Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ode to the Mainframe


I unwittingly got a good foundation for a career in tech by taking a Fortran course (complete with punch cards running on a mainframe) at Penn State in an unmentionable year.

CNET and eWeek are both reporting today on IBM's announcement that it will spend $100 million over the next five years to make mainframes easier to use. They also announced the "release of the new z/OS V1.8 on System z operating system." (What happened to the OS/360?)

The mainframe business has been hard hit in recent years by the availability of low-cost, nimble UNIX, Linux and Windows machines. But IBM has jazzed up the Big Iron units, so that today's models can run Linux and Java, for example.

And some customers have turned to server consolidation, finding it easier to run one big box rather than a series of servers. As a result, IBM continues to do solid business on the back of the mainframe, according to eWeek:

In the second quarter, the company saw revenues for the business and the MIPS (million instructions per second) shipped both jump about 7 percent over the same period last year.

You've gotta hand it to the mainframe -- it's tough to beat for sheer power and manageability.

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