Lately concepts like SOA, consolidation, green computing and cloud computing has been the buzzwords in every CIO’s dream and every technicians nightmares, except mine. In my dreams I see datacenters filled with mainframes and I’m pretty sure that’s not what the CIO’s are dreaming about, then it would be called a nightmare. Before we continue on this subject I have to state that I’m a Linux/UNIX consultant, female and not 60+ years old, just to avoid future confusion…
In the dark, behind the headlines of death sentence after death sentence for the mainframe, companies like IBM, HP and Unisys has been working on bringing the mainframe back on the market. We all know that mainframes are huge, power hungry, complex and most of all OLD, but that’s not true. Mainframes are 1500 virtual servers in the same space where you can fit three racks with 126 1U servers, unless you get heat problems. Reduced heat means less cooling for the same amount of servers in the datacenter and together with a focus on power saving mainframes becomes the ultimate choice when it comes to green computing.
Some of the features IBM has been focusing on is new technologies for partitioning, virtualization and smart solutions for load balancing inside the mainframe. Most companies that are already using mainframe invest in more mainframes and are consolidating their Linux systems inside the mainframe. IBM mainframes seems to get their way back to the market with a growth of mainframes world wide with 30.7%, and the latest model IBM System Z10, released in the beginning of this year, has led to a growth of mainframes in Europe with 58%.
With all due respect, mainframes are stable and just as made for cloud computing, but who’s going to operate them? The amount of System Administrators that are familiar with mainframes and applications running on them is barely enough for what’s needed at this point. Same story goes for System Developers that are familiar with languages like Cobol and RPG. My hope is that this lack of competence won’t impede use of mainframes and that more people will see their possibilities for virtualization and cloud computing.