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IBM Announces First Linux-only Mainframes 218

Posted by Hemos
from the big-step-up dept.
A reader writes "The new Z-series mainframe for Linux, which costs $400,000 and is aimed at processing transactions at large businesses, is IBM's first mainframe computer sold without IBM's traditional z/OS mainframe operating system. More info at the IBM zSeries page" This is something that IBM and others of Big Iron vendors of *NIX have said - as Linux grows in maturity, they want to replace their *NIX with Linux. However, there's still work to be done in that area.
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IBM Announces First Linux-only Mainframes

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  • by blackcat++ (168398) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:06AM (#2900077)
    The link to the SourceForge Foundry is slightly broken. Correct link is here [sourceforge.net].
    • Strange, the "Linux on Large Systems Foundry" link doesn't seem to indicate any problems. Hemos, what work is still to be done? The fact that there is continuing development doesn't surprise me, but don't make it sounds like "Linux isn't ready for the mainframe". The only posting in the scalability forum is "asdfasdf".

      On the other hand, this looks like a great portal for Linux on mainframe users, with news and a 'library' of information/links on high-availability, parallel programming, shared memory, and SMP, among other topics.
  • url (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Try http://foundries.sourceforge.net/large/ [sourceforge.net]

    (Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs! Don't forget the http://!)
  • HOT SWAPPING!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maddog_Delphi97 (173780) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:06AM (#2900082)
    Does it support Hot Swapping?

    I would think hot swapping would be one feature truely worthy of a mainframe operating system... especially if you can all of the different possible parts of a mainframe and still keep all of your applications running 24/7.
    • Re:HOT SWAPPING!!! (Score:2, Informative)

      by rhost89 (522547)
      It does support hot swapping via IBM's channel paths. You can vary a channel on/offline and replace the offending piece of hardware. As far as disk drives go, they are all contained in a large DASD hot swapable raid controller (ours support about 4 TB of data at the moment)
    • Hot swapping is done already, not just on mainframes. After all, database servers/web servers often need 'high' reliablility.
      The newer sun kit (I'm thinking their V880) will support hot plug pci power and disks, the E10k will handle hot swap processors and mainboards.(which is why it costs a bit, and sun are willing to _guarantee_ a high availability - about 99.999% I believe)
      I believe an RS6000 will cope with this too.
      (The Starfire [sun.com] - getting close to a mainframe admittedly :))
      • Re:HOT SWAPPING!!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by ColdGrits (204506)
        You're out of date there :-)

        All of the new SunFire range (3800, 4800, 4810, 6800, 15000) have full hotswappability on PSU, disks, system controller boards, CPUs, memory, etc etc etc.

        The SF15,000 is the 106 CPU top-end system, while the SF3800 only goes up to 8 CPUs.

        Oh, and you can mix'n'match different speed CPUs in the same system too - useful for expansion in the future.

        Hope this helps!
  • Relative costs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    The article cites cost concerns, but how much does using a linux reduce the price of a $400,000 machine? (Cost of ownership may well go down, but I'm asking about purchase price.)
    • In the article they mention that one of the $400,000 servers can replace 'hundreds of servers' and that their $400k is comparable to an average mainframe cost of $750k.
      • Re:Relative costs? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PoiBoy (525770)
        Perhaps this is true, but $750k for a mainframe still doesn't buy much of anything. My understanding is that to purchase all the hardware for a new mainframe installation will set you back at least $5 million, not including on-going service contracts.

        I'm tempted to take this $400k figure with a huge grain of salt. I'm not sure that will get you much of anything except, perhaps, the main CPU box with one or two processors. I'd bet the total cost of installation is much higher.

        • So if you're spending $5 million for a mainframe installation you'll just piss away $350k on the mainframe? Money is money.

          Besides, as others are pointing out, the real savings is in consolidating scores of PC-based servers.
        • Still, it's not like they will reduce the code of the installation because they are saving money on the OS. They cut the price by $350K. In my mind, they could have not cut the price at all, so this is a great step. And $350K to a CFO is 7 people-years (maybe less, probably more). Even if the total bill is $5 million, if s/he knows you could have saved 7 people-years, s/he's going to wonder why you didn't.
      • Re:Relative costs? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 4of12 (97621)


        ...they mention that one of the $400,000 servers can replace 'hundreds of servers'

        Well, it better replace hundreds of servers, because you could theoretcially purchase hundreds of cheap rack-mounted boxes for a similar amount of money.

