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.