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Solutions Move Forward with System z

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:32 PM


This article is part two of a two-part series. Part one may be found here.

IBM System z Solution Editions were introduced to demonstrate that running new workloads on System z is both technically viable and cost-effective. These bundles provide competitive bottom-line pricing satisfying diverse requirements.

zEnterprise Is Ideal for Cloud Computing

A session on cloud computing at the February 2013 San Francisco SHARE conference featured IBM Distinguished Engineer Frank De Gilio, described on SHARE's blog as a "pragmatic voice on cloud computing for the mainframe." He noted, "Cloud is a user model, not a technology; the challenge is how can I manage a new and entirely different model in a very short time?" Advising attendees to ignore the hype, he suggested it be evaluated as any business decision: Identify requirements and how a cloud solution satisfies them. Specifically, he listed five aspects to evaluate:

• Resource pooling
• Broad network access
• Metering and monitoring
• On-demand self-service
• Infinite elasticity

His co-presenter, IBM Cloud Architect Mike Buzzetti reviewed cautions applicable when considering enterprise cloud services, including vendor lock-in, outages, breaches, hidden costs and denial-of-service attacks.

For decades before the term “cloud computing” was coined, the mainframe offered and defined many of its functions: virtualization, consolidation, centralized management, etc. IBM has continued this by helping establish Linux as an industry standard; the System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux offers dedicated Linux workload processors, called Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL); memory; I/O connectivity with three to five years maintenance; z/VM virtualization software; subscription; and support in flexible configurations added to an existing System z system. A similar offering is the standalone System z Enterprise Linux Server, equipped with IFLs, memory, I/O connections and equivalent-term maintenance/subscription/support. Red Hat and SUSE partner with IBM for Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux and the IBM Enterprise Linux Server.

Specialized Offerings Such as SAP and Chordiant

The System z Solution Edition for SAP simplifies using mainframe strengths to support the SAP database environment. The SAP application server on System z with Linux can combine with the System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux. The SAP database server with z/OS and DB2 on zEnterprise can operate with the SAP application server on zEnterprise with Linux or on a zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) with POWER7 blades running AIX, providing flexibility for the most appropriate environment based on business needs. The System z Solution Edition for SAP includes zBX and Unified Resource Manager as optional products.

A more specialized offering is the Solution Edition for Chordiant, part of Pegasystems, which offers a suite of customer experience management solutions for building deeper, more enduring and profitable customer relationships. Chordiant versions of foundation server and decision management applications are optimized for System z using WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and DB2 for z/OS, matching System z unique strengths with Chordiant applications. Hosting Chordiant applications with System z data provides a foundation for financial services, insurance, healthcare and telecommunications firms to reduce infrastructure complexity and improve flexibility.

There's no crystal ball prediction for future System z solution editions; IBM describes the market criterion for creating new ones as simply client demand for hosting specific new workloads having affinity to System z. There's strength in numbers. So if there's a business case for a new System z solution edition, tell your peers, tell your user groups and tell IBM.

Gabe Goldberg has developed, worked with and written about technology for decades. Email him at