Mainframe Marries Linux: Will Cloud Computing Keep Up?

We recently wrote about IBM’s launch of two new mainframe computers under the LinuxONE brand which continues IBM’s long association with UNIX by supporting a number of Linux distributions. It certainly a departure from IBM’s UNIX like O/S, AIX which is now almost 30 years old, but IBM’s support of Linux is more than just a display of solidarity with the Open Source community.

IBM has launched two mainframe models: Emperor, for enterprises, and Rockhopper for mid sized business, which can eventually be upgraded to an Emperor if needed. Both models support KVM and the Emperor is one heck of a machine. It support 8,000 virtual servers, millions of simultaneous users, 141 processors (if you need them) and 10 Terabytes of shared memory. An Emperor model Mainframe costs half of what it would to build out that capability in the cloud.

This is an interesting play by IBM, and one that has seen them get results. It’s often assumed that the momentum behind cloud based computing is unstoppable, and the march away from in-house servers to cloud based ones is inevitable. However, IBM’s z13 and LinuxONE models may just throw a spanner in the cloud computing bandwagon.

Early reports from LinuxONE and z13 deployments are positive, and if IBM can follow through with a cloud alternative that is fast, stable and secure at half the cost they’re bound to appeal to the cost conscious CIO / CTO in the modern enterprise.