        It's got to pay off in a different way than providing equivalent computing horsepower to hundreds of PC servers.

        Is it in reduced hardware maintenance headaches, easier to manage than a crowd of servers?

        Is someone out there with experience in managing racks of PCs and mainframes for a while able to tell us how much of an incentive there is to use the mainframes instead of racks `o PCs?

        • by rasilon (18267) on Friday January 25, 2002 @12:20PM (#2900965) Homepage

          It's not the maintenance that is the problem, things like configuration management and data integrity are more important. If you have a hundred servers, then you have a hundred places to check that everything is in sync. If you are running a small shop with a dozen or so machines and one administrator then they can keep all the state in their heads. When you get up to hundreds then the state is larger than one person can easily cope with and you start having to communicate state to others. With hundreds of boxes, it is easy to overlook things, with fewer boxes, the communication is easier, and cheaper.


          The other thing is CPU residency. Lots of small boxes wastes CPU power because they tend to be devoted to one task and are only capable of that task. The problem is, they are so small that you can't add other tasks to them so you need a new box... Generally, CPU residency on small boxes runs about 10%, with mainframes, this can rise to 90%. Take two tasks - one runs during the day, one runs during the night. Conventional wisdom would allocate two small boxes, one per task wasting them for most or their life. Mainframe usage would run them both on the mainframe - this gives each process more power when they run and doesn't waste the box when they don't. Most traffic tends to be peaky but only for a short period of time so if the box is large enough to hold them both, you get a saving whilst still making all the tasks faster.


          Small boxes are good when you need maximum cycles per buck and the task is easily partitionable with minimal interprocess communication and the tasks are continuous. When the tasks are not easily partitionable, need lots of IPC or are peaky then larger boxes make sense.

          The thing to remember is that where the scale is large, you need to make use of that scale to get maximum performance. You don't see chemical plants using hundreds of small vats, they use a few really big ones. With these systems they are used at a scale where communications and simply keeping track of what is going on is a major exercise and hence a major expense.


          My Experience? Well - put it this way, the SunFire 6800 turned up a few weeks ago, the 4800 turns up on wednesday as part of a plan to replace a Tandem mainframe and they will be sitting next to quite a few racks holding Sun E3500s, E450s, E250s, t1s, HP netservers, IBM RS6000s and SGI Origin 2000s and indeed a MacOS server or twenty. A lot of our comms talk to Stratus mainframes and the machine room cooling plants are a more pressing problem than CPU speed.

          • Thanks for your insight!

            I guess I can see where power, cooling and perhaps space requirements could be less for the equivalent mainframe solution.

            I gather, then, that software solutions to make racks of PCs more manageable haven't made enough difference - that too much of the system administrator's tasks require "saving state" in his head, which can't scale beyond O(dozens) to O(100s)?

    • Re:Relative costs? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blackcat++ (168398)
      Well, the first part of cost savings are not Linux-specific. You just save a bundle :-) by not having to care for 20 different NT/Solaris/etc. servers, but only for one piece of hardware. Using Linux to run the multiple virtual servers saves licensing costs and enables you to hire one of the many Linux admins out there to set them up.
    • Re:Relative costs? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Geeky (90998)
      I don't think it's supposed to reduce the cost of a $400,000 machine, but allow that $400,000 machine to replace 50 $8000 machines.

      As for cost of ownership, does the lack of a mainframe OS mean the loss of abilities like being able to back up the entire machine (all the virtual Linux servers) at once? The big win of Linux on mainframe is central management of dozens of virtual servers, plus the fact that each server is completely independent.

      I was under the impression that the mainframe OS still played a role in managing the virtual machines. A Linux only mainframe would seem to imply a single system.
      • Re:Relative costs? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Snord (44479)
        From the article:

        Calling the new machines Linux-only is a bit of a stretch, of course, since the zSeries "Raptor" mainframes and the iSeries Model 820 servers will have z/VM and OS/400 installed on them (respectively) to act as partition managers.
    • Re:Relative costs? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Carl Drougge (222479)
      but how much does using a linux reduce the price of a $400,000 machine?

