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Mainframe OpenSolaris Now Available

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Sun Microsystems 135

BBCWatcher writes "When Sun released Solaris to the open source community in the form of OpenSolaris, would anyone have guessed that it would soon wind up running on IBM System z mainframes? Amazingly, that milestone has now been achieved. Sine Nomine Associates is making its first release of OpenSolaris for System z available for free and public download. Source code is also available. OpenSolaris for System z requires a System z9 or z10 mainframe and z/VM, the hypervisor that's nearly universal to mainframe Linux installations. (The free, limited term z/VM Evaluation Edition is available for z10 machines.) Like Linux, OpenSolaris will run on reduced price IFL processors."

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Outstanding! (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414027)

I have a big old z in my basement that I've been itching to upgrade!

Re:Outstanding! (4, Funny)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414193)

The Z10's have a cool look to them. I think they took styling cues from Cray. Not enough blinky lights on the outside, though. Everyone knows a mainframe is supposed to have blinky lights and tape spindles whirrying about.

Blinking lights and tape spindles (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414323)

Trying to make sense of your joke...

Everyone knows a mainframe is supposed to have blinky lights

Is an array of 1,680 by 1,050 blinky lights enough for you?

and tape spindles whirrying about.

You mean like LTO backup [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414381)

Shut the fuck up, pedant. You totally killed the joke.

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (4, Funny)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414883)

No, he means more like this [webmilhouse.com] .

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (4, Informative)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416165)

Maybe I'm missing the joke - but, I'm calling you out.

Lest anyone misconstrue this to be a factual writeup concerning what the future (from a 1950's perspective) holds, let me bust this photo all to hell and back.

This is a picture of a US Submarine Reactor Plant Control Panel. IAUSSSQ. (I Am US Submersible Ship Qualified - A US Submariner.) This pic is simply doctored.

First: This is a picture from a museum - not a computer museum, though - probably a maritime museum. Here's another picture from the same museum.
Ref 1: http://tommcmahon.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/maneuvering.jpg [typepad.com]

Here's a sailor tending to the RPCP - Reactor Plant Control Panel.
Ref 2: http://www.guardfish.org/history/mid_years/images/RPCP3.JPG [guardfish.org]

Second: The 'teletype' is from the 80's - certainly not the 50's. Gotta love the paper in the teletype, too. It just magically appears!! Don't even mention the numerical keypad to the right of the keyboard.

Third: I'm loving that late 50's era TV mounted on the wall where console TVs were designed to be furniture that sits on the floor. And, anyone having owned one of these behemoths can attest, one didn't want to carry those TVs any further than they had to, let alone lift it up over their heads.

Forth: The wheel on the 'computer console.' Home computer.....a wheel? Huh!? Inner wheel: Xloc. Outer wheel: yloc. (LOL)

Fifth: The unfortunate little person cut and pasted into the photo. His size is all wrong for this picture.

This is nothing more than a cut & paste job.

I know. "Buzz kill". "I'm a lot of fun at parties." "I suck."

Move along.

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (1)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416597)

Actually, superfluous lights, knobs, and dials are the point of the joke, so the fact that this image is doctored only proves to strengthen the joke.

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416625)

The picture is known for having suckered more than a few notable websites (popular mechanics, amogn others) into thinking it was real, when in fact it originated in a FARK photoshop thread a couple years ago.

It's a photoshop, and (today) everyone is very aware of it. Except you, apparently.

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416695)

Found it...

http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1115586 [fark.com]

Lukket's image. It went so far as to get debunked by Snopes before the month was out.

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417269)

Well, at least I called it. I was missing the joke! LOL

Thanks for the info! :P

Re:Blinking lights and tape spindles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25416205)

No, he means more like this [webmilhouse.com] .

What is the purpose of the wheel in that photo? Just curious.

Re:Outstanding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414417)

If by 'z' you mean 'prostitute held against her will' then we're so on the same page right now that it's spooky.

or is that a Z80? (3, Funny)

lrohrer (147725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414693)

I have some Z80 boxes in my basement...

Re:Outstanding! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414735)

As I recall, Z80 systems weren't all that big.

Re:Outstanding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414835)

you can buy some of those TI's graphing calculator division ;)

Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414089)

The impact of this will be impossible to measure!

Okay... (3, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414115)

And IBM mainframe running Solaris...
Now I have seen everything. Next AIX on the Sparc.

