Click here to close now.


Linux Containers Authors: Flint Brenton, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Tim Hinds

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Mainframe: A Resilient Model for the Modern Cloud

The emerging cloud-based model of computing requires systems that can provide fast response times to huge volumes of requests

Technology is moving at a blistering pace. In today's era of data-centric, complex environments where the lines between business and technology are becoming increasingly blurred, organizations are moving beyond virtualization to cloud computing to meet new challenges and keep up with the pace of change. Critical investments are needed to keep companies competitive, and chief among these technologies is cloud computing. In fact, Gartner expects cloud computing to become the bulk of new IT expenditure by 2016. The bottom line is, if you're not already looking at cloud as an essential investment, you're risking your survival into the next era of computing.

The emerging cloud-based model of computing requires systems that can provide very fast response times to huge volumes of requests. And, mission critical services such as healthcare, finance, transportation, public utilities, and other industries require very high levels of availability, security and other industrial-strength capabilities. Those attributes, qualities and requirements make the mainframe the ideal platform for such mission critical cloud-based workloads.

Cloud computing is a modern extension of a concept first developed nearly 50 years ago with the mainframe. The inherent spirit behind mainframe based computing was to serve users in remote locations at the same time, on a pay-as-you-go basis. The mainframe was introduced as the most robust, scalable system ever built, and with continued innovation the system has maintained its leadership status as one of the platforms of choice to handle today's complex workloads including sophisticated public, private and hybrid cloud computing environments. At its core, the mainframe was designed around three key traits - virtualization, standardization and provisioning. Not coincidentally, these are the foundational requirements for true cloud implementation.

Most enterprises today started their cloud journey with low-risk applications and high agility requirements. This approach allows customers to ease into cloud computing, learn and adjust their management of the cloud, and build the confidence to introduce more demanding applications.  The applications tend to use web technologies and architectures that can be scaled on commodity infrastructures, using load balancing and service cloning. Batch workloads that fit with commodity infrastructures are another popular workload on clouds.

For private, public or hybrid clouds, the mainframe can provide the following key requirements:

  • Scalability - users need to scale quickly and efficiently both up and down with complete confidence and zero loss of availability.
  • Reliability - a cloud computing environment that is always accessible with guaranteed application performance, limited to no downtime with provisions for rapid recovery from failure.
  • Multi-Tenancy - allowing multiple users to access software applications on the same system, concurrently and securely, critical for cloud service providers hosting many organizations in a single cloud infrastructure and for enterprises deploying private clouds to manage growth through acquisitions to host multiple companies in the same infrastructure;
  • Cost Efficiency - consolidating a distributed x86 cloud environment onto one mainframe creates a simplified, more efficient environment with reductions in floor space and power requirements, and higher return on investment over the life of the platform;
  • Security - the mainframe has unmatched system security with ensured isolation and protection of each virtual server environment.

Companies across various industries are gaining these advantages and efficiencies by consolidating cloud environments on a mainframe, such as:

By consolidating cloud on a mainframe private cloud solution that replaced thousands of standalone servers for its daily business activities like policy verification, claims processing, and generating customer quotations, Nationwide Insurance has saved 80% in energy and facility costs. The consolidation saved the company roughly $15 million over three years and will only continue to efficiently keep costs down in the future. Additionally, this solution gives them the capacity, processing speeds and reliability to increase the pace of innovation across its products and channels as it continues to grow.

By leveraging the cloud capabilities offered by the mainframe, Marist College was able to extend its business analytics technology to its academic community including researchers and students, while extracting even more value from its IT investments. By providing its analytics technology via cloud, the college has been able to expose analytics tools to a wide variety of programs, including technical disciplines and also business, liberal arts and communications programs so students learn how to apply it to their fields of study. Marist has also realized significant financial benefits, saving roughly $350,000 by using the cloud to support the college's ERP system.

The mainframe, with its shared platform, integration, and secure design attributes combined with continuous innovation, has enabled organizations to stay ahead of changing market dynamics with a solution that embodies efficiency, economics and agility - a resilient solution for today's cloud environment.

More Stories By Jose Castano

Jose Castano is the Director for the System z Growth Initiatives in IBM’s Systems & Technology Group. He has over 25 years of experience within IBM and has held multiple key positions in System z during this tenure.

Jose has worldwide responsibility to drive new workloads on System z. This includes Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, and Security He sets the business and technical strategy and direction for the System z platform. He drives coordination and collaboration of the System z ecosystem, from marketing, sales, business partners, consultants, and most importantly customers; leading the platform through an evolution that maintains leadership and meets customer and industry requirements.

Jose has a team comprised of workload and industry architects (who focus on business trends, market and industry requirements and develop solutions/offerings). Offering managers (who are responsible for the GTM for the solutions/offerings) and ISV managers (who work with our ecosystem to support new and existing workloads). Together, these teams have responsibility for researching, designing, building and maintaining the new workload strategy and its roadmap for IBM System z, driving the plans for the next 3-5 years.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.