      I don't think it's supposed to. I think it's supposed to make maintaining a workabe OS for the mainframe cheaper for IBM.

    • Cost Justification (Score:3, Informative)

      by NeonSpirit (530024)
      Consulting Times has a article [consultingtimes.com] which gives a "real world" cost justification example.
    • Article here... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Juju (1688)
      Here is an article of a company switching it's infrastructure to Linux planning to ditch 70 netfinity servers as well as 500 NT servers in the process. The cost of the 500 NT servers only should cover that of the mainframe.

      But most their savings are due to improved scalability and easier maintenance (especially for disaster recovery).

      Read the article, all the arguments for the switch are there.
      Store chain is sold on Linux [ZDNET] [zdnet.com]

      • $400,000 / 500 = $800 per NT box

        Man, they are getting some cheap NT servers. No wonder that box can replace them all. ;)

        But seriously, can any network administrator who has had to administrate a large number of boxes of ANY OS say that they love doing it and would not like to only be able to administer one box?
    • The cost of the hardware is really only the tip of the iceberg when you are considering support costs. I work at one facility of a rather huge government operation. We have a number of S/390 machines which are being replaced by Sun servers based on the support cost per 'MIP' of the mainframes.
      If IBM can sell and support mainframes while significantly reducing the support costs, then mainframes can remain competitive cost-wise with Unix servers.
      Software support for the mainframes at our facilites runs in the millions per year, compared with tens of thousands (depending on size, application) for the Unix servers.

  • Licensing discount? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:13AM (#2900100) Homepage Journal

    (nb: The last IBM big-box I worked on was a first generation AS400 so this question may be dated)
    I recall licensing of IBM's OSs to be fairly expensive, have they cut prices at all to reflect the fact that a lot (the bulk?) of the vanilla Linux development happens outside IBM, therefore costing them nothing?
    • by bmongar (230600) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:22AM (#2900144)
      I recall licensing of IBM's OSs to be fairly expensive, have they cut prices at all to reflect the fact that a lot (the bulk?) of the vanilla Linux development happens outside IBM, therefore costing them nothing?
      Acording to the article the answer seems to be yes. They said the $400,000 linux box was about equal in power to a $750,000 mainfraim. So around $350,000 in OS savings.
  • More... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Marcus Brody (320463) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:13AM (#2900104) Homepage
    More coverage from the reg [theregister.co.uk]
    • A good quote from that article is:

      "IBM says that 11% of the mainframe processing power that was shipped in the fourth quarter of 2001 were dedicated to supporting Linux workloads. The impression that one gets from IBM is that if Linux had not been available, mainframe revenues would have declined. "

      .

  • by Tam-Lin (17972) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:20AM (#2900135)
    I'd just like to correct something here: they aren't replacing the previous zSeries operating system, they're adding another choice. Now you can choose between z/OS, z/VM, and Linux. While there is something called Unix System Services that run within z/OS, it's not a stand-alone operating system; it's rund under z/OS, not by itself.

    And with Linux, you do loose a lot of the RAS characteristics that z/OS provides, as well as 40 years of compatibility with existing workloads. Linux is being sold as something to run new workloads on, workloads that z/OS previously wouldn't have been considered for.
    • 24 inches of shelf space devoted to deciphering those amazing IBM diagnostic codes (and other signs of thought put into how the user's going to cope when things wander off the main path).

      I always used to sort of sneer at "undecipherable diagnostic codes" and the necessity to look them up. Now I long for the days of sufficiently detailed (RELEVANTLY detailed) diagnostics that I could understand and solve the problem without further futzing around.
    • Yep, and USS was, while UNIX '95 compliant, not what your average Unix admin would call 'Unix' when they used it. From PITA EBCDIC problems to lack of things like ftp (did come later tho).

      Your average unix sysadmin is willing to live with logfiles in a slightly non-standard place, and can accept that some OSs' have severe problems getting the erase char right, and has probably given up on getting lvms standardized between OSs' but he's not willing to live with a whole new world of imaginative new ways of being entirely different.

      USS felt like it'd been forked off from mainstream unix in the early to mid 80's, spent 15 years in a closet somewhere and then had a programmer with a unix 95 spec thrown in with it a year before release. Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike unix.
  • "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" has today been replaced with "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft." However, in the case of the IBM iServers and zServers, Linux is replacing a proprietary Unix, not a Microsoft OS.

