You too can own your own Mainframe with Linux running on it...

IBM has announce that you can get a Mainframe capable of running Linux for a mere $200,000.  That's right you can get all the stability, reliability, and green screens you have grown up with or at least heard about and Linux.  This story from Network World does a nice job of explaining what they are trying to do.  You still need some Mainframe expertise and skills though.  This is because it's running on an Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processor.  These are managed by z/VM as is most if not all of the management of the hardware on the machine.  So to make them work you will need at least one Mainframe Admin and one Linux Admin.  Then there is the quoted numbers of VM's you can run on this $200,000 beauty.  That's right you can run up to 50 Virtual Machines on a single machine.  If you are coming from a hardware world this might sound cost effective.  Against normal hardware you might make the justification.  Compare this with almost any X-Series Visualization solution that would support 50 VM's will come in at a price around $30,000 to $50,000.  Make that completely redundant, to make what you would get with X-Series match Z-Series hardware, and you have a cost of about one third to one half of this new Mainframe.  From the tests I have been a part of the performance was really not all that different.  There is a lot of variability with any Virtualization Technology so your mileage may vary.  Unless it is considerably fast I am not sure how you are going to justify the costs and would need to make the sale on the stability of the platform.  Even that, in my opinion, is going to be extremely difficult.


So do you see your company buying a Mainframe strictly to run Linux on?

Brian Wagner

Brian started working with *nix in while a student at Kent State University in the early 90's. In 1995, as an E-Mail Administrator for Caliber Technology (now part of Fedex) he was tasked with administering Sendmail on both Slackware Linux and Solaris Systems. His first home install of Linux was MkLinux DR1 in 1996 on his 60 Mhz PowerMac. Since then Brian has been working and consulting on Linux and it's uses in the Enterprise to support everything from E-Mail, Firewalls, Web and File serving to custom cluster solutions and grid solutions. Brian has had the opportunity to work in both Fortune 500 companies and small 2 person organizations. This has given him the unique insight into the differences every size business faces.