Operating Systems

With the advent of architectural plurality in zEnterprise, the term integration requires additional consideration. Introducing x86 and POWER-based blade servers in the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX), zEnterprise shifts focus from the instruction set architecture question to workload needs.

A best-fit paradigm allows implementing business solutions on zEnterprise without debating what components will be part of the mainframe environment. The Uniform Resource Manager (zManager) provides common platform and virtualization management, and adds higher-level awareness such as policy-driven workload management and optimization. Its scope evolves from the Hardware Management Console (HMC) as a management console to the role of a management server for the entire multi-architectural environment of zEnterprise. An Application Programming Interface (API) opens this functionality to additional management software as well as roll-your-own automation.

From the platform, Operating System (OS) and workload perspective, System z always provided a holistic view beyond the platform's individual server instances. This is sufficient tradition to explore ways to bring the Linux worlds—System z and x86—closer together with zEnterprise. Extending converged operations from the zManager to the OS and application levels paints the picture of a Linux image with both System z and x86 resources. Applications of both natures can be operated in this environment, enabling a consolidated view on mixed architecture business solutions.

The application integration technology explained here centers this hybrid view around a Linux on System z environment. Linux on System z controls the OS and application lifecycle, virtually providing a co-processor notion of zBX resources to Linux on System z. x86 applications continue to run in their x86 virtual server images, but appear as local processes to the system administrator. The x86 OS image is tied to the Linux on System z instance to enable synergistic management.

Advantages of such a hybrid system notion (and its use at the OS and application operations levels) include but aren’t limited to the following:

• It’s a consumable implementation of the best-fit approach.

• The operational unification reduces the complexity to run hybrid solutions.

• Existing processes around Linux on System z can be extended to the hybrid scope.

While the handling of x86 resources is folded into System z management, the underlying hardware platforms still provide their unique characteristics. The discussion about architecture set-wise placement of applications can focus on system characteristics, including capacity, scalability, reliability, availability, and cost-efficiency. Note that hybrid isn’t about leveling architecture environments; it’s about combining the intrinsic strengths of architectures. It’s about having the best of all worlds, and eventually tapping the x86 application ecosystem for Linux on System z environments.

Extending processes to the hybrid scope applies to procedures such as user management and failover setups as long as all state relevant for failover remains on System z file systems; it also applies to file management (e.g., synchronized backup and lifecycle management of data) and operational patterns such as automation.

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