Re:Okay... (4, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414227)

Well its a "well known fact"* that AIX was copied into linux and linux runs on sparc.

*According to this guy Darl I know. But then again Darl also says that Richard Stallman is a three inches tall and lives in a cigar box under his bed with his invisible unicorn Simon.

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415303)

You leave Simon out of this!!

Re:Okay... (4, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414303)

Well we now have Windows running on Macs so you knew it was just a matter of time before dogs and cats would be living together and Armageddon . . :P

Re:Okay... (2, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414635)

I have a dog and a cat.

Hmm... Armageddon is nigh! Run!

Armageddon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25417597)

There is no Dana, only

Re:Okay... (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415741)

The Z Solaris is POWER architecture code, which isn't to difficult to port to PowerPC. Next up, Solaris on obsolete Mac equipment.

Re:Okay... (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416315)

Uh, no. z/Architecture and POWER have different instruction sets.

Re:Okay... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416475)

Are you sure? System Z is the descendant of System/360 and the latest generation uses Z10 chips. While they share some execution units with the POWER6, they have a completely different instruction set.

Re:Okay... (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416741)

There you go, propping up the IBM hegemony with factual information.

Not surprised at all (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414181)

The way I see it, IBM is in the business of providing so much choice to customers that they need expensive IBM consultants to help them decide.

Microsoft will sell you the Microsoft Way of doing things.

Whereas IBM will say "You want a Active Directory server, a Z mainframe with RedHat, OpenSolaris and Oracle, Cisco switches, and there must be full J2EE buzzword compliance? No problem, just sign here".

Careful to make sure they will actually do the job though, and not outsource it to a bunch of fresh PHP coders in India ;).

This is EPIC because: (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414203)

IBM has a strangle-hold on the high-margin mainframe world. This is causing issues in the Big Blue God Pod right now, be certain.

Re:This is EPIC because: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414363)

Shut up, the last thing IBM has on the mainframe is a stronghold on what it runs. This could be true in the old days but today? The z will run anything from AIX, Linux, z/OS, whatever... now it's OpenSolaris. There is nothing preventing it from running Windows 2003 Server if you want... just adapt it to the z/VM hypervisor.

Windows for System z: Coming 1Q2009 (4, Interesting)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414561)

Someone is already working [mantissa.com] on bringing Microsoft Windows to the mainframe. Who could have imagined.

Windows on the mainframe (4, Funny)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414801)

The killer app will be the Big Blue Screen of Death.

Re:Windows for System z: Coming 1Q2009 (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415189)

It's probably not a purists idea of a mainframe but HP's Integrity Superdome [wikipedia.org] is also able to run Windoze.

Someone is already working [mantissa.com] on bringing Microsoft Windows to the mainframe. Who could have imagined.

Re:This is EPIC because: (5, Insightful)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414375)

How so? If customers have a need for Solaris, would IBM rather see them go buy some Sparc gear from Sun, or a few extra processors for their System z complex?

Re:This is EPIC because: (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414519)

Actually they are jumping for joy.
Now if a Solaris shop needs some big Iron IBM can walk right in and sell a Z to them.
If an IBM shop wants Solaris then IBM can say hey no need to by Sun hardware just put in on your Z.
This is a happy day in Armonk.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414825)

All spelling and grammar errors are intentional. Grammar Nazis' need entertainment.

That should be "grammatical" and "Nazis" (no apostrophe).

Thank you for the entertainment.

Re:This is EPIC because: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414923)

You would be right, except that an IFL costs as much as a medium sized house in Nebraska, but does less than a $300 Intel processor (and I'm even talking about the new z10s). I would suggest that it's cost effective to buy the distributed hardware anyway.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415199)

Bingo.

This is a way to migrate away from Z's - not to them.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416721)

That would be one weird migration - first, we will install a brand new (unstable) OS, then we will port our stable apps to it (more instability), then when all that is working we will move to unstable hardware.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415215)

Mainframes customers want ironclad reliability and vertical scalability. Cost effective distributed computing is nice, but it's doesn't satisfy all computing needs.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416827)

I'm glad someone gets it. Cheap beige boxes can't be all things to all people.

Re:This is EPIC because: (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417159)

Exactly. IBM mainframes just run and run. You can swap out memory and CPUs without taking the system down. You measure uptimes by the year not by the hour or day.
People don't buy a mainframe because they are stupid they do it because they have looked at the options and this is the best solution for their problem.

