The Software Mainframe

SiliconANGLE.TV had IBM’s CTO Jeffrey Frey on theCube during IBM’s InterConnect2015 conference. Host John Furrier referenced a comment by former VMware CEO Paul Moritz from 2009. Moritz stated the goal of VMware was to create a software mainframe. EMC may have questioned Moritz’ capability to lead VMware into its next stage of growth, but I have always respected his technical vision. The software mainframe is a goal that has value for the high end of the enterprise compute market.

It’s not just IBM’s Z/13 which was the primary discussion point of the SiliconANGLE interview that validates this vision. Major X86 vendors Cisco and HP have also been pushing “big iron” type systems to attract the high end of the data center. Both Cisco and HP have been heavily marketing partnerships with Redhat in providing platforms to run mission critical workloads. HP has been pushing their new x86 based Superdome, while Cisco has been hawking its UCS platform as a landing zone for mission critical systems.

RISC and Itanium-based systems have been the target for x86 hardware and software vendors for some time. These systems are marketed as highly available platforms to support mission-critical systems. The traditional virtualization and commodity hardware argument doesn’t go far for these workloads. Customers that continue to invest in RISC/I64 platforms are much more concerned about uptime and performance vs. operational costs. If downtime is measured in millions of dollars vs. hours, then the cost of hardware and software is relative.

While the interview focuses on IBM Mainframe technology, it’s a great introduction to the needs of mission critical application for those unfamiliar with these environments.


Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

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