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By Michael E Baskey,
IBM Distinguished Engineer & Chief Architect Systems Management Z.
If you’re like many mainframe IT professionals, you’ve heard about this phenomenon sweeping the industry called “Cloud." And, perhaps you thought,“Hey, we’ve always had cloud on the mainframe. We've been doing this for the last 20 years with virtualized operating systems!" Yet, when you take a closer look, the distributed platform has built on the mainframe model with three concepts that add extreme value: 1) self-service provisioning, 2) elastic scaling, and 3) a new life cycle element called DevOps that enables time-to-value of deployments from days to hours. And, distributed folks are not just virtualizing operating systems but quickly laying down complex applications using a plethora of software to make it happen amazingly fast while being easy to administrate. That last sentence is why I use a capital “C” when I speak of Cloud in today’s world.
There’s a lot of good news for the Z community. We too can reap the benefits of distributed Clouds without ever leaving our favorite Z platforms. We've had virtualization since the beginning of time, so we can also enrich our clouds with the same plus monitoring, change management, security, high availability, and more. Look around and the pieces are already there. Make sure to evaluate the vendors carefully (many can’t even spell "mainframe") and apply the same criteria that you do today to ensure you get the required qualities of service. It may be confusing to pull this together a la carte, so look for Cloud ready solutions and easy ways to get on-board the Cloud train with your Z platform quickly. Ironically, most of the software you need might already have entitlements for z/VM and Linux on System Z with the same interfaces. (Thank you distributed colleagues!) You can now build your road-map with System Z at the center of your Cloud.
Users have been realizing the value of hosting their Cloud workloads on z/VM and Linux on Z from the software license savings, smaller physical footprint, and greater scaling efficiencies from processors, heterogeneous images, and the reduced energy costs that Z offers. No distributed system can compete with Z in technology or license cost or when compared to the capabilities the Z platform provides when bundled with Cloud Ready Software (which is becoming Smarter all the time!). Common tooling means less operational skill is required, and it expands the influence of the mainframe on the overall corporate Cloud environment. And as we all know, when Cloud workloads need mission critical availability and/or security, the mainframe is the gold standard.
We're in the midst of a new era in the Z world. It’s truly a good time to be a mainframer again!