinder"
target="_blank">@StephenKinder.




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