Of of the errors that IBM made was when they thought that the PC was an experiment. If they had only known that it would be a standard I would bet money that it would have used the 360 ISA and not the 8088.

Don't get too excited (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25414499)

Solaris only works on Apple Mac Supercomputeres. Plus it is not for Christians who believe in God and also Jesus Christ. Because if you use Microsotf you are not a Jew or a Mohammadean infedil. Please everyone remember to cast your votes for McKaner or OBOMA. They are Christians who love Jesus and Unixes of the Holy GHOST.

Re:Don't get too excited (0, Offtopic)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414549)

I know you're joking... but fuck, thoughts like that are damned scary

Re:Don't get too excited (1)

Phydeaux314 (866996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414631)

That post reads like those Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap bottles.

Re:Don't get too excited (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415015)

I bought three cases of that, you insensitive clod!

Re:Don't get too excited (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414673)

Solaris only works on Apple Mac Supercomputeres.

No, that'll only be true after Apple buys Sun, which by my calculations would require approximately 15 minutes of iPod sales revenue.

Re:Don't get too excited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25416885)

please share your calculations for the rest of us

Re:Don't get too excited (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415135)

Mark V. Shaney [lkml.org] is that you?

Solaris only works on Apple Mac Supercomputeres. Plus it is not for Christians who believe in God and also Jesus Christ. Because if you use Microsotf you are not a Jew or a Mohammadean infedil. Please everyone remember to cast your votes for McKaner or OBOMA. They are Christians who love Jesus and Unixes of the Holy GHOST.

IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414583)

Seriously, I've run Suse 10 on an IFL engine. It's so slow, I don't know how anyone could run anything serious on it. I have an old laptop that matches or exceeds the performance in about every measurable way. Mainframe Linux and now Mainframe Solaris is a joke.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414871)

Seriously, I've run Suse 10 on an IFL engine. It's so slow, I don't know how anyone could run anything serious on it.

That's why their called 'z's zzzzz zzzzz zzzzz....

No, seriously, mainframes aren't about performance. They're about stability. Think about 16-core server with 40 GB of RAM running Solaris, AIX or Linux as a Ferrari Testerosa, while the Z10 is more like Abrams M1A1. Not as fast the Testerosa, but pretty quick for something that weights over 60 metric tons....

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414963)

Stability. That's what everyone always comes back with, but it seems like the Mainframe side of my company has as many unplanned outages as the distributed side. Not to mention we run circles around them in terms of data processing.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415107)

Got any data to back this up? Usually I find people who say such things have a distorted view of reality. Not saying that you do, but I hear people say that and almost none of them have real evidence with which to backup their statement.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415555)

From what I've seen, weekly IPLs seems to be close to standard practice within the mainframe world. With a reboot frequency like that you're not going to even see most stability issues.

Has it even become possible to switch to and from daylight savings yet without rebooting the mainframe?

almost none of them have real evidence with which to backup their statement.

Yes, well, rather like mainframe benchmarks, eh?

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (2, Interesting)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416457)

I doubt there's a reason for the IPLs (reboots). If your mainframe operators are doing it, they're probably just doing it because (seriously) somebody had a memory leak 30 years ago and that was how they "fixed" it. And nobody bothered to update the procedures manual. Nor did anybody ask them, "Hey, can we improve the SLA (Service Level Agreement) here?" "Sure boss, I'll just stop IPLing. Let's try skipping the next one." That's usually how that conversation goes, seriously.

In fact, if you've got a Coupling Facility and two or more LPARs (partitions), even on a single machine, then you can reboot either of them as often as you want and no users will care. Transactions keep humming in CICSplex and IMSplex, databases keep running with DB2 data sharing, etc. If your operators haven't implemented that, that's their choice (or negligence?), not the technology's.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415167)

With all due respect, your mainframe people must be idiots. Nothing comes close to big iron in terms of processing capabilities and uptime.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415259)

That's a distinct possibility. It's something I have believed for quite a while...

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415469)

Heh. Think about this: At a former client of mine (your typical $LARGE_CORP) they had three physical boxes, I forget how many sysplexes and a number of LPAR instances. Two LPARs (one each ona separate physical box) where responsible for production (one hot, one spare). Between them they had something like seven years of actual service uptime.

