A few weeks ago IBM announced it was bringing the System z to its SmartCloud Enterprise offerings. This raises a few questions, for starters: what took IBM so long? You could argue that the mainframe, as the original time-shared system, has been doing an early form of cloud computing for decades. More recently, mainframes have been available as hosted services at the company’s data centers.
Maybe a better question is why now? Might it be that Oracle bolstered its cloud offerings earlier this month? Similarly, barely a week ago EMC announced a cloud venture with a Verizon subsidiary. Not to be left out, HP also announced an updated converged cloud strategy last week. In that sense, IBM was ahead of the curve with its latest SmartCloud enterprise announcement, including System z. The industry’s sudden infatuation with big data is driving vendors to bolster their public and private cloud offerings.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ for System z, as IBM describes it, is a cloud computing service designed to meet the evolving needs of IBM mainframe organizations. The service provides shared, secure and scalable IBM z/OS mainframe capacity delivered as secured logical partitions (LPARs) within a continually refreshed, managed environment residing in the cloud. IBM suggests companies will adopt this offering to avoid capital outlays for hardware and reduce software expenditures as they move toward a pay-for-use financial model.
In fact, IBM presents what amounts to myriad public, private, and hybrid cloud offerings. The IBM System z Capacity Offering for Cloud allows for partial balancing of incremental capacity growth on IBM zEnterprise 196 or z114 during a twelve month period. The offering enables companies to deal with business change by moving capacity between systems and even between locations. As to be expected, IBM constrains how much you can rebalance, although the constraints are based on an unusually straightforward formula.
The IBM System z Disaster Recovery Offering for Cloud offers active capacity mobility between IBM zEnterprise 196 or z114 primary servers and disaster recovery servers. As IBM explains: companies need to test their disaster recovery capability by running production at the disaster recovery site over an extended period of time, such as when wanting to ensure, in the event of a disaster, all systems and processes can efficiently run from the disaster recovery site.
To that end, System z Disaster Recovery Offering for Cloud allows active capacity mobility between z196 or z114 primary servers and mirrored disaster recovery servers. With this offering an organization can perform a thorough disaster recovery test longer than a CBU test by moving its primary active workload on z196 or z114 to its disaster recovery server for up to 60 days. Usually this is needed to satisfy stringent audit or compliance requirements.
Again, the product comes with a few constraints. For example, a workload may be moved up to four times a year, and for each move the maximum time a workload may run on the Disaster Recovery machine is 60 days.
There are more IBM SmartCloud offerings than noted above. And DancingDinosaur expects to see other z offerings in the cloud moving forward. Fully virtualized from the start, the z is a natural for the cloud. Power, another highly virtualized and integrated IBM system that should play well in the cloud, also has a SmartCloud offering now. It’s about time.