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IBM's Newest Mainframe Is All Linux 251

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-great-taste dept.
dcblogs writes "IBM has released a new mainframe server that doesn't include its z/OS operating system. This Enterprise Linux Server line supports Red Hat or Suse. The system is packaged with mainframe management and virtualization tools. The minimum processor configuration uses two specialty mainframe processors designed for Linux. IBM wants to go after large multicore x86 Linux servers and believes the $212,000 entry price can do it."
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IBM's Newest Mainframe Is All Linux

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  • I guess... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mhajicek (1582795) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:31PM (#30384278)
    I guess they need a blue penguin.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lsllll (830002)
      This is all okay with me, as long as they don't use JCL. Ayyy I hated that shit when learning assembler on the 360, but then again they never thought JCL and didn't have any books on it, which is probably why I hated it.
      • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:07PM (#30384504) Journal

        This is all okay with me, as long as they don't use JCL. Ayyy I hated that shit when learning assembler on the 360, but then again they never thought JCL and didn't have any books on it, which is probably why I hated it.

        IEBGENR! CORGZ! (runs after IsIIII shouting DASD Acronyms). RACF!!

        Ok, ok, it's your lawn.

        • by tftp (111690)
          The FORTRAN teacher gave us JCL statements as black magic, to be used as directed, without changes. Later I found books and learned all that there is worth knowing. DD rules :-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TempestRose (1187397)
        Hmm, IBM Publication GX20-1850-7 would help a little for the 370. ( Or the latest revision.... ) There must be a similar reference for the 360, no?
      • You didn't see the IBM JCL manual????? You poor so and so.... your whole brain must have been all like

        //SYSIN DD DUMMY
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        What's the alternative to JCL?

        JCL is like a 60 year old prostitute; it may not be pretty, but it gets the job done flawlessly.

      • I hated that shit when learning assembler on the 360, but then again they never thought JCL and didn't have any books on it, which is probably why I hated it

        I have all the information I could ever need, right on my desktop [imgur.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by baegucb (18706)

        JCL is easy. There are only what, 6 possible statements, and variations on them. And Gary Brown's JCL book has been around since at least the mid-70s iirc. http://www.amazon.com/zOS-JCL-Gary-DeWard-Brown/dp/0471236357 [amazon.com]

    • by ShinmaWa (449201)

      Actually, IBM has had a blue penguin for a long time. (Okay, the tux is blue at least)

      http://ifup.org/images/tux-genetic.png [ifup.org]

    • by gbarules2999 (1440265) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:31PM (#30384656)
      I'm a PC, and Fedora 12 was my idea.
      • I see those Windows commercials, and I just want to say "Well I'm Ken Thompson, and UNIX was my idea."

        • I see those, and wonder how Microsoft managed to survive for three decades before it discovered that listening to what your customers ask for is a good idea.
    • by rdebath (884132)

      No need to be sad, here have this nice big blue tie instead.

  • by Wingman 5 (551897) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:36PM (#30384304)
    ...Linux on the mainframe!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:49PM (#30384384)

    $212 sounds like a reasonable price for an x86 Linux server, at least as an entry level.

    Just one question: What's a "000 entry price"?

  • by ewg (158266) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:54PM (#30384418)
    At $212,000, a great stocking-stuffer for the kernel hacker who has everything.
  • Mainframe or Server? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:55PM (#30384424)

    "IBM has released a new mainframe server that doesn't include its z/OS operating system. This Enterprise Linux Server line supports Red Hat or Suse."

    There is a big difference between a mainframe and a high-end server. Why would someone buy a mainframe if they didn't need the reliability and special features of a mainframe? Aren't these really the selling points of the Z-series over the P-series, for example? Usually the P-series and I-series systems are also touted for virtualization, and tend to be less expensive. Can someone distinguish the big difference between these lines now? Traditionally, from what I remember, P-series was AIX, I-Series was AS/400, and Z-series was z/OS and other mainframe OS's. Of course, IBM has been offering Linux on all of them for quite awhile now.

    • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:00PM (#30384466) Journal

      Correct:
        pSeries is the new name for the previous RS/6000 AIX boxes,
        iSeries is the new name for the previous AS/400 boxes that ran OS/400,
        and zSeries is the new name for the previous mainframe line.

      the p and i boxes now run pretty much the same hardware, and both have supported Linux for some time. The iSeries has excellent virtual machine support (called "partitioning" in iSeries parlance) and can run Linux instances natively or on an installed Intel-class processor board that shares system memory and disk (DASD).