I'll never cease to be amazed at that culture and how different it is from ours. Changing a network card (or whatever) on those things required a gaggle of IBM consultants ($230/hr baby), three months of planning and a budget that would put most of my projects to shame.

Still, you have to sit there in awe when one of those old farts tells you about how they can swap out processors without shutting down the machine.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415311)

If a mainframe doesn't have damned near 100% uptime then someone needs to be fired. Those things just don't break. Hell, they phone the service engineer for you *before* they break and you suddenly get the IBM guy turn up on the doorstep with a replacement CPU (which is hotswapped.. no downtime).

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415379)

It's not the hardware fails, it's the third party software that fails.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417661)

Ahh. Well then that is your problem. That shouldn't happen at all. Also when you talk about through put you should look at strengths of the two systems.
If you are doing anything with a lot of floating point. The Zmachine will lose to Intel every time. If you want to do that then get one of the Big Power boxes, a bunch of X86, or one of the big Itantium boxes with a lot of cores.
If you are doing millions of database transactions and you want to make sure that it NEVER goes down. Get a Zmachine with an application that wasn't written by an idiot.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415443)

If this is true then your mainframe guys need to be fired ASAP.

It used to be a standing joke that nobody got fired for buying IBM but they did if it EVER went down unplanned.

Also the throughput on a mainframe is truly astounding. I hate to think just how bad the software must be for a mainframe to be considered slow!

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415101)

Stability and I/O (particularly disc) bandwidth. Very important.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415169)

Right. I forgot the part about I/O bandwidth. It's more about the utilization rates than about the speed of any one task/transaction/etc.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415591)

That having been said, the next logical step would be to compare the amount of compensation that mainframe operators are getting versus that of other server operators.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

samsonov (581161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415941)

Mainframes are typically for number crunching apps. I had to run some comparisons and for the RHEL5/WebSphere Process Server (ESB) combination we ran - it was keeping up quite well with transactions. I had to pull them back when the business was suggesting to run their web server there. The cost was not justified.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (2, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414961)

Your laptop can meet or exceed the IO performance? How about the memory access performance? Your laptop has MTBF measured in decades? Or by 'every measurable way' do you mean simple CP performance? These machines are not about CP performance.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415023)

Yes, even the IO performance which was surprising to me. It's running on an older Mainframe, i.e. not a new Z10, but still. Granted, I'm totally at the mercy of the Mainframe admins that control DASD access. It doesn't matter though, even if I had faster IO, you still have to have the CPU to process the data once it's been retrieved. My tests showed that the CPU spent less time in IO wait, but they were so slow to do anything else, it didn't matter.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415291)

I call complete BS. If you are 'at the mercy' of the mainframe admins, I seriously doubt that they purchased an IFL just for you to play with (they cost $125K), gave you access to the HMC so you can IPL the thing, but did not let you have input into the I/O setup. More likely they gave you a VM userid that you used to IPL Linux in, and you were competing for resources with a few thousand other users. Or maybe they were generous and gave you an LPAR, so you were only getting a portion of the machine (probably capped).

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415345)

No, they purchased an IFL. Not with the intention of me playing with it, but with the intention of running DB2. Sales people convinced them this was a good idea. From our testing, it's completely unacceptable.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415475)

I know you mainframe folks think they're fast, but, um...

They're not. There's no magic. They're expensive CISC(ish) chips running at 1.7-4.4 Ghz, depending on the model, and aren't much faster than you'd expect from that. Yes, they have well-above-average RAS features and bandwidth, but at $100K/core (ok, that's retail, you'll get a discount) it just doesn't matter; there are almost no jobs where they're cost-effective.

And yes, a new top-of-the-line notebook will very likely smoke a Z9 single-engine IFL on a random benchmark. The Z10 might make it interesting...

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415613)

Let me guess, your "tests" were based on you plugging into a single address space that was allocated to you by your mainframe group, hence you were only testing the resources your one session has been allocated.

    That's hardly testing what a mainframe is capable of.. There were probably thousands of sessions running with the same allocations as your address space was.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415441)

From what I've seen in a SAN in a mixed environment, it certainly isn't the mainframe that's exposing the FC bottlenecks. It's a long time ago that the mainframe had any special hardware.

Frankly, I've heard so many sales pitches for so long that there's only one thing that matters. Publish the benchmarks or it's just hot air.

