How Open Source Is Powering the Modern Mainframe
John Mertic | 30 April 2018
When I mention the word “mainframe” to someone, the natural response is colored by a view of an architecture of days gone by — perhaps even invoking a memory of the Epcot Spaceship Earth ride. This is the heritage of mainframe, but it is certainly not its present state.
From the days of the System/360 in the mid 1960s through to the modern mainframe of the z14, the systems have been designed along four guiding principles of security, availability, performance, and scalability. This is exactly why mainframes are entrenched in the industries where those principles are top level requirements — think banking, insurance, healthcare, transportation, government, and retail. You can’t go a single day without being impacted by a mainframe — whether that’s getting a paycheck, shopping in a store, going to the doctor, or taking a trip.
What is often a surprise to people is how massive open source is on mainframe. Ninety percent of mainframe customers leverage Linux on their mainframe, with broad support across all the top Linux distributions along with a growing number of community distributions. Key open source applications such as MongoDB, Hyperledger, Docker, and PostgreSQL thrive on the architecture and are actively used in production. And DevOps culture is strong on mainframe, with tools such as Chef, Kubernetes, and OpenStack used for managing mainframe infrastructure alongside cloud and distributed.
You can learn more about open source and mainframe, both the history along with the current and future states of open source on mainframe, in our upcoming presentation. Join us May 15 at 1:00pm ET for a session led by Open Mainframe Project members Steven Dickens of IBM, Len Santalucia of Vicom Infinity, and Mike Riggs of The Supreme Court of Virginia.
In the meantime, check out our podcast series “I Am A Mainframer” on both iTunes and Stitcher to learn more about the people who work with mainframe and what they see the future of mainframe to be.
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