Feeds

Linux goes Big Iron

Any old big iron?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

IBM has announced the availability of Linux running natively on its S/390 mainframes, although general availability won't be until the autumn. SuSE and TurboLinux are acting as distributors and first call of support for potential users.

Linux can either takes advantage of the mainframe's logical partitions to run natively, or as a VM/ESA guest operating system on G3 390s and later. IBM added similar capabilities to its AS/400 earlier this year. An implementation of IBM's Java 2 will follow in June, says IBM, and Big Blue has promised to eventually port WebSphere and Tivoli hooks to the platform too.

It's not the first mainframe Unix: Amdahl's continues to update its venerable System V R4 port, UTS. But the two Linux ports - one inside, and one outside IBM - have progressed remarkably quickly.

Since System 390 doesn't even know about ASCII natively, let alone TCP/IP, this is all very clever, but who'd want to use it?

SuSE's HA architect Volker Weigand tells us that in addition to infrastructure uses such as running Apache or sendmail servers, he had customers waiting to evaluate it running SAP R/3. "It's just another platform for us that doesn't require special treatment" says Weigand.

As it stands, S/390 Linux is a few screws short of the full toolbox. It's not possible to failover between partitions - that requires some kind of heartbeat code and IP takeover. Nor as we understand it can you yet perform the kind of load balancing between partitions that you can do with say Red Hat's Piranha.

But on the other hand, that not might matter too much. There's plenty you can do natively on an S/390 that you can't do on a PC or even a lot of PCs. CPUs can be added or removed on the fly. And the System 390's I/O architecture allows you to connect to disks over IBMs fast fibre optic FIBON and ESCON interfaces to distances of up to 30 miles.

Princeton's Virtual Penguin Project is taking advantage of such features, so mainframe Linux will gradually spawn some unique features. Oh, and thanks to the BOCHS emulator it even runs Windows. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.