Mainframes in the Age of Cloud Computing

Mainframes in the Age of Cloud Computing

Mainframes may be 1960s technology, but they still manage a huge portion of the world’s data. This is mainly because of two reasons – i) continuous improvement of the technology and ii) the huge costs involved in changing them en masse. However, in today’s world of cloud computing when companies are looking at decreasing their IT footprints, bulky mainframes may seem archaic. But not so if they are used in the proper manner.

Some time back I had written about how cloud computing represented the logical flow of advancement from bulky mainframes to smaller PCs to a computing paradigm when no software needs to be present on a machine (Mainframes -> PCs -> Cloud Computing? ). However, today, in a step backward that can actually take us forward, however strange that may sound, I am going to write on how mainframes can be used for cloud computing.

Modern mainframes (no, that’s not a printing error) can potentially be used to build private clouds, those nebulous networks with closely delimited borders but offering several of the advantages of cloud computing ( Which is the Safer Cloud – Public or Private?).

Such usage of mainframes is possible due to the increasing use of Linux, the favored cloud computing operating system. This allows virtual x86 servers to be run on a mainframe, the same way they are used in traditional (again, not a printing error) cloud computing. In a CA Technologies-sponsored survey of 200 U.S. mainframe executives last year, 73% of the respondents said that their mainframes were a part of their future cloud plans.

However, two problems remain. One is the requirement for explicit authorization for provisioning of mainframe resources, something that detracts from one of the very fundamentals of cloud computing – elasticity. However, according to Reed Mullen, IBM‘s System z cloud computing expert, this lack of self-provisioning in mainframes is cultural, not technological. According to him, self-provisioning is easy to implement using IBM’s Tivoli Service Automation Manager or through custom development.

Mullen agrees that even then, self-provisioning would depend on the latitude given by a company’s IT department, which he describes as the “old habits” of the mainframe world. At the same time, he insists, even cloud computing in the usual sense of the term uses approval processes, however transparent they may be.

The second problem relates to the high cost of mainframe equipment and licensing. However, Mullen mentions that the latest generation of IBM mainframes has a relatively unknown “on-off” feature, which allows administrators to turn a processor core on for a limited time, paying short-term day rates for IBM software rather than buying an expensive annual license based on the number of processor cores. “We are looking at taking advantage of this infrastructure to make it even more suitable for a cloud environment where there is a lot of unpredictable usage,” he said.

For companies that want to use mainframes for their dependability but at the same time want to be on the cloud as well, this is certainly an interesting development. As it is for companies that already have mainframes that they are reluctant to mothball. Whether it makes sense to buy mainframes for the primary purpose of cloud computing is however, difficult to justify. Studies will have to be conducted, and not necessarily by IBM which has a vested interest in pushing mainframes, before such questions can be answered definitely.

By Sourya Biswas

sourya

Sourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a freelance journalist with several articles published online. After 6 years of work, he has decided to pursue further studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has completed his MBA. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. He is also a member of high-IQ organizations Mensa and Triple Nine Society and has been a prolific writer to CloudTweaks over the years... http://www.cloudtweaks.com/author/sourya/

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

What is the 12/12 Program?

This program is designed to better handle the thousands of requests we receive from people looking to submit articles. The 12/12 program is the commitment of 12 articles delivered over a 12-month period.  

Wait! What if I just want to submit one article?

Our popular pay as you go sponsorship program provides the flexibility to submit as you wish and is designed for all budgets.

Contributors

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

What Ever Happened To Google Glass?

What Ever Happened To Google Glass?

What Ever Happened to Google Glass? It was supposed to be the next big thing in tech so where did it go? Last year you could not go anywhere without hearing about some insane new use for the product and now it seems to have vanished in a plume of smoke. A Lackluster Rollout Back

Posted on by

Big Data

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries The poor of the developing countries are becoming increasingly connected, to the point where they too are part of the Big Data revolution that’s happening across the globe. It didn’t come with laptops, though, as some supposed it would. Whereas it costs a fortune to connect broadband to a

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data in Your Garden Big Data and IoT initiatives are springing up all across the globe, making cities, protesters–and just about everything else–smarter. However, thus far there’s been little attention paid to the interactions between these bizarre technologies and living things other than humans. Biology, that is, human biology is one field where Big

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Big Data and City Management Cities like New York, Madrid, and especially Rio de Janeiro are augmented with Big Data-powered initiatives that range from combating crime with predictive analytics (New York & Madrid) to providing real-time data for improved management. Although Big Data is no panacea and is mainly used in conjunction with a greater

Internet of Things

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital? We all know the capitals of fashion are London, New York and Paris, while the capital of film is Hollywood (or Bollywood!) – but what’s the new capital of the internet? Specifically, the internet of things? The answer – according to new research by Ozy – might surprise you. It’s not Tokyo, Seoul,

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities And Big Data As Anthony Townsend argues in his SMART CITIES, even though the communications industry has changed beyond recognition since its inception, the way we consume power has remained stubbornly anachronistic. The rules of physics are, of course, partially to blame, for making grid networks harder to decentralize, as opposed to communication

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

“I don’t want to fight old battles,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “I want to fight new ones.” It’s Sunday evening, and Nadella is sitting in a glass-enclosed room at the back of a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, eating sushi with a few reporters. The post Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

The US tech giant reported a 16 per cent jump in iPhone sales between July and September, and the strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years. Read the source article at dailymail.co.uk About Latest Posts souryaSourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being

Q&A: Intel’s Take on Chinese Startups, Innovation

Q&A: Intel’s Take on Chinese Startups, Innovation

Intel’s venture-capital arm on Tuesday said it would be investing $28 million in five Chinese startups that work on new technologies ranging from wearable devices to iris detection. It is Intel Capital’s first infusion from a $100 million China fund launched in April … Read the source article at WSJ Blogs About Latest Posts souryaSourya Biswas is a former risk analyst