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?