    This is a step forward for Linux (although perhaps a smaller one that at first glance, because you already could get IBM servers with Linux--these are just the first Linux-only servers) but not a step backwards for Microsoft.

    That seems to be the trend now, anyway--remember when Amazon said they saved millions of dollars by using Linux? Those Linux systems replaced Unix systems, not Microsoft Windows systems.
    • A previous netcraft survey [theregister.co.uk] backs your claim up, this is a trend:


      Linux is the second most commonly used operating system. Linux has been consistently gaining share since this survey started, but, interestingly, not significantly to Windows detriment. Operating systems which have lost share have been Solaris and other proprietary operating systems, and to a small degree BSD.
    • Actually, neither z/OS or z/VM is a Unix. VM isn't even remotely Unixy (can't speak for z/OS since I've never used it). It's adding a Unix-like OS to a machine that never had one.
      • > Actually, neither z/OS or z/VM is a Unix. VM
        > isn't even remotely Unixy (can't speak for z/OS
        > since I've never used it). It's adding a Unix-
        > like OS to a machine that never had one.

        z/OS is the latest incarnation of IBM's traditional mainframe OS (OS/VS, MVS, OS/390, z/OS, what do we call it today?) It's even less Unixy than VM, being basically a batch-oriented system with time-sharing slathered on top with TSO and several optional transaction-processing software packages.

        Chris Mattern
      • can't speak for z/OS since I've never used it).

        I can, since there's a 3270 terminal right behind this browser window. You're correct in thinking it's nothing like Unix. I can't tell you what I'd give for basic utilities that I completely took for granted when I worked in Unixland.

        Perl, for instance. I know that there's an OS/390 port (same OS, different name) , but they look at me funny when I suggest installing it.
    • They did not replace a proprietary unix system. The zseries never ran AIX. Think S390 with a different name.

      IBM did/does a wonderful job with AIX; but there are some areas where Linux might be better suited. I think there is plenty of room for both to coexist.
  • by pigeon (909)
    I thought Z/OS was the meta OS on which all the VM's where runnning, eacht VM containing a Linux installation. How do they do the controlling of the different VM's? Does Linux for Z series have their own meta/VM controls?
    • Re:NO Z/OS? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:32AM (#2900191)
      No. z/VM is the 'meta-OS'. It's pretty much analagous to VMware in what it can do, in terms of hosting other OSs underneath it.

      z/OS is geared at high volume transaction, database, batch processing. it runs either z/VM or more typically natively or in an LPAR.

      An LPAR is a 'logical partition', a way of dividing a m/f up into several virtual machines.
      for now, these are static and implemented when a partition is 'booted' - IPL'd (initial program load) in m/f terms.

      VM on the other hand supports hundreds, even thousands of dynamically generated virutal machines. You can run VM inside an LPAR providing two levels of partitioning. I expect VM and LPAR technologies will converge at some future point.

      meanwhile everyhting can talk to each other over 'hipersockets' - memory to memory pipes that looks like a tcp/ip network to your software - blindingly fast
  • by rabalde (86868) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:23AM (#2900150) Homepage
    ZDNet [zdnet.com] have a recent story [zdnet.com] about a company called Boscov's Department Stores [boscovs.com] replacing a lot of NT machines with one IBM zSeries. From the article: "Boscov's, with 36 locations in six states in the mid-Atlantic region, scrapped its client/server architecture and is in the process of consolidating 70 IBM NetFinity 8500 and 500 servers running Windows NT 4.0, on a recently purchased IBM zSeries 900 mainframe running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7 as a virtual machine."
  • and haven't touched z/os at all ... but was it a 'nix?
    • We're not talking about AS/400's (the iSeries), but about the S/390's (the zSeries.) The AS/400 ran an operating-system called OS/400 which was some kind of Database-like operating system. The S/390 has seen quite a lot of different OS:es, MVS, OS/390 (now known as zOS) and some others. There is a Unix-version to be run on the S/390, but afaik not for the AS/400. The AS/400 is pretty special hardware, after all.

      • Yeah, I looked something up, and while the zSeries is evidently supposed to supplant the AS/400 (or at least one press release said so), it isn't an immediate replacement. I had been confused, I guess.

