Who says dinosaurs can’t create clouds?

For the past several years, there have been discussions on how to best reduce data center costs.  A study in 2011 by Clabby Analytics, an IT research and analysis firm, showed that almost 50% of the data center costs can be attributed to management labor, followed by costs associated with equipment.

I am here to share my thoughts with you about two interesting topics that some of you might not have thought of together. They are: Cloud computing and IBM System z (also known as mainframe).

Here is one way to look at the way technology has evolved: We used to use dumb terminals (also known as green screens) to access applications and data on the mainframe. Fast forward to today and for the most part, we use an Internet browser to access all the applications and data on the Internet. So the green screen has essentially been replaced by the browser. Now, how about the back end? In several organizations, the “back end” has become a server farm, and the sky-rocketing costs of managing the server sprawl has resulted in several customers considering cloud.

The Clabby Analytics study found that System z can help an organization reduce several expenses, including those related to system administration/operations, power/cooling, space/real estate,,and many others.  A follow-up Clabby Analytics webcast showed that over three years, an organization could reduce costs by up to 56% by using a System z versus the Intel platform.  There are several factors resulting in these benefits:

  • Over several decades, IBM system z has perfected the art of reliability, high utilization, virtualizationm and other such capabilities that are so applicable in a cloud. Did you know that a single System z can easily manage thousands of virtual machines running at near 100% utilization and almost zero downtime?
  • Additionally, several sophisticated tools around Integrated Service Management are available on System z requiring fewer administrators to manage the hundreds of virtual machines, thus reducing the biggest cost of the data center, labor, mentioned earlier.

Vendors are proud to announce capabilities around cloud for monitoring virtual machines, providing security, automation, and the list goes on. Well, IBM has provided such capabilities through System z for monitoring and the highest levels of security for a while now. Hence, if you have a significant cloud environment in the works or already have a System z in your data center, then there is a big opportunity to save by considering System z as your platform for cloud.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more thoughts about what makes System z a modern platform and the benefits that you can gain by using System z for cloud…stay tuned!

Comments: 6
Vikram Gulati

About Vikram Gulati

Vikram has over a decade of experience in product management, development and marketing. He has an engineering background and an MBA from Duke University. His passion is to improve the quality of our lives by leveraging technology for personal and business purposes. He lives near Cary, NC, enjoying the outdoors and yoga. He is also a proponent of the trend towards mobility and enjoys using the Samsung Galaxy Tab for work and pleasure.
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6 Responses to Who says dinosaurs can’t create clouds?

  1. One thing that I think is important to recognize is that there are two kinds of cloud, which I think of as "Enterprise" and "Google" for short.

    If an Enterprise cloud transaction fails, that's crossing-the-streams bad: money is lost.
    If a Google search fails, nobody cares.

    The challenge, then, is to identify the Enterprise cloud opportunities and look at System z for those. And the problem is that the buzz about cloud (aka SOA (aka ASP (aka timesharing))) is so fuzzy that it, well, clouds the real issues.

    I'm not suggesting that what I wrote above is news to Vikram or, indeed, to any enterprise person — but I don't see it mentioned in cloud articles, and that concerns me, because it's important.

    • Vikram Gulati Vikram Gulati says:

      Hello Phil, yes, you bring up a great point, most of the opportunities are for creating Enterprise clouds, also know as, private clouds, where System z can add great value.

      However, if a customer wants to create another google type of a cloud, also known as public cloud, there also System z can be utilized and be valuable.

  2. Arnold Shoon says:

    I love this article and also agree with Phil – I guess that's where the private cloud fits???

  3. Vikram Gulati Vikram Gulati says:

    Yes Arnold, you are right, Private cloud are great opportunity areas for leveraging the benefits of System z.

  4. Joachim Haller says:

    Switching technology and uppgrading applications.
    Working with a provider and their "Appcom" platform it is profiled as the most modern, dynamic and highly flexible platform on the market. Reality is of course different and the ability to add RAM, processing power or disk on-the-fly seems to always require restart as long as your are working with Windows systems. The UNIX side of things is much more dynamic but most of our systems are Windows based so we don't get the benefit. Having said that it is often not the technology that is the biggest contraint but rather the processes surrounding it which seem to emanate from a beleif that "we are unique" which is a nice thought but instead of using mainstream processes it comes down to specialised workflows based on incompatible systems forcing e-mail to be part of the solution. So even if the technology in the background is splendid the processes to use it are not. Perhaps some osrt of shake-and-bake solution would be good so the technology was presented together with a process?

    We are at mercy of our provider and whatever technology they see is best for them is what they will use. We can build our own data centres but that would go against the company strategy. So how to bring the provider around to start using more flexible solutions? Naturally they have huge investments in a partikular technology so how to motivate them to switch and what would the impact be for their customers? Lot of questions comes to mind.

    The other side of the coin are the applications. These are not seldom "old dogs" that struggle to keep up with the pace of modern platforms. We have been through a painful process moving loads of applications from version whatever on to 2008 R2 and that showed just how cumbersome and in some cases almost impossible this task is. Even when the applications are working on the new platform they still require much attention and cause all kind of various problems. Naturally there are those applications that do very well or much better in the newer environment and previous limitations are long gone. But again – the effort of uppgrading or changing platform is not to be under estimated and the value of the new environment can easily be marketed eyond expectations and when reality enters the stage the discussions start.

    Most of us working in the field are skeptical towards new solutions because very few can really bring in the rewards they are talking about. The buzzwords have been around for too long time and we recognise them all too well. Hope to see the promises come true this time.

  5. @alan_hosur says:

    Nice Article. I would say Dinosaur's already known for this ability, which is termed as "cloud" in modern world. And that's why all the big IT shops trust Z systems over any other.

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