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Two years ago, mainframes were literally and figuratively being pushed out of Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) in favor of distributed systems running various operating systems. Then the zEnterprise arrived. The DND mainframe team saw in the z196 and zBX a way to consolidate and centrally manage these myriad platforms as the core of a multi-platform, mainframe-based enterprise hosting strategy…

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Guest Author: Steve Guendert

“Programming” (and programming support) was an old data processing concept that originally was broadly defined as the adaptation of general-purpose devices to specific tasks.  Programming therefore goes back to Herman Hollerith wiring and rewiring (programming) his equipment to handle specific jobs.  By the early 1930s IBM was distributing information about novel (for the time) plugboard wiring diagrams to customers via a publication called Pointers.  Some of these diagrams were created by IBMers, but more importantly, many were created by customers who were willing to share their solutions with other customers.  A culture of programming support and sharing was well in place among IBM and its customers long before the S/360.  Actually, it was in place long before the first IBM 701 (the Defense Calculator) computer was installed.  Adapting this culture to meet the evolving requirements of its customers proved crucial to IBM’s success…

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Mainframer dreams come true!

In an announcement dated April 12, 2011, IBM has announcing zEnterprise support for Microsoft Windows. Below is the actual announcement from IBM.

Overview

In Hardware Announcement 110-177, dated July 22, 2010, “IBM® zEnterprise BladeCenter® Extension (zBX),” IBM introduced a new dimension in computing with the announcement of the IBM zEnterprise Server (zEnterprise). This first in the industry offering makes it possible to deploy an integrated hardware platform that brings mainframe and distributed technologies together—a system that can start to replace individual islands of computing and can work to reduce complexity, lower costs, improve security, and bring applications closer to the data they need.

As part of that announcement we provided a road map for IBM’s hybrid capabilities, the delivery of special-purpose workload optimizers and select general-purpose IBM blades. In 2010 we began to deliver, first with our business analytics solution—IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer—and then general-purpose POWER7™ blades. In February 2011 we continued with the announcement of the IBM WebSphere® DataPower® X150 for zEnterprise (DataPower x150z), a multifunctional appliance for the System z® environment that can be implemented to help provide XML hardware acceleration, and to streamline and secure valuable service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications.

The next step in the road map is to incorporate select IBM System x® technologies, originally targeted for the first half of 2011. The reaction to delivering IBM System x capabilities has been very positive, with our clients also asking that we support Microsoft® Windows®. Therefore, today we are revising our road map to include planned support for Windows on System x as well as revised schedule for IBM System x blade delivery on the IBM zEnterprise.

Statement of General Direction

In the third quarter of 2011, IBM intends to offer select IBM System x blades running Linux® on System x in the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 002.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, IBM intends to offer select IBM System x blades running Microsoft Windows in the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 002.

All statements regarding IBM’s plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. Any reliance on these statements of
general direction is at the relying party’s sole risk and will not create liability or obligation for IBM.

This announcement from IBM has been eagerly anticipated by mainframers for more that two years; and now it’s finally and officially here. What this means for the future of the mainframe is anybody’s guess; but in my view it can only mean substantial mainframe workload growth, and once again the preeminence of the mainframe in the data center going forward…

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