Registered: 1428588563 Posts: 67
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IBM quit making PCs in 2005, and it quit making servers last year. But it looks like Big Blue will keep pumping out its mainframes forever.
On Tuesday, IBM launched the z13, which it bills as the first mainframe specifically designed to accommodate the booming mobile app economy. Mainframes—the refrigerator-sized, pre-PC computers beloved of government, corporations, and Tron—were long synonymous with IBM, which introduced its first mainframe in 1952. The company has long since reinvented itself as a provider of business services rather than hardware. But it turns out the old standby is still around.
The first mainframes were designed to serve Cold War clients like the US Department of Defense. (Its first mainframe, the IBM 701, was known as the Defense Calculator while under development.) The mainframe of today is designed to serve a very different world—and economy.
Registered: 1433992552 Posts: 89
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Mainframes are great for very large corporations. In other words, it is the right size tool for the job. As long as those corporations keep shelling out the dough, I'm sure IBM will be willing to continue making them. That said, smaller companies may be able to make do with smaller cheaper systems. I use to think that the customer decided what kind of platform they wanted, then bought or wrote software to run on that platform. However, I've discovered it is really the software vendor that decides what platform their customers will buy to run their solutions.
I work for a hospital. I'm not in management, but I'm fairly certain management does not really care what platform the hospital software runs on, as long as the doctors, nurses, administrators, etc. are satisfied with results. For well over a decade, the hospital used Siemens software that ran on the mainframe. A number of years ago, Siemens decided to create a Windows based system. The platform would be changing from the mainframe to PCs, and the hospital was perfectly happy with that. However, when the various Obama Care laws became effective, the hospital decided that they needed to switch a.s.a.p. to hospital software that meet the new requirements and not wait on Siemens. They decided on EPIC (which does not run on the mainframe). I thought would have been really nice to choose software that ran on the mainframe, because they already had several mainframes. But they chose the best software and were willing to buy whatever hardware was required to run it. Or in other words, the software vendor chose the platform. Let me explain…
EPIC clearly specifies what hardware EPIC is certified to run on. I cannot see any reason why EPIC could not be ported to the mainframe, other than EPIC simply does not want to. And I seriously doubt that anyone could convince EPIC to port their software to the mainframe. I think the many other software vendors are like EPIC, they specify what hardware they solutions need to run on, and expect their customers to buy it. So why would a software vendor want to develop their software for a mainframe, when they can successfully convince their customers to buy cheaper hardware.
Registered: 1427341674 Posts: 136
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The end user should not know or care what machines their services run on. The should only care that they get the service they need. The main principles should be cost and service. I agree with zboxassist that it is the software vendors who have determined the platforms to use. However a time will come when the logic inherent in productive software will become independent of the hardware on which it runs. I personally like the design architecture of the z/13 but do not think it will become a regular corporate machine for any but a handful of larger users and service providers. In fact I believe that eventually all of those things we think of as mainframe services will be provided as a service and that there will be very little need for individual corporations to run their own.