Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud

Microservices Expo: Article

IBM Reinvents the Mainframe

The system will reportedly be announced in New York in mid to late July

So IBM has reinvented the mainframe, apparently reducing the behemoth to a blade.

Sources say it's ported its precious z/OS to a newfangled 5.2GHz quad-core z processor with two times the cache of the old z10 chip and a hundred new instructions, built a new z196 system round it, stuck it in a chassis, otherwise called a cage, added a BladeCenter Extension - Power7 blades that'll run AIX and x86 blades running Linux - thrown in a Unified Resource Manager and has the whole lot sharing memory and disk space.

It has, they say, achieved its fondly held dream of a converged architecture. And this, as they also say, is a very big deal.

If it wasn't for all that trouble with the regulators, one might conjecture that IBM's trying to make mainframe iron relevant to a new generation of IT people. It's clearly chasing new customers, new workloads and the cloud.

IBM has been briefing its nearest and dearest followers for days under NDA about every conceivable nuance of the box called - for the moment at least -either the zNext System or the zEnterprise System and it has a clutch of the things out with large accounts.

The system will reportedly be announced in New York in mid to late July (July 22's looking likely) with so-called pre-ships going out immediately and launch in volume this fall, probably in September.

It's supposed to cost a third less than what IBM usually charges for mainframes but the pricing picture is probably more complicated than that.

The whispers say zNext will run all the z/OS widgetry back to goodness knows when and OS/400 on Power7 blades by the end of the year. Throw in AIX, Linux and maybe Windows and that's why it's also called a "system of systems."

It brings to mind the Platform Solutions (PSI) box that IBM bought so it could yank it off the market. The PSI machine ran Windows, Linux, Unix, Open VMS and z/OS on Itanium chips way cheaper than IBM could on its mainframes. That's why IBM smothered the thing in its cradle.

Now Blue has IBM-ized the concept and gone PSI one better. In zNext, which appears to involve single-function appliances too, the environments are integrated. The multi-OS resources are supposed to function as a single, logical, virtualized system.

Applications run on the zExtensions will bask in the reflected glow of the mainframe's qualities of service.

Likely to be advertised as a great leap in virtualization, IBM will play it as ideal cloud infrastructure.

Reportedly the shared virtualization IBM is using is Red Hat's very own KVM.

The Duquesne Group thinks this "consolidation of platform under the zSeries roof" puts IBM squarely on the road to a "data center in a box" managed by a new species of hypervisor or "control hyperprocessor."

Among other things, the widgetry may distract customers toying with using Neon's zPrime software to lower their workload bills. At a guess it looks like virtual servers could ultimately replace the ZiiP and ZaaP specialty processors Neon is currently exploiting in a threat to IBM's revenue stream.

Reading off an IBM PowerPoint, zNext or zFuture is supposed to "reduce cost, reduce risk and improve service," and be positioned as being easier on power consumption, utilization, resource management, communication, RAS and of course elasticity.

IBM is reportedly throwing all its software into the mix. Users should prepare for a deluge.

All this automation is going to cost jobs but of course IT companies never say it that way. IBM's got all sorts of "value" statistics.

The modernization move will reportedly change the outsourcing equation.

It will also put companies like CA and BMC that have always depended on the old mainframe for much of their revenues in a pretty pickle. Sources say the zNext or whatever IBM ultimately deems to call it won't need their scheduling, security, disk management and systems management software.

Maybe that's why CA, for one, has realigned into two new organizations: a Customer Solutions Group and a Technology and Development Group. The Customer Solutions Group, headed by newly recruited ex-Corel CEO David Dobson, includes five customer solutions units, each a strategic business unit responsible for its own P&L. The self-explanatory Technology and Development Group will be headed Ajei Gopal. If IBM gossip is right Dobson used to be CA CEO Bill McCracken's boss back in their Blue days.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...