Even before the introduction of the z196 a year ago, IBM had been steadily promoting new mainframe workloads. With the introduction of the zEnterprise, consisting of a z196 and an attached zBX, the hybrid mainframe became real and with it the possibility of running and managing truly new workloads through the z.
Obvious new workloads would be AIX workloads previously running on Power Systems servers, but these aren’t truly new to the organization, only new to the z. The adoption of the Smart Analytics Optimizer, as Florida Hospital plans to do for medical research analytics, is a truly new application for the hospital and for the z.
The introduction of the z114 opens up the potential for new workloads on the z. This would be due mainly to its lower cost, entry pricing starts at $75,000. This lowers the risk of testing new workloads on the z. For example, would an organization now be more willing to try BI against production data residing on the z as a new workload if they could get a discounted price? They could, of course, run BI on a slew of Intel servers for less, but they would give up the proximity of their data and the potential for near real-time BI.
As recently as this past March Marie Wieck, General Manager of IBM Application and Integration Middleware, made the new workloads case in a presentation titled New Workload and New Strategic Thinking for z. In that presentation she identifies five categories of new workloads she deemed strategic. They are:
- Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics
- Virtualization and Optimization
- Risk Management and Compliance
- Business Process Management (BPM)
- Cloud computing
None of these, with the possible exception of Cloud, are new workloads. Organizations have been running these workloads for years, just on other platforms. But yes, they certainly are not the traditional System z workloads, which typically revolve around CICS transaction processing, OLTP, and production database management.
DancingDinosaur would like to suggest some areas of other new workloads for the z, especially if you can grab a deeply discounted z114 cheap through the Solution Edition program. And since they are new workloads, they should automatically qualify for the discount program.
The first would be Linux development and testing using a deeply discounted enterprise Linux Solution Edition for the z114. Developers could put up and take down servers at will, runs gads of test data through them, and the machine wouldn’t break a sweat.
Another should be SOA. Enterprise Linux combined with CICS access to production data should be a ripe area for new services-oriented, web-based workloads. You could even pull in smartphones and tablets as access devices.
Finally, there should be much that organizations could do in terms of new workloads using Java, WebSphere, SAP, and even Lotus on the z114. Here too, there will likely need to be Solution Edition discount programs available to reduce costs even more.
And then there are the x blades for the zBX and the imminent arrival of Windows on those x blades. That has the potential to open maybe the largest set yet of new workloads for the z.
The big obstacle to new workloads on the z is that these workloads already are running in some form on other platforms in the organization. So, what the z gains, the other platforms and the teams that support them lose. That’s a difficult political battle to fight, and the best way to win is to offer an unbeatable z business case. Even with the z114, IBM isn’t there yet.
To get there, IBM has to add the last piece missing from the new workloads picture painted above—a System z Solution Edition discount program that also includes a deeply discounted zBX. That could prove irresistible to organizations otherwise contemplating new system z workloads.