Security, Middleware, Appliances
RSalz 2700011QK0 1,415 Visits
As far as I know, I made this up.
Q: How do IBM'ers first introduce themselves?
A: Hi, who joined?
Those who don't get it might want to look at this video (which is much funnier than my joke): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbJAJEtNUX0
RSalz 2700011QK0 1,831 Visits
RSalz 2700011QK0 424 Visits
The IBM mainframe is all about virtualization. Heck, IBM invented it pretty much around the same time that Linus was born. Neat coincidence.
An IT appliance is a system optimized and purposed for a specific set of tasks.
We can build software-only virtual appliances that have the same user experience as the purpose-built hardware version (i.e., IBM WebSphere DataPower CastIron XH35). In both cases, all the "overhead" parts are either ignored, such as network and DNS configuration, or abstracted away from user control, such as disk partition and RAID stuff.
Seems to me like we should be able to take these three threads, and start to build workload-oriented appliances for the mainframe. For example, if you want an MQ-based CICS application behind a load balancer, it should be fairly straightforward to bring up a virtual partition that provides that, and looks and feels like an appliance. If you need more tuning, go to the advanced screen.
So why can't z look like a whole bunch of specialized appliances tuned for various workloads? Why can't the new face of zEnterprise be an appliance one?
Disclaimer: What I know about the mainframe can fit on the head of a pin; heck, I can barely spell
RSalz 2700011QK0 517 Visits
Last July, IBM announced zEnterprise. You can download a free technical guide that is around 400 pages. It includes a BladeCenter expansion unit, which allows you to put a mixture of general-purpose processors (e.g., x86 blade running some kind of *nix like system), as well as specific-purposes accelerators, such as the DataPower XI50 accelerator which we just announced.
IBM's a huge place, and I don't feel comfortable saying "we announced" for thinks like zEnterprise, but I do say it for smaller projects in which I was intimately involved. That's a bit important to keep in mind, because when I speculate about some of the things that zEnterprise could do, keep in mind that it really is just my guesses.
Z is all about workload -- the kind of processing you're doing -- and keeping it flowing through the system with no disruption or downtime. zEnterprise seems like it could bring the promise of that infrastructure to all sorts of systems. Like, imagine some Redmond Server on x86 blades, with Z style failover, load management, and so on. Might make that system reliable enough for enterprise use. :) Or truly "unbreakable" x86 Solaris. :)