"About a month ago, our resident mainframe wizard came to see me
and said he needed some help with a Linux problem. I should point
out that this didn't surprise me. Several mainframe mavens that I
know are very interested in Linux and Java and other new
technologies. I've found the mainframe crowd to be much more open
to new ideas than a lot of my PC-oriented colleagues who think the
world ends at the edge of their LAN. So when Ralph asked me for
Linux help, I assumed he had installed it on a spare PC to play
"Wrong. He had installed it on the company mainframe...."
"Stop and think about this for a second. The VM host operating
system creates thousands of virtual machines, most of which run the
CMS operating environment for normal users. One virtual machine,
however, happens to boot Linux into its virtual hardware instead.
That Linux system is still fully multiuser and multitasking,
though. So I could have dozens of telnet sessions logged into a
single VM Linux virtual system."
"This gets better: nobody ever said you could only run one VM
Linux system at a time. In fact, you can run multiples of Linux
just as you run multiples of CMS. Just imagine one physical
computer with several thousand copies of Linux running on it
simultaneously, and each of these supporting multiple user
connections. Fantasy? I have heard from one system administrator,
David Boyes at Dimension Enterprises, who decided to push the
envelope on this. His test system finally ran out of resources at
41,400 Linux images. That's not a typo -- there were forty-one
thousand copies of Linux running on one logical partition of one
mainframe, under VM. This isn't a practical number for real
work (yet) but it's still impressive as a demonstration of just
what VM can do. David joked about wanting to get some standalone
time on a bigger box -- after all, he didn't have the whole machine
to himself for this little test! Remember those forty thousand
raptors I mentioned in the introduction?"
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