        Thanks :) I bask in the glow of your superior IBM minicomputer knowledge (bow).

        • Not quite - the zSeries is the new name for the S/390 mainframes.

          The 'midframe' AS/400 became the iSeries in the same renaming.

          zSeries and iSeries scratch different itches and don't, by and large, compete

          (Also the Netfinity x86 boxes became xSeries and the RS/6000 became pSeries)

          Cheers,
          Mark
      • Sorry for replying to myself, but it seems I forgot to answer your question... No, zOS is not a Unix. zOS is OS/390 for the z900 (which is the 64-bit version of the S/390.)

      • Current AS/400s use the same processor, memory, etc etc as RS6000s. It's not unique hardware anymore (But it's still fairly special!)

        AS/400's can run multiple Linux instances in LPARs.

        Guess what this links session is running on ;-)
  • No matter what you think of this and that IBM makes some killer stuff, the invented and locked down (and subsequently lost) the PC market, they have RULED the mainframe market for 30 years plus, and a fact many may not be aware, IBM has so much cash ammassed, it could cease all sales and continue to operate its current employee base for over 50 years.

    There is an OLD addage, noone ever got fired for buying IBM, it has held true for decades as well, Many others have tried and failed to compete with IBM in the mainframe market, BIG companies, that are alas no more, I am sure this is what will happen with HP/Compaq too, Burroughs , Honywell, where are they now ?????

    IBM has made some bbbbbaaaaaadddd choices in software on the desktop over the years, but will stick linux to the forefront, they are advertising the hell out of it and this is good, it gives managment a confidence in Linux that would be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to gain elsewhere.

    My sincere hope is that IBM contributes what it should to Linux as a whole. Big corporations can be stingy IBM is no exception, I just hope the people there dont think Linux developers will forever develop for their platforms with no return, I hope that they dont se the contributions of linux coders as a "bottomless well" , I dont think this will happen they have contributeed code to other projects, good code. Apache etc....

    GO BIG BLUE CRUSH THE MS INFADELS !

    I wonder what MS woulda said if Ibm came to them again and said , yeah we need and OS for this mainframe, (MS REPLY. Well we have the blah proccesor liscencing on Windows XP, it .....:)
    • IBM has made some bbbbbaaaaaadddd choices in software on the desktop over the years, but will stick linux to the forefront, they are advertising the hell out of it and this is good, it gives managment a confidence in Linux that would be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to gain elsewhere.

      They did not make a bad choice in developing OS/2. They just outdid themselves. The win 3.11 compatibility was probably part of the reason there was so little OS/2 native software available. Microsoft didn't develop for OS/2, and they already had the "standard" for office suites.

      OS/2 was (technologically) about 8 years ago where Linux wishes to be in the future. Only it wasn't open sourced and free.

      On a low-end pentium they made an OS that would rock your socks with voice recognition, stability and a kick-ass shell. Allegedly, OS/2 scales like a champ if you stick multiple processors in it.

      However, the market wasn't there. Why get a new OS to run windows? Now you'd need 2 os licences to run word!
    • 50 years without revenues?

      Cash 6.41 billion dollars.
      # of employees 316,303
      cash / employee = $20,265.38

      Sounds like the next 50 years might involve a little belt tightening, even with investments on the cash.

      Can IBM develop improve Linux? Yes

      Should IBM improve Linux? Probably a good business decision (and non-evil too)

      Will IBM improve Linux? IANAProphet, but I think the answer is yes.

      Will IBM kick back to the community? Mostly indirect effects. As Linux improves, Linux skills become more useful & popular. Of course, stockholders may see a more direct kickback.
      • As I said above it was mistated, not cash, but cash value assets.

        If you figure in interest on those amounts you will see as on average it is correct.

        I also didnt mean there would be a lot left after 50 years :)

        This at one time was actually a detailed finacial study done circa 1985 at that time it was longer...BUT ibm also had more long term high $ support contracts.

