Enterprise Class Innovation: System z Perspectives
I had a conversation this morning with a longtime consultant who has worked with 'the mainframe' since at least the 60s and is heavily involved in both SHARE and CMG. We found ourselves shaking their heads at the durability of perceptions would suggest, in spite of overwhelming and increasing evidence, that the System z platform is far and away the most cost-effective platform in the world.
One nice recent example of continuing evidence comes from The Clipper Group, and their newsletter, The Clipper Group Navigator (April 23, 2009), which talks about how well System z fits into upcoming Cloud strategies.
This was on the heels of a session I attended that talked again about consolidation efforts. These results showed energy savings of 80%, space savings of 85%, software savings of 35%, and labor savings of 54% -- while reminding us that average servers utilization leave 85% of their capabilities unused.
Next, I took a look at the recent announcement letter, which previewed z/VM V6.1 (letter 209-207). Besides a raft of improvements related to storage, networking, and Linux enablement, my eyes perked up (while I was reading not listening), when I saw this:
Running more Linux server images on a single System z server:Considerably more images than are currently supported by the LPAR modeof operation (up to 60 on z10 EC and z10 BC) may be supported with z/VMguest support. These Linux on System z server images can be deployed onstandard processors (CPs) or IFL processors. Running multiple Linuximages on an IFL-configured z/VM system may not increase the IBMsoftware charges of your existing System z environment. Clients runningz/OS, z/VM, TPF, z/TPF, z/VSE, or Linux on System z can add z/VM V6.1on IFL processors to their environments without increasing IBM softwarecosts on the standard processors (CPs).
Then, at the end, there is a statement of General Direction that talks about a z//VM Single System Image whose intent is to allow all z/VM member systems to be managed as one system, across which workloads can be deployed. There is also something called z/VM Live Guest Relocation, aimed at moving a running Linux virtual machine from one single system image member to another.
Wow, way to move the hypervisor along!
It is easy to think of System z as just the hardware, or focus on the z/OS operating system and forget about the 40 year contribution that VM has made in virtualization; especially over the last few years with consolidating Linux systems.
With each additional step of on demand capabilities, the numbers for total cost of operations improve and the picture of how all these new 'clouds' can actually start to form becomes clearer.
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Have you been reading, google-ing, listening to podcasts on ‘The Cloud’? (Not The Blob, that was a 1958 movie with Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut and Jane Martin. )
I’ve decided not to rush to understanding this still forming next wave and am starting to see a set of cloudy parameters for watching the waves we will all be riding for the next decade or two…Besides the obvious cost savings public and private clouds promise, here are some patterns I see evolving: (what do you see??)
Immenseness & Immediacy: This cloud is so big, our brains may have trouble understanding the associated scale.and orders of magnitude. Mainframes were a big deal with thousands of green screen terminals, then distributed computing brought applications to millions of new users, and the Internet now connects billions of people, sites, and programs. But you haven’t seen anything yet.
New intelligent units are getting connected into networks that generate connection points or interactions that go way beyond a billion to a trillion (10 to the 12th )to .. well…. who knows, really big numbers like Nonillion (10 to the 30th).
There are devices everywhere that are joining up. We add new intelligent devices; like phones, cars, refrigerators, game stations, stoplights, valves, pacemakers, cement mixers, cameras, bottles and dog collars. Sensors, RFID tags, intelligent end- points, input devices and computing nodes all join the mix. You don’t churn your own butter, you don’t have to walk to the corner to place a phone call, and as anyone with a smartphone can tell you, you don’t need a computer to work with applications.
Incredibleness & Industrialization: We are only beginning to see the industrialization (standardization, automation, virtualization) of information technology. (Start a sound track in your head; say, a Carl Stalling score in a Warner Bros cartoon where they are stamping something out in a factory!) Just as each generation of Tool & Die makers create templates for more amazing creations, the adolescent IT world is growing up, reaching past the apprentice stage, and creating its own master works.
Besides the visible advances of putting computers in nearly everyone's hands, or the important connections between individuals across social software, major advances in technology, infrastructure and services science have been building in places like IBM Research and Development enabling startling and incredible announcements such as financial trading systems with 20+ fold improvements, inline analytics (system s) with microsecond response times for the study of Space Weather or new, complex Neonatal monitoring.
Immersion & Intensity: We will all be interacting with more of our senses (think Second Life and gaming), different devices, and on new scales. When you smash things together in new ways you can end up with wonderfully creative results or horrible tasting desserts. Fortunately, enterprise sytems has been playing with the pieces (many of which we have invented) for a while now. (Think AP, MP, parallel sysplex, VM, GDPS, WLM...)[Read More]