Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Michael Bushong, Pat Romanski, Sharon Barkai, Adrian Bridgwater, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Mainframe: A Resilient Model for the Modern Cloud

The emerging cloud-based model of computing requires systems that can provide fast response times to huge volumes of requests

Technology is moving at a blistering pace. In today's era of data-centric, complex environments where the lines between business and technology are becoming increasingly blurred, organizations are moving beyond virtualization to cloud computing to meet new challenges and keep up with the pace of change. Critical investments are needed to keep companies competitive, and chief among these technologies is cloud computing. In fact, Gartner expects cloud computing to become the bulk of new IT expenditure by 2016. The bottom line is, if you're not already looking at cloud as an essential investment, you're risking your survival into the next era of computing.

The emerging cloud-based model of computing requires systems that can provide very fast response times to huge volumes of requests. And, mission critical services such as healthcare, finance, transportation, public utilities, and other industries require very high levels of availability, security and other industrial-strength capabilities. Those attributes, qualities and requirements make the mainframe the ideal platform for such mission critical cloud-based workloads.

Cloud computing is a modern extension of a concept first developed nearly 50 years ago with the mainframe. The inherent spirit behind mainframe based computing was to serve users in remote locations at the same time, on a pay-as-you-go basis. The mainframe was introduced as the most robust, scalable system ever built, and with continued innovation the system has maintained its leadership status as one of the platforms of choice to handle today's complex workloads including sophisticated public, private and hybrid cloud computing environments. At its core, the mainframe was designed around three key traits - virtualization, standardization and provisioning. Not coincidentally, these are the foundational requirements for true cloud implementation.

Most enterprises today started their cloud journey with low-risk applications and high agility requirements. This approach allows customers to ease into cloud computing, learn and adjust their management of the cloud, and build the confidence to introduce more demanding applications.  The applications tend to use web technologies and architectures that can be scaled on commodity infrastructures, using load balancing and service cloning. Batch workloads that fit with commodity infrastructures are another popular workload on clouds.

For private, public or hybrid clouds, the mainframe can provide the following key requirements:

  • Scalability - users need to scale quickly and efficiently both up and down with complete confidence and zero loss of availability.
  • Reliability - a cloud computing environment that is always accessible with guaranteed application performance, limited to no downtime with provisions for rapid recovery from failure.
  • Multi-Tenancy - allowing multiple users to access software applications on the same system, concurrently and securely, critical for cloud service providers hosting many organizations in a single cloud infrastructure and for enterprises deploying private clouds to manage growth through acquisitions to host multiple companies in the same infrastructure;
  • Cost Efficiency - consolidating a distributed x86 cloud environment onto one mainframe creates a simplified, more efficient environment with reductions in floor space and power requirements, and higher return on investment over the life of the platform;
  • Security - the mainframe has unmatched system security with ensured isolation and protection of each virtual server environment.

Companies across various industries are gaining these advantages and efficiencies by consolidating cloud environments on a mainframe, such as:

By consolidating cloud on a mainframe private cloud solution that replaced thousands of standalone servers for its daily business activities like policy verification, claims processing, and generating customer quotations, Nationwide Insurance has saved 80% in energy and facility costs. The consolidation saved the company roughly $15 million over three years and will only continue to efficiently keep costs down in the future. Additionally, this solution gives them the capacity, processing speeds and reliability to increase the pace of innovation across its products and channels as it continues to grow.

By leveraging the cloud capabilities offered by the mainframe, Marist College was able to extend its business analytics technology to its academic community including researchers and students, while extracting even more value from its IT investments. By providing its analytics technology via cloud, the college has been able to expose analytics tools to a wide variety of programs, including technical disciplines and also business, liberal arts and communications programs so students learn how to apply it to their fields of study. Marist has also realized significant financial benefits, saving roughly $350,000 by using the cloud to support the college's ERP system.

The mainframe, with its shared platform, integration, and secure design attributes combined with continuous innovation, has enabled organizations to stay ahead of changing market dynamics with a solution that embodies efficiency, economics and agility - a resilient solution for today's cloud environment.

More Stories By Jose Castano

Jose Castano is the Director for the System z Growth Initiatives in IBM’s Systems & Technology Group. He has over 25 years of experience within IBM and has held multiple key positions in System z during this tenure.

Jose has worldwide responsibility to drive new workloads on System z. This includes Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, and Security He sets the business and technical strategy and direction for the System z platform. He drives coordination and collaboration of the System z ecosystem, from marketing, sales, business partners, consultants, and most importantly customers; leading the platform through an evolution that maintains leadership and meets customer and industry requirements.

Jose has a team comprised of workload and industry architects (who focus on business trends, market and industry requirements and develop solutions/offerings). Offering managers (who are responsible for the GTM for the solutions/offerings) and ISV managers (who work with our ecosystem to support new and existing workloads). Together, these teams have responsibility for researching, designing, building and maintaining the new workload strategy and its roadmap for IBM System z, driving the plans for the next 3-5 years.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution