Over the last couple weeks I have observed a worrying trend in my interactions with clients and on the Twittersphere i.e. the cult of x86 and it's hold over the world of Cloud Computing...to quote a recent Twitter interaction, after asking a recent follower (you know who you are) for their views on cloud on z, I got the following response:
"Technically magnificent - totally impractical - won't run Intel Binary products. Chocolate teapot. (PS - I love Z and wish it were not so)"
Well you can imagine my response!!! For those with no imagination it went something like this:
If cloud = intel and x86, then agree. What about Linux? (RHEL & SLES), we are seeing adoption for a Linux cloud on z
I met with a large global outsourcer recently who has an x86 based cloud offering (which is losing money by the way) and we positioned DBaaS to them based on Linux on z. Well after much mudslinging and a verbal battle they begrudgingly agreed that databases don't usually play nice with x86 virtualization and that there may be an alternative, especially since the approach we proposed was approx 40% cheaper!!!
It amazes me in this cash strapped times, that when you present a solution that is patently cheaper and has numerous other benefits such as industry leading security, availability and scalability, that you still get push back. So let’s explore why we get pushback for Cloud on the Mainframe:
- Mainframe as a word has a dark meaning, in some languages it is a substitute word for old, in others it translates to proprietary. Well my response to this is:
- $5bn of R&D investment since 2010, and $1bn in the latest EC12 alone does not equal an ‘old’ platform and as for proprietary how does a server that runs 7 different operating (2 of which are Linux) systems and 13 databases sound?
- Skills are hard to find – well there is some truth in this, but only because the box runs so damn efficiently that you don’t need and any army of IT Staff!!! I met with an energy supply company that has over 2 million active customers who has a mainframe team totalling one sys prog the other week and they only have their core billing system running on z, so nothing important…
- x86 is what everybody else is doing – well where do I start, have you heard the one about the lemmings? Or the one about the PC manufacturers who thought that Apple would never get a hold in the home computing space…I can go on but you get the picture.
And then contact me on Twitter at @StevenDickens3