      As to why you might want to run Linux on mainframe-class hardware, reliability and scalability come to mind.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by the_womble (580291)

        The fact that so many people make sense of the new names by thinking of them in terms of the old suggests that this was not a great piece of branding. Why did anyone think "we have three distinct product lines with different features and strong brand images within our market, so lets give them all new names, all three of which are nearly the same"

        • Probably an effort to gain new customers who did not already have experience with IBM products. "iSeries" sounds a lot more inviting than "AS/400" when you are presenting to a bunch of managers.
        • It's IBM legacy kit. There are no new customers for AS/400 hardware, so confusing them doesn't matter. Plus, IBM's various divisions are in different cities, and don't play together well. AS/400 = Minnesota, Intel = Raleigh, Mainframe = NY

      • RS/6000? Ah, the memories. Boy they were a pain to get up and running.
      • sed 's/\(.\)Series/System \1/g' <<EOF

        Correct:
        pSeries is the new name for the previous RS/6000 AIX boxes,

        iSeries is the new name for the previous AS/400 boxes that ran OS/400,

        and zSeries is the new name for the previous mainframe line.

        the p and i boxes now run pretty much the same hardware, and both have supported Linux for some time. The iSeries has excellent virtual machine support (called "partitioning" in iSeries parlance) and can run Linux instances natively or on an installed Intel-class processor board that shares system memory and disk (DASD).

        As to why you might want to run Linux on mainframe-class hardware, reliability and scalability come to mind.

        EOF

        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Actually, the name keeps changing. Since the iSeries became the System i, it's changed to the i5, and is now simply called "i".

          But most of us who still use and love 'em still call 'em the AS/400. Even the enthusiasts have given up trying to keep up with IBM's marketing division.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I thought phasing out the other OSes in favour of Linux was IBM's long term plan? Something about allowing their customers to target a single OS and letting them mix and match (IBM's) hardware.
      • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:26PM (#30384614) Journal
        I think in the future it may be easier to find people who know Linux than people who know IBM proprietary mainframe operating systems. The code base will end up larger. IBM's mainframe hardware is definitely more a high-spec, high-reliability set of choices than the server base you'll typically see in your smaller DC's. But if they want their high-end hardware presence to continue to grow, they'll need people to drive them. And of course, people in universities are absolutely flocking to zOS classes aren't they? Umm... right, they're not. Linux makes sense.
        • Are there Linux classes in Universities? CS students may use Linux extensively but they hardly have classes on particular OSes. They do usually have at least one Operating Systems class where they study the theory of OS design and may implement parts of an OS or an entire basic OS depending on the lab schedule. That said, I bet the number of undergrad students studying CS intensive majors in the USA who have used zOS at all outside of work experience is countable, while most of them have probably used Linux
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            Not sure about Linux, but I had a module on C and UNIX as an undergrad. It had four lectures on the UNIX shell and process model and the rest was on C. The course wasn't really enough for anyone who didn't use *NIX on their own time to become proficient.
  • by kregg (1619907) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:05PM (#30384494)
    What screensavers come with it, can I add my own?
    • by Randwulf (997659) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:17PM (#30384558)
      I hear there are some great ones on Gnome-Look.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ChipMonk (711367)
      Just make sure you don't get them from gnome-look.org. If you do, go over the source with a fine-tooth comb first.

      I'd rather run Folding@Home, SETI@Home, and GIMPS in the background.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        Unless of course they charge for processor usage like they do generally do on their mainframes ...
    • by Degrees (220395) <degrees@sbLAPLAC ... t minus math_god> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:37AM (#30384974) Homepage Journal

      So I was installing SuSE on our new z/OS mainframe (to a virtual machine guest to be specific), and the list of packages being installed was scrolling by: gstreamer.s390

      And I'm thinking to myself "who, on God's Green Earth, had the job of porting audio to an EBCDIC based mainframe?" Talk about bizarro world....

      But then I thought sure, it may not be used much; but when it does, it could launch 3,840 streams at 130 decibel. It's a Beowulf cluster of Rick Astley in a single box! And THAT is all worth it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by kregg (1619907)
        I don't mind contributing my PC resources to that, RickAstley@Home anyone?
      • And why would EBCDIC make audio any harder to implement than on an ASCII or UNICODE based OS/machine?
        • by rve (4436)

          And why would EBCDIC make audio any harder to implement than on an ASCII or UNICODE based OS/machine?

          Because audio files usually come in a human readable, XML based format, of course.

          Is your Phil Collins greatest hits collection sounding a bit like a German industrial band? Probably chose the wrong code page for the conversion!

        • EBCDIC (Score:2, Informative)

          by aixylinux (1287566)

          The System z hardware is no more EBCDIC than you are. z/Linux uses ASCII for messages, commands, and utilities, just as z/OS uses EBCDIC. The z/Linux choices include ports of RedHat and Suse. The port does not include translating these to EBCDIC.