        IBM has been in a better cash position before, but the value of not only IBM is in its physical property but its IP as well, IBM is probably one of the largets companies in the world in that respect.
  • This is great news for the poor folk trying to convince their management to use Linux instead of another *nix or Windows NT/2K/whatever. This is also where Linux will stay for the time being, and maybe that's a good thing. When you look at what's required of a server versus a desktop (in terms of stability and performance) I would much rather have Linux prove itself in the server market and then move to the desktop. Think about Windows' Desktop->Server migration - we all know how messy that's turned out. Linux was rarely offered as an installed server option 5 years ago, and today it's replaced an enterprise level OS. My bet is on the same sort of track for the desktop market.

    -Dean
  • Will IBM be making any considerations to those companies who have a lot invested in AS/400's in helping them convert all of their in-house applications to Linux? Or is this going to be used to fill a separate niche?

    • Depends on how new AS/400's we're talking about, I think. The older AS/400's will never run Linux; no reasonable MMU. As for converting the applications, well, I'm pretty confident a lot of Linux-hackers would be happy to earn a living on turning old Cobol-code into C/Perl/Python/Befunge/[insert favourite language here]. I don't think IBM will do it, though.

  • by heroine (1220)
    Is the mainframe wireless? Is it handheld?
  • This is a great bit of news and may go towards making admin lives easier. Rather than have hundreds of intel boxes, like some of the biggest E-comm sites running ASP, JSP, PHP, or Perl, you can now reduce the amount of rack space you have to lease. Trying to manage 20 racks of 1U or 2U rack mount servers can be a pain with NT.

    Getting a z series does make some sense in cases where a company could consolidate hundreds of PC's into fewer z series mainframes.

  • Can it be... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spackler (223562) on Friday January 25, 2002 @09:51AM (#2900251) Journal
    Will this mean that IBM will finally replace OS/2 as the bootstrap and control server?
    Replacing that with Linux would be a nice start!

    For those that do not have the benifit of a 390 sitting behind them, it is very disconcerting to have that big black IBM monitor on top of it, because it is running OS/2 on a Celeron board inside the mainframe to control the whole show.
    • Re:Can it be... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Give me a break. Someone seems to mention this almost every time an article discussing IBM mainframes comes up. If you (gasp!) UNPLUG that OS/2-running laptop, watch what happens. Will your network collapse? Will the entire thing end in a bunch of flames?

      You'd be quite bored to notice that things keep running just like normal.

      The only purpose of the controller computer is to configure the mainframe, provide quick access to load information, etc. The mainframe is entirely self-reliant, and does not need the controller for normal operation. (It does communicate with the controller frequently during normal use, but none of that communication is mission-critical.) The sole time that the laptop is required in order for the mainframe to be even operational is to load the bootstrap, and for that purpose I could care less if the thing ran DOS.
    • ...it is very disconcerting to have that big black IBM monitor on top of it, because it is running OS/2 on a Celeron board inside the mainframe to control the whole show.

      Well, it's a very _stable_ variety of OS/2 (2.2, I believe) running the HCP (Host Control Processor in IBM-ese). All it does is configure I/O channels and memory to partitions, set up LPARS, etc. It's a configuration box like the notebook PC temporarily hooked up to a router to do configuration. (No one thinks twice that their router configuration notebook is running Win95 or suchlike.) Once the configuration is set, you IPL the mainframe and in most circumstances you could reboot the HCP and the mainframe wouldn't notice. However, on some very small mainframes (up to the size of the earlier Freeway machines), using onboard PC-class SCSI storage via I/O channel emulation was done through the HCP. Rebooting one of _those_ HCPs after IPL would ruin your day.
  • This is something that IBM and others of Big Iron vendors of *NIX have said - as Linux grows in maturity, they want to replace their *NIX with Linux.

    Have IBM and other big iron vendors actually said this? Of course the linux community speculates about it, and there are good arguments both for and against it, but I am not aware of any official IBM or other source saying "we're phasing out this OS in favor of Linux."

  • Is that wise? (Score:2, Informative)

    by LiquidPC (306414)
    Not to sound like flamebait, but there have been alot of issues with 2.4 lately, it doesnt really seem stable enough that i'd put it on my mainframe, theoretically speaking. Problems range from fs corruption to sync() bugs, etc. Sure, its a nice desktop OS but I don't think it's ready for the mainframes.
    • but there have been alot of issues with 2.4 lately, it doesnt really seem stable enough that i'd put it on my mainframe

      I took my Linux on zSeries class a month ago where we all got our own virtual machines. We ran SuSE and TurboLinux and they were still on 2.2 kernels. You really don't have to "rush" into 2.4. Plenty of apps still run on 2.2.
  • by PeterMiller (27216) on Friday January 25, 2002 @10:27AM (#2900396)
    I have been working in the mainframe world for a few years now, and one thing you have to understand about mainframe operations, is that since it's conception the #1 priority is UPTIME. Speed was number 8 or 9.