In the case of mainframes I haven't seen any serious benchmarks for more than a decade. I expect performance to be entirely predictable from that point only.

Re:IFL? Haha, what a joke. (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415509)

Exactly.

Solaris Rocks (1)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414703)

Ive never seen a System Z, and then only Sun boxes I've ever seen in real life are the ones I've owned. But from my experience with Solaris, and Sparc, Its the best damn arch/OS ever made. Im a big Linux fan (my /. nickname is a joke ;) ) But if it were up to me, id run everything Sun Way to go boys! now, There real Question is: Solaris and System z: How well does it run crysis ;)

Excellent (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 5 years ago | (#25414725)

I'd still like to see Solaris and/or BSD come to the IBM Power Systems line. I think it'd be pretty cool to run Solaris or *BSD in an LPAR next to i5/OS and/or AIX.

Processors law of five... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415173)

The law of five:

An average X86 processor: $5000 (you get the box with it)
An average Unix Processor $25000
An average zLinux Processor $12500

IBM will be pleased to serve

Re:Processors law of five... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415987)

Mistake: the zLinux processor is $125000 not $12500!!! plus RAM and disks and zVM license cost extra. sounds like fun project, but there are more fun ways to waste money

ok, and where's an app that runs on it??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415365)

So wouldn't you have to recompile all your apps to use it? Seems pointless - you may as well compile them for Linux - it's the same effort... and future proof.

Re:ok, and where's an app that runs on it??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415621)

Solaris is nicer than Linux in a lot of ways. dtrace for example. Better performance under high loads. Better throughput. Linux was designed for consumer level x86 hardware and it's improved a lot since then (and will continue to do so) but Solaris kicks its ass on beefed up hardware.

You Recompile Anyway (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415813)

SPARC and X86 are recompiles from each other already, never mind 32-bit v. 64-bit. z/Architecture is now another choice. Which is why OpenSolaris for System z will be of primary interest to companies that have their own in-house applications available to recompile. (Vendor applications are another question, at least initially.)

Yes, you could move from Solaris to Linux, and many people do. Some people don't want to. This is another choice. You can run multiple operating systems (including Linux) concurrently on a mainframe of course, and almost 100% of mainframe owners do. So you can mix and match. Run DB2 on z/OS and your in-house C/C++ application on OpenSolaris on the same machine, as one example.

Re:You Recompile Anyway (1)

aedil (68993) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415995)

The question is of course who will be providing "vendor" support for things like the programming tools (compiler, linker, debugger, ...) given that it looks like the code changes that were needed to accomplish OpenSolaris on zSeries have not been integrated into the upstream repositories of those packages? Forked programming tools are a big concern, unless someone can truly commit to ensuring that the fork can be kept up to date with ongoing upstream development, or if the changes actually do get integrated in the upstream anyway.

Re:You Recompile Anyway (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416533)

Looks like upstream integration is the intention at least. OpenSolaris.org is hosting the current source.

Re:You Recompile Anyway (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417437)

Sine Nomine isn't a terrible consulting company, either.

I worked for a company that used their services to help us design and implement a fairly major project. They had one guy come to us onsite and another guy help him out with the planning. Their solution wasn't the flashiest. It wasn't the newest tech. It probably wasn't the absolute fastest, and certainly wasn't the most vertically scalable. It scaled really well horizontally, though, and was really reliable.

Despite a higher hourly rate and higher travel expenses than some, their quote was on the low side over all. They knew enough to get the job done in a reasonable manner in a short period of time.

Based on my past experience with them, I'd probably trust them for support on any fork they released. It's always nice when the code goes back to the core project and others are willing to support it, too. Sine Nomine is probably a good choice if you can afford them, though, since they did the work on the port.

Solaris COBOL? (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415701)

Or maybe Java with plain text paragraphs?

IBM has been there before (1)

greed (112493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415717)

When the PowerPC CPU was first introduced, everyone was going to play on the new platform. IBM AIX was trivial, of course, because the PowerPC is based on the POWER CPU. But there was Windows NT 3.51, Mac OS of course, and this thing from Sun called Solaris.

Sun decided to stay with their own chips and then branched out to Intel x86 and AMD64, Microsoft eventually went back to an all-Intel code base (dropping Alpha support as well). The real killer for those boxes? IBM's port of OS/2 failed. Failed hard. ('Cause they did a top-down port: GUI first.) The PowerPC survived only in Macs, RS/6000s, and a bazillion embedded devices.