          Now, the old native Unix for z/OS, Unix System Services, *was* an EBCDIC Unix. Nothing ever said Unix had to be based on ASCII. Porting programs to USS was a challenge because too many programs made assumptions about the binary value of characters. Usually the

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:17PM (#30384550) Homepage

    but but but, will it run Windows?

  • Grammar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SupplyMission (1005737) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:17PM (#30384554)

    "Its minimum processor configuration are two specialty mainframe processors designed for Linux."

    What the fuck kind of grammar is that?

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Poor?
      Bad?
      Modern?

      • Post-modern? It's modern, for slashdot posts!
    • by evanbd (210358)
      The kind slashdot editors like?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Alegery (1018890)
      Postfix.
    • by unitron (5733)

      Never mind the grammar (I can hardly believe that I'm saying that), I thought that operating systems were designed to work with the processor(s). When did it get to be the other way around?

      • Re:Grammar (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tftp (111690) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:21AM (#30384902) Homepage

        I thought that operating systems were designed to work with the processor(s). When did it get to be the other way around?

        When it became easier to design a new processor than to design a new OS (and port all apps onto it.)

      • Re:Grammar (Score:5, Informative)

        by SEE (7681) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:49AM (#30385040) Homepage

        Never mind the grammar (I can hardly believe that I'm saying that), I thought that operating systems were designed to work with the processor(s). When did it get to be the other way around?

        Lots of apps for IBM mainframes are per-processor licensed. This caused a problem for IBM in trying to sell mainframes to run hybrid workloads; the customer would say, "But those extra processors to run Apache on Linux are costing me money in licensing fees on my mainframe apps. It's cheaper for me to buy a smaller mainframe and a bunch of PCs."

        So IBM put together a bunch of processors, hardware-identical with normal mainframe processors, but including extra microcode that limits them to running Java/XML (z Application Assist Processor) or Linux (the Integrated Facility for Linux). These units don't count as processors for purposes of licensing mainframe apps, since they can't run mainframe apps.

        • by Nursie (632944)

          Until recently when some wise-ass startup figured out a way to make them general purpose again!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        I thought that operating systems were designed to work with the processor(s). When did it get to be the other way around?

        Around 1970. A lot of minicomputer and mainframe architectures were designed after the initial work was done on the operating system. The OS was designed, then the requirements for the system architecture were extracted from that. Operating systems like MULTICS, VM/360, and VMS had architectures designed to support them, rather than the other way around.

  • Question is: Where can I find them? I wonder how MythTV with trans-coding shows and all the rest would run on them. Any ideas on where to find old p- or z- series mainframes?

    • by Suicyco (88284)

      I'd rather hack a gibson. Oh yeah baby. You know, one of those super computers they use to do physics and stuff?

    • by u38cg (607297)
      They don't, as a rule, become obsoleted very often. The whole point of a mainframe is it's a machine you can plug in and run for twenty-thirty years, hotswapping components as required. The last one I worked with had an installed code base going back to 1971 and will have to remain operational for another 80-odd years.
  • by emes (240193) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:07AM (#30386506)

    There are a number of factors which go into this consideration of Linux on the mainframe. I must admit it was really cool when I first learned of it, having had an MP3000 to myself at an IBM training facilty to learn how to bring up VM/ESA and Linux/390(2001). Then I realized a few things like:

    1. Linux cannot take advantage of the advantages of channel-based disk i/o, because it uses Unix i/o approaches which can never be as efficient as the traditional mainframe-based approaches. No one has shown me any evidence that Linux does anything particularly intelligent in its channel program construction and management. Linux assures that IBM can happily sell lots of IFL or general purpose CPUs which are necessary to compensate for this inefficient use of
    mainframe resources.

    2. Managing workloads under zVM can be great and is extremely well refined, but this requires zVM-specific skills which supposedly no one wants to pay for.

    3. For transaction-based work, it's hard to beat TPF/zTPF, but unfortunately that requires some real mainframe skill to implement. And regrettably, zTPF requires Linux and zOS because IBM refuses to convert the programs running on zOS to run on Linux instead. Since TPF/zTPF and zOS both involve onerous monthly licensing charges based on capacity, it's no wonder that TPF/zTPF languish in relative obscurity.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Linux cannot take advantage of the advantages of channel-based disk i/o, because it uses Unix i/o approaches which can never be as efficient as the traditional mainframe-based approaches"

      That's interesting, tell us more about the differences between Unix and 'mainframe-based' disk I/O.
  • Now none of you can complain that Apple is expensive. Linux/IBM has all of you beat!

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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