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Stayin' alive: Ten years of Linux on the mainframe

Jun 30, 2010, 08:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Timothy Prickett Morgan)

" It would be hard to find two technologies that would seem to be more diametrically opposed in the data center than the IBM mainframe and the open source Linux operating system. But the combination of the two, which then-IBM president and now IBM chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano championed (or more precisely, gets credit for championing within Big Blue regardless of whose idea it may have been), saved the System z mainframe business.

"Saved it from what, you ask? Well, not from immediate economic oblivion. Given the entrenched nature of COBOL and CICS transaction processing applications, batch workloads, and DB2 and IMS databases underpinning heaven only knows what at some 6,000 to 7,000 mainframe shops worldwide, it would be very hard to replace mainframes. As the proprietary and Unix system vendors who have been trying for decades have learned. But they have crunched the mainframe hardware business, which accounted for $13.1bn in revenues in 1989, before the bottom dropped out thanks to a recession that in turn caused a mainframe consolidation and Unix frenzy."

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