This time, though, I think the Series z machines will stick around, even without an OS/2 port. Gotta give Sun credit for trying the IBM thing again.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25416151)

SUN did port Solaris to Power; I don't think it was released (the "ifdefs" were in Solaris 8).

The current port is OpenSolaris to z. No involvement of SUN. It was done "because it can be" -- the power of Open Source.

Re:IBM has been there before (1)

dboyes99 (1388249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417341)

Except it wasn't Sun or IBM's idea.

Sun and IBM were bystanders. SNA did it alone, with no development assistance from either.

Typical sales call (1)

theendlessnow (516149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415747)

Customer: Hello, IBM, I want to run *ix on my mainframe.

IBM: Sure. Are you wanting Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

Customer: Sorry, I meant Unix...

IBM: Sure. So you are wanting Unix System Services?

Customer: No I want to run that new openSolaris on it.

IBM: Let me get this straight, you are wanting to run an unsupported hobbiest Unix variant on your multi-million dollar mainframe, correct?

Customer: Uhh... no, I want openSolaris... oh... wait a minute, I see your point. ... pause ....

Customer: What were those Linux choices again? ....

Re:Typical sales call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415863)

customer: I really want the port by 3 guys in a basement and no applications. thats the answer

Re:Typical sales call (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416637)

IBM: "Open source? Let me transfer you to our Global Technology Services organization who would be happy to write you a very special support contract at a fair price. They'll support just about anything you can imagine, including whole business processes. Would you like them to take over welfare payments, digital TV transition consumer rebate processing, and backoffice call center support functions too?"

Does Herclues run this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415877)

title says it all really

Re:Does Herclues run this? (1)

grigori (676336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416175)

no. gotta have a z9 or z10. it wont work on a z800 or z900 either.

Kind of open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25415911)

So, this is OpenSolaris, and there is a link provided for source code. But at the same time, the release notes state:

-------
IBM Restriction: Cannot Update Initial Ramdisk

IBM has requested that no source or other materials be included in the
distribution of phase 4. Without these materials, the initial ramdisk
and boot loaded contents cannot be changed, only rewritten to a new
minidisk.
-------

So, is this materials that are open source or not? I'm very curious why IBM would be requesting something as crucial as the boot loader and initial ramdisk to *not* be included in a way where source code can be investigated and/or modified, etc...

Maybe the original poster could at least have indicated that it's just not quite completely open source. Yet?

Re:Kind of open source? (1)

grigori (676336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416091)

this tells you all you need to know about the whole project

Re:Kind of open source? (1)

adamthornton (101636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417093)

Hey, good eyes.

You'll notice that the release notes also refer to "phase 4" in a number of places.

The current awstape image is "phase 6"; we're revising the documentation. That paragraph no longer exists. Do what you like with the loader, including preparing your own ramdisk. The source is available from Sun; just follow the links on the page.

Phase 4 was a non-public release, which did not, in fact, come with source code. Phase 6 is the first public release. Knock yourselves out.

Adam

Re:Kind of open source? (1)

dboyes99 (1388249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417135)

Relax, people. Keep in mind that this was NOT an IBM or Sun project -- they were dealing with an outside entity who was doing the work, and was working with copyrighted intellectual property not owned by IBM. During development, we were working with some internal IBM people doing testing. For reasons that should be obvious to anyone who's been conscious and following the IT news during the last few years, IBM did not want to see ANY source code for ANYTHING lest they be accused of stealing it. That paragraph was left in the release notes by accident. The entire source is posted on opensolaris.org according to the requirements of the CDDL and the rules of the game. It *is* fully and completely open source. David Boyes Sine Nomine Associates

Enough of the Slashdot Luddites (4, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416189)

Every time a mainframe story comes up on Slashdot we seem to get the skeptics who point out that an X86 processor core can add or multiply two numbers (stored in registers anyway) about as fast as a single System z10 core, at least as long as they're integers. (z10s have hardware decimal floating point.) Based on this brilliant SPECint-y observation, combined with the fact that a System z10 EC Linux processor has an advertised one-time charge of $125K, these "experts" thus conclude that no one could possibly buy a mainframe because it's just so darn expensive. (Note that's one-time charge, folks: if you do a hardware model upgrade typical IBM practice is to charge you something for the frame swap but not to charge you again for turning on the processors.) Of course, in the same discussion people don't bother to explain why the same argument also holds for SPARC CPUs. Heck, why not run business applications on Sony Playstation 3s or ARMs? They're even "cheaper."

