Posts Tagged 'Linux'

The Open Mainframe Project

It would be remiss of me not to mention another new Linux Foundation project, the Open Mainframe project. I’m actually be pretty interested, from a purely personal perspective, to see what this project does and where they plan to take Linux on the mainframe.

I’m glad to see that both Linux on the mainframe, and the ecosystem is still thriving. Having been involved with it heavily back in the late 90’s, and writing essentially the only public strategy in the original and republished IBM Redbook “Linux for S/390”. The first four chapters were mine.

I can recall with great fondness discussing with them head of IBM Systems Group, and future IBM CEO, Sam Palmisano and many others, the real reason Linux would be key to future success, it’s freedom. With India and China coming on stream as technology powerhouses, with millions of future programmers, it was clear that they would learn on Linux.

Even Windows was still the most pervasive operating system in 1998-2000, it was clear from anyone who understood technical people that Linux would influence not jut code, but threading, languages, library structures, call interfaces and more at the system level. For no other reason than people can study the source, learn from it, adapt it etc. and that was a train IBM couldn’t stop, we needed to be on board before the train left without us. There is a good NY Times article from the period here.

Good luck to the Open Mainframe project.

Linux Foundation Certification program

LFCS-LFCE_badge_rgb[1]I was delighted to be able to endorse the Linux Foundations’ new certification program at its’ recent launch,a long with industry luminaris including Mark Shuttleworth.

 “Linux certification that is based on performance and is easily accessible will be key to increasing the number of qualified Linux professionals,” said Mark Cathcart, Senior Distinguished Engineer, Dell. “The Linux Foundation’s approach to this market need is smart and thoughtful and they have the proven ability to deliver.”

Although I’ve contributed little to nothing to Linux in the way of technology, I’m totally impressed in how totally pervasive Linux has become, from embedded to Enterprise, since I wrote the chapters in the Year 2000 IBM Redbook on why IBM was getting involved with Linux.

So the new Linux foundation certification program is a perfectly logical step in furthering the skills and workface that are driving Linux today. Congratulations to Jim Zemlin and the Linux Foundation for achieving this significant milestone.

Linux Foundation Training and Certification

Jim Zemlins Blog entry on the certification program

Linux Foundation Press Release covering the program announcement

16-years? Wow, time to send in a donation to the “Way back machine”, I’d forgotten they have many of my old pages here and here.

Most Mainframe MIPS Installs are Linux

over on the ibmeye blog Greg makes this observation: “I found this surprising (if true): More than half the mainframe MIPS IBM sells are Linux” and “That seems to go against the trust of IBM’s marketing push.”

I have no idea if the numbers quoted are accurate, but I don’t see the inconsistency.

We’ve been on an Intel and general server consolidation drive for 15-years now. Back in the mid-90’s it was much harder, we were trying to convince organizations to move their Unix workloads to OS/390, aka MVS, aka z/OS, using the Unix Systems Services, but it was a tough sell. Even before that a few of us, primarily in Europe were driving to get customers to consolidated under utilized and unreliable file servers to MVS or VM using either LANRES(for Novell Netware) or the LAN File Services for MS and OS/2 LAN Servers.

I think the current trend to migrate to Linux on the mainframe is entirely consistent with organizations efforts to make the most of the environmental benefits of a large centralized server, along with the ease and openness of Linux. IBM has a massive internal effort, moving something like 3,500 servers.

Can you provide examples of where you think it’s inconsistent Greg?

RedMonk IT Management PodCast #10 thoughts

I’ve been working on slides this afternoon for a couple of projects, and wondering why producing slides hasn’t really gotten any easier in 20-years since Freelance under DOS? Why is it I’ve got a 22 flatscreen monitor as an extended desktop, and I’m using a trackpoint and mouse to move things around, and waiting for Windows to move pixel by pixel…

Anyway, I clicked on the LIBSyn link for the RedMonk IT Management Podcast #10 from back in April for some background noise. In the first 20-mins or so, Cote and John get into some interesting discussion about Power Systems, especially in relation to some projects Johns’ working on. As they joke and laugh their way through an easy discussion, they get a bit confused about naming and training.

First, the servers are called IBM Power Systems, or Power. The servers span from blades to high-end scalable monster servers. They all use the Power PC architecture, instruction set RISC chip. Formally there had been two versions of the same servers, System p and System i.

Three operating systems can run natively on Power Systems, AIX, IBM i (formally i5/OS and OS/400) and Linux. You can run these concurrently in any combination using the native virtualization, PowerVM. Amongst the features of PowerVM is the ability to create Logical Partitions. These are a hardware implementation and hardware protected Type-1 Hypervisor. So, it’s like VMware but not at all. You can get more on this in this white paper. For a longer read, see the IBM Systems Software Information Center.

John then discussed the need for training and the complexity of setting up a Power System. Sure, if you want to run a highly flexible, dynamically configurable, highly virtualized server, then you need to do training. Look at the massive market for Microsoft Windows, VMware and Cisco Networking certifications. Is there any question that running complex systems would require similar skills and training?

Of course, John would say that though, as someone who makes a living doing training and consulting, and obviously has a great deal of experience monitoring and managing systems.

However, many of our customers don’t have such a need, they do trust the tools and will configure and run systems without 4-6 months of training. Our autonomic computing may not have achieved everything we envisaged, but it has made a significant difference. You can use the System Config tool at order time, either alone, with your business partner or IBMer, and do the definition for the system, have it installed and provisioned and up and running within half a day.

When I first started in Power Systems, I didn’t take any classes, was not proficient in AIX or anything else Power related. I was able to get a server up and running from scratch and get WebSphere running business applications having read a couple of redbooks. Monitoring and debugging would have taken more time, another book. Clearly becoming an expert always takes longer, see the wikipedia definition of expert.

ps. John, if you drop out of the sky from 25k ft, it doesn’t matter if the flight was a mile or a thousand miles… you’ll hit the ground at the same speed 😉

pps. Cote I assume your exciting editing session on episode 11, wasn’t so exiciting…

ppps. 15-minutes on travel on Episode #11, time for RedmOnk Travel Podcast


About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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