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The Mainframe Perfect for Servicing the Cloud

The Mainframe Perfect for Servicing the Cloud

March 22, 2010 0 Comments

Commenting on a recent Economists article titled "The Return of the Mainframe," Gregg Willhoit explains the mainframe's greatest challenges for servicing the cloud, and how IBM's steps for servicing the cloud have improved the mainframe performance. This podcast runs for 3:11.

Gregg Willhoit:

Quite interesting that the mainframe and its architecture, its virtualization capabilities are so salient today with regard to cloud computing. The mainframe of course, again with its virtualization capabilities in VM is the perfect architecture for cloud computing. And I think many other hardware vendors realize this and are trying to accomplish the same thing that IBM has, and that is building extremely large, scalable, reliable systems, capable of running multiple copies of different types of operating systems in very efficient virtual machines.

And the only issue is they’re about 20 or 30 years behind IBM. I think IBM has the best architecture for cloud computing. And I think the industry is starting to realize this. IBM has done a few things to make the mainframe a more viable platform for cloud computing. Many software enhancements, many in CICS and IMS, the SOA direction, the SOA architecture, and the direction that IBM began taking a long time ago with regard to exposing legacy assets to SOA have been significant.

And in general, I think that this discussion of cloud computing -- and I might have said this before -- always brings me back to what Thomas Watson said quite a long time ago when he said the world may only need four or five mainframes. And I think what’s funny is, while we’re not there today, if one were to basically look off into the future, there may be only four or five clouds. And that would be quite interesting if all of those were backed by IBM mainframes.

I think that one of the greatest challenges, again, that IBM or any other hardware provider for the cloud has is within the aspect of servicing the cloud, that is, basically the need for dynamic workload management, configuration, building aspects of your cloud computing environment on the fly, based upon demand. And I think IBM’s been working on those kinds of issues for a long time and has a huge head start in this area with regard to the use of WLM and other sub?system management type applications.

Gregg Willhoit

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