Every year people in Linux predict the “year of the desktop.” I think this is a big year for desktop Linux, but last week there was an amazing announcement from IBM that people may have missed. IBM rolled out their new z10 mainframe running Linux and it does not disappoint. As the son of a software developer who worked on mainframes at Control Data Corporation and the grandson of one of the founders of Cray Research, I feel like I am reliving my childhood when I hear all the great things about centralized computing and mainframe technology. There is no doubt that the microcomputer and PC ate the mainframe world’s lunch in the 80’s and 90’s, but with the advent of virtualization it seems the mainframe guys may have the last laugh. Of course most folks from that world will tell you that virtualization technology is nothing new to them.
Generation gaps aside, the z10 had some staggering statistics. A single z10 is equal to nearly 1,500 x86 servers using up to 85% less energy costs and taking up to a 85% smaller footprint. In addition, IBM has put serious work into making sure workloads on Linux “are able to move beyond basic virtualization (in which different computing tasks are partitioned on a server) to an environment in which their entire IT infrastructure, including business applications, security, storage, processing power, etc., is provisioned on demand.”
Cloud computing, software as a service, virtualization, green computing; I think the folks at IBM are betting that Linux on the mainframe will be out in front to meet those new computing demands. I agree.