    Only recently (last 7 years) has speed been a considiration, and that was thanks to the PC revolution. But again, you were alwsys dealing with two camps: Mainframe guys, and PC guys.

    So all this means is that there is another choice for people who want the " 5 9's",the holy grail of computing, and not Windows, Unix or any other platform other than the mainframe can deliver that.
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Friday January 25, 2002 @10:32AM (#2900419)
    (Shot of IBM's new server standing alone in a server room)

    ANNOUNCER: "If you think we're overcompensating for something with our really, really big mainframe running linux..."(Cut to shot of a dozen small servers being carted off) "...You're absolutely right."
    • I like the current commercial with the basketball players.

      I know that it doesn't highlight linux so much, but it's nice to see linux dunk the ball once.

      I love the part where the 'middleware' character doesn't get any fan mail. No one wants his autograph.... hilarious. Even my computer-stupid girlfriend loves it.

      Whoever does those IBM commercials is a genius.

      My vote for the Super Bowl:

      ANNOUNCER: "Now, All Your Base Are Belong To US!"
      [shows a zSeries]
      "Imagine a beowulf cluster... of these babies!"

  • Christ, do you blame them? They get a maturing OS, that is widely accepted and supported for free from the best hackers. Why would they want to go forward with an OS many see as outdated and expensive?

    I don't mean that as a negative, btw, its just good business sense. Every server I own is IBM (small stuff). Now I have more reason to keep it that way. I am NOT a programmer or kernel hacker, but even I can see the advantages for the switch.

  • by supabeast! (84658)
    Can you even build a beowulf cluster of these?
  • That's funny... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Archie Steel (539670)
    ...we don't see too many Anonymous Cowards claiming that Linux is a "toy" operating system in this particular discussion.

    I guess 400k$ is a little expensive for a toy!
  • Lots o' programmers out there waiting for GNOBOL
  • Though I'm waiting for HIPERSOCKETS which would allow me to afford better use of OSA.

    Is WLM support working yet?

    Have they licked the scheduler problem yet? That was an inherent problem of the Linux kernel expecting to be the only OS instance on the hardware and constantly grabbing the clock to do more or less nothing.

    Next stop - Checkpoint firewall code on a Linux instance on the mainframe and goodbye to that gated-ipchains crap.
    • Though I'm waiting for HIPERSOCKETS which would allow me to afford better use of OSA.

      We didn't cover it's use in class back in December, but the instructor definitely answered an attendee's similar request with "yes, it works now." The conversation quickly went way over my head with mainframe stuff, but the gist of it was that you can setup 4 HIPERSOCKETS and create virtual LANs behind the HIPERSOCKETS.

      On the last day, we watched the instructor install z/OS on the and create some Linux guests. He showed us where in the configuration files to setup the HIPERSOCKETS. So yes.. it works now, don't ask me how! :)
  • Datacenter in a box (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ehiris (214677) on Friday January 25, 2002 @11:57AM (#2900830) Homepage
    My company purchased one for web hosting

    The system uses VM as a base but has multiple instances of SuSE running. It is able to run up to 10000 instances of Linux which makes it a data center in a box.

    There is no bus and the communication between the processor banks, memory, ... are switched.

    First time I've seen it my eyes jumped out of the sockets.

    Good Job IBM :)
  • The big vendors (including IBM) never said that they wanted to replace their proprietary unix systems with linux. IBM said (in a very marketingish type of way) that if Linux could do all the things AIX did, they would consider it.

    In addition, AIX never ran on the zseries computers. So it has nothing to do with a mainframe running linux. The two are separate issues.

    This is good news for Linux; but its not accurate to say that it has anything to do with linux displacing AIX, or any other unix.
  • http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/zseries/900op en.html

    Check out this page for a laugh... IBM says that their new servers will let you run 31 bit applications!

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