IBM grabbed headlines last week when it unveiled its new System zEnterprise 196 mainframe. Something of a hybrid, the new mainframe combines the POWER7 and System x servers into one box, and the servers share resources through a common, virtualized platform.
Cool as this new hunk of iron is (and it's way cool: 60 percent faster than the z10, which it replaces, holds 3 Terabytes of RAM, and processes at 50 BIPS), what caught my attention was the upgrade to Rational Developer for System z IDE. Better known as RDz, this multi-platform environment for building, testing, and deploying zEnterprise applications comes with a new System z Unit Test feature. Developers using RDz can run the zOS on their laptops, write code for the mainframe, and now test that code.
"For our mainframe customers whose development teams were working with 30-year-old ISPF tools that ship with the mainframe, Rational Developer for System z brought them a laptop-driven development environment that set them free," Scott Searle, IBM Rational's not-usually-so-poetic marketing program director, told me. "Instead of working late into the night when the mainframes had some downtime, they could work with code anywhere, anytime on their laptops."