May I humbly point out that IBM just posted (yesterday) another record quarter for mainframe sales. Revenues were up 25 percent, with double digit growth in every region of the world. Because prices are higher? No, the opposite: shipped capacity was up 49 percent; specialty capacity (including Linux processors) was up 120 percent. And IBM has been posting quarters like this for years now. This mainframe stuff is wildly successful and gaining marketshare.

Why? Because, with all due respect, you're an idiot if you stop your careful business case analysis at the first sentence above. Unless you're running SETI@Home, rendering the next Pixar movie, or simulating nuclear explosions, business applications across many users just don't run that way. Companies (particularly CFOs) and big data center managers are not (generally) idiots. They buy this stuff because it works wonderfully and because it's cost-effective, taking all costs into consideration. Think $125K (once) is a lot of money? What's your salary, dude? Who are the richest single human beings in the software industry, and did they get that way because software is free? And how much did it cost the London Stock Exchange when they couldn't trade? Are you the guy who wants to explain why you have to build another $20M data center because you can't power or cool yet another X86 chip? In the real world, there are single companies running hundreds of these mainframe CPUs. And they run at 80%+ busy 24 hours a day, by the way.

Honestly, there are way too many Slashdotters who are much more the stubborn non-thinkers that they probably accused mainframe-skilled people of being a few years ago. It's a different world: grow up. The boring but wonderful truth is that -- surprise! -- different servers are good at different things! Intel/AMD X86 servers are useful in certain ways, and so are System z servers. Even in the same data center. Wow, what a concept!

Re:Enough of the Slashdot Luddites (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25416911)

Even discounting all of the good points you've made, System/Z has one other advantage. It's a direct descendant of System/360 and still runs software written in 1960 without a recompile. The same mainframe can now also run virtual Linux and Solaris instances. Sure, you could run something like Hercules on your x86 machine, but who would support it, and would you trust it on that bit of critical software that has been supporting your business for almost fifty years?

Re:Enough of the Slashdot Luddites (1)

FreakerSFX (256894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417687)

Part of the reason for the sales line is also that people are finding it impossible to move their code off of mainframes. You need to continue to support the environment, and that means upgrades. Plus, as long as it's sitting there, a lot of CIOs feel they should try to leverage it more or add some pizazz. We had a Linux partition on our box for 2 years that never even was installed with the OS. Our mainframe team wouldn't let anyone touch it and they didn't know anything about Linux.

Our shop still has PL/1 code (unsupported though it is) and utterly failed at moving it to a smaller platform. Large *NIX boxes can indeed see mainframe RAS and throughput, yet we can't get our developers to consider building new applications because the cost of redevelopment dwarfs any hardware or maintenance costs.

We don't necessarily want to keep it (our mainframe support team is aging rapidly and just try to find young people taking mainframe courses who don't work for IBM) but we can't get rid of it. That leads to a sure-fire upgrade every 3-4 years.

Also - if anyone had reference numbers to the throughput of various mainframe models - please feel free to post a link. I have not ever been able to find anything comparable to mid-range systems.

An inexpensive Sun M5000 can do 16GB/s on the I/O bus and has a peak cpu/mem throughput of 64GB/s - that's not bad at all. If you go for their bigger boxes, the numbers become pretty amazing. How does this compare to the z-series line?

Re:Enough of the Slashdot Luddites (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25417777)

Of course, in the same discussion people don't bother to explain why the same argument also holds for SPARC CPUs.

Decent analysis, apart from this one tiny flaw. SPARCs have traditionally competed in areas where there is a lot of crossover. Indeed, a lot of SPARC's business post-2000 has been eaten for breakfast by x86, and x86 running on Linux. This is why Sun has suffered more than most at the hands of x86 and Linux. SPARC simply cannot keep up with x86 for performance, and although PowerPCs and other processors have backed themselves into a decent enough niche that you have adequately explained, the clock is ticking. Why? Because there is nowhere else for those processors and hardware platforms to go. They're reliable enough in lots of areas that really matter, but they aren't going to improve elsewhere at anywhere near the same rate.

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