Tiburon Technologies, a mid-tier consulting, integration and software development firm based in suburban Cleveland, faced the same hard choice as many larger IBM mainframe users early in 2004: how to go “z” in an era of shrinking revenue, a scaled-back client base, and fewer available dollars for internal hardware and software.
Tiburon has long been an IBM Partner in Development and was one of the first integrators to acquire an IS/390, one of the series known as “The Magic Box” sold or leased by IBM in the late ’90s.
But the old magic just wasn’t in the cards for the company’s IS/390 because it couldn’t run z/architecture. As nice as it was for Tiburon to have a compact, cost-effective development and integration machine manufactured, leased, and serviced by IBM, it was reaching the end of its useful life and had to be replaced.
As of September 2004, IBM would no longer provide support for OS/390. What alternatives did Tiburon have?
Putting z/OS on a ThinkPad
Tiburon now runs z/OS on a standard ThinkPad (with a bit of extra disk space). A laptop running z/OS has to be the most extreme example of mainframe downsizing. Think about it: Take the entire suite of software that IBM has developed over the last 40 years and run it on a standard, out-of-the-box laptop. This still amazes me, and I believe that many smaller companies, governmental bodies, and other organizations that have used mainframes for many years could consider such a scaled-down solution.
For Tiburon Technologies, z/OS on a ThinkPad has:
- Reduced the space and electricity requirements to run a mainframe-class machine
- Brought the company’s entire mainframe operating environment up to supported levels
- Increased costs only slightly more than the IS/390