back to article IBM Cloud to offer Z-series mainframes for first time – albeit for test and dev

As IBM tries to address allegations it discriminated against older staff, the IT giant has for the first time brought its oldest computing platform – the mainframe – into the age of infrastructure-as-a-service. The 111-year-old tech institution today announced it will offer the Z mainframe platform on the IBM Cloud, by …

  1. stiine Silver badge

    I wonder if they'll have a free tier like AWS does...

    1. dl1jph

      Probably not. Considering just how bad of a job they've been doing in getting educational, testing & dev resources out there that would have been a lot cheaper, I can't help but expect this one will be yet another disaster. It's unfortunate, really, since the platform itself is quite impressive if one ever gets to try it...

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    Irrelevant all round

    Irrelevant company offers irrelevant hardware in irrelevant cloud

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Irrelevant all round

      on accounting techniques they are quite avant-garde...

    2. dboyes

      Re: Irrelevant all round

      Nonsense.

      Have you purchased anything recently or used a credit card or checked your bank balance? A mainframe processed that transaction. It's out there; better learn to deal with it. It ain't going away any time soon.

  3. zForLife

    IBM offered a zCloud IaaS for the last few years, but then offloaded it with Kyndryl. There's been production workloads running on it for quite a while now.

    Sounds like IBM are just trying to recreate it on their public site after they sold it off.

  4. Santa from Exeter

    What's the point?

    I really don't see the point in this, if Big Blue are trying to use this to entice new players into the Mainframe buying scene they are deluded.

    Anyone who needs one already has one, and if they need a T&D stack, they'll have a physical one already.

    The only way we might use this is when we come to refresh our hardware, so IBM would lose out on that side (also lose out on their nice little reselling sideline).

    Colour me Confused.

    1. dboyes

      Re: What's the point?

      It's not so much new customers as it is existing customers that don't rewrite the world for every BS popular trend getting to tell the PHBs "ooh, shiny buzzword compatible!" computing that still gets the paychecks printed on time. Nobody gets hurt, and there's no change is risk for the corporate crowd.

      The point is that the glossy magazines are selling the change of capex spending to opex spending and it's a way for IBM to maintain and market their flagship operating system and hardware to bean counters to cater to that (nonsense) worldview.

  5. The Empress

    I'm sure it's a nightmare from a licensing perspective

    Z series licensing has always been a money printing machine for IBM I wonder how they will ever be able to merge cloud with how they actually make money on Z?

    1. dboyes

      Re: I'm sure it's a nightmare from a licensing perspective

      Since this takes the whole topic of software licensing off the user (if you're willing to accept IBM products for the various tasks), there's no negotiation involved. IBM gets the best deal for them, and you pay a arbitrary price depending on how much processing time and resources you use. Timesharing v.2.

      My only real question is why z/OS plays such a large role (other than the POK z/OS uber alles crowd). The combination of z/VM and Linux is a lot easier to sell and understand to the cloudies; it's more like lots of discrete boxes so you don't have to think about it much.

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    I could have sworn I heard about them doing this years ago

    Just another Mandela Effect thing I guess.

    1. Beleagured Greybeard

      Re: I could have sworn I heard about them doing this years ago

      Yep, "Cloud Managed Services for z" AKA "zCloud" has been around for over 10years. Its running production (and non-prod) mainframe services and workload for many 'famous name' companies.

      IBM offloaded it with the Kyndryl spin, so its odd that they now want to re-invent it under the guise of "IBM Cloud". If its a strategic platform, why didn't they hold onto it instead of spinning it off to Kyndryl?

      Sounds like yet more daft leadership decisions going on at big blue. "Why aren't we doing mainframe in our Cloud"? .... "We were, but we got rid of it with Kyndryl." ... "Ooops! Well we'd better re-invent that wheel then."

  7. ps2os2

    IBM discriminates?

    Approximately 25 years ago, I was in an IBM class for a new offering IBM was about to introduce. The class was a mixture of younger System Programmers. One of the instructors commented that IBM had received many complaints from their customers that they did not like paying extra for system programmers. IBM said OK, we would create a way to install and maintain the operating system so that any programmer can install the operating system. I was (at the time approximately 45 years old and was surprised that anyone could master the installation of an MVS (before zos) system as it truly needs a good understanding of the architecture of IBM hardware and a solid understanding of the software and installation and maintenance of the OS and not to mention debugging of it.

    As the class went on, I could see IBM couldn't come close to saying it had delivered what it said it could. Over the next 20 years, IBM has attempted to offer another "any" programmer who can install and maintain a Zos system. The latest delivery is another attempt to try and dumb down the highly complex duties of a systems programmer. This time IBM has upped the hidden cost" of doing this to several MIPS product that, at best, when you hit enter, you go out for lunch, and the keyboard might be unlocked.

    IBM, IMO, has failed again and will not admit that it takes more than an off-the-street programmer to replace a systems programmer. IBM has set its sights on eliminating Systems Programmers that can only be replaced by education and training. For years IBM has at best a poor record of coming up with education for people who want to be better at I&M and interfacing with management. I am happy I will retire before the so-called new people come in as I have trained many a new Systems Programmer over my 45+ years.

  8. Steve Channell

    Age of infrastructure-as-a-service

    Good headline, but hardly new to the mainframe - mainframes were originally rented, and started the "time share services" decades ago. The service died out for the same reason cloud computing might: cost.

    The enabler will be tiered/delegated RACF

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