What’s your 2011 wish list for IBM and the zEnterprise? If you’re like most mainframe data center managers, lower z196 prices is probably up there. But what the data center managers DancingDinosaur has been talking with in the past few weeks really want is more information about the z196 and the zBX and even POWER Systems.
Here are some of the questions DancingDinosaur has been asked to which it does not have good answers:
Where is the best place to run Linux? Under z/OS, z/VM, on an IFL, or wait for a POWER or x86 card for the zBX. Right now Linux on an IFL seems to be the popular choice. However, managers need performance and pricing data and reasons to go one way or another to make the best choice.
The same, by the way, could be asked of large shops with both a mainframe and AIX systems. Should they run AIX on POWER System servers or wait for a POWER blade for the zBX? Here again, price, performance, and workload information would be very helpful.
IBM has made it clear that it does not expect wholesale movement of AIX workloads to POWER blades running on the zBX. It will be selected workloads, but which ones and under what circumstances? As a famous supermarket tabloid puts in: Enquiring minds want to know.
Then there is the perennial Windows on z question. For years third parties have been promising it, usually in some form of emulation. But now the zBX will host x86 blades. Suddenly the question means something because it seems more likely.
One recent comment on DancingDinosaur clearly thought Windows on z is a bad idea. Others think differently. Personally, I’d rather see Solaris (OpenSolaris) on z before Windows. Solaris offers more enterprise-class workloads. Both are technically possible but neither will likely happen anytime soon, if at all.
A better question may be how IBM expects mainframe shops to use the zBX and its various POWER and x86 blades. Except for data analysis workloads (Smart Analytics Optimizer blade) that could take advantage of the proximity of z transaction data, IBM hasn’t provided many hints.
The Smart Analytics Optimizer blade for z and the zBX, at least, seems imminent. Here are some performance details about beta tests. The use case entails BI and complex analytic queries run against data warehouses.
There are a slew of additional questions around the zBX, mainly involving configuration and pricing. IBM notes that as capacity requirements increase, you may upgrade your zBX to a larger configuration or even purchase another zBX system. Beyond that, IBM isn’t saying much publicly.
After breaking for the holidays IBM has begun to schedule briefings again. Let’s hope some zEnterprise and zBX information will start flowing soon. Stay tuned.