Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jan 2010 16:08 UTC
Oracle and SUN "Several of the concerns about Oracle's acquisition of Sun have revolved around how Unix technologies led by Sun would continue under the new ownership. As it turns out, Solaris users might not have much to worry about, as Oracle executives on Wednesday affirmed their commitment to preserving the efforts. In the case of Solaris, Oracle had already been a big supporter of the rival Linux operating system. Oracle has its own Enterprise Linux offering, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the idea that Linux and Solaris are mutually exclusive is a false choice."
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irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm not a fanboy of Linux anymore than of Unix. Instead, I just tried to bring another point to the discussion to balance the discussion. Personally I would have nothing against Unix like Solaris being used more on top super computers too, but the Linux trend there is just clear.

Also, there are many types of and uses for high-end servers, mainframes, clusters and super computers and those classifications are not exclusive but may overlap. However, it is true, especially in history, that big mainframe computers have often come with a Unix OS. But - like can be seen as a general trend in super computers predicting wider change in other high-end computing too - that has started to change too.

Edit: "UNIX arose as a minicomputer operating system; Unix has scaled up over the years to acquire some mainframe characteristics." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainframe_computer A similar kind of development has been happening with Linux nowadays.

What are the exact arguments if someone claims that a general kind of OS good and reliable enough for, say, a cluster based super computer used for expert systems, business predictions, weather modelling, space research etc. today couldn't be a good OS choice for a high-end mainframe too (and vice versa)?

Edited 2010-01-31 00:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


What are the exact arguments if someone claims that a general kind of OS good and reliable enough for, say, a cluster based super computer used for expert systems, business predictions, weather modelling, space research etc. today couldn't be a good OS choice for a high-end mainframe too (and vice versa)?


Well the general OS is going to require a lot more planning and coercion to solve a problem over many computers. In theory an OS designed for parallel programming can act as a single machine for any type of problem. You can sort of do this with a general purpose OS but it won't be as efficient, especially if the hardware is designed for parallel processing.

But if you look at a lot of the problems that require parallel processing then you'll find that many of them can be solved just fine with a room filled with cheap x64 boxes running a standard OS. A lot of it boils down to cost efficiency, parallel OS gains can easily be trumped by a standard OS making use of x64 commodity pricing.

Note that I'm not talking about Linux vs Solaris here, just theory.

Reply Parent Score: 2

SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Thing is, UNIX is no where near stable and secure enough for the Mainframe. UNIX like AIX and Solaris are great for big iron and the odd mainframe LPAR (which will be perfectly happy to run Linux too) but if IBM swapped zOS out for AIX on all of it's mainframes and started using a virtualized environment to run all the then legacy MVS code, their customers would A) Throw a hissy fit and B) Probably sue them.

Mainframes are the most closed environment in computing and although I dislike MS and Apple's way of doing business, they both pale in comparison to IBM and the Mainframe. Every one of those machines are hooked up to an external phone line that will phone home the minute you reach 91% CPU usage. What happens is the reserve CPUs will kick in and you will be billed for the added system usage and let me tell you, the renting of a mainframe is not cheap.

But all in all, the hardware costs are nothing compared to the price of software on zOS. This is why you now see zLinux and IBM wanting to port Solaris over. It's a win/win for them as first off, customers want to be able to run a fully supported, cheap open source stack in a sandboxed environment and secondly, it means more people will find the Mainframe more attractive and flexible. For example, the cost of Websphere for zOS is something like 100 times that of Webspere for linux. With Thomcat on zLinux, you pay for the support.

In the end though, if the underlying MVS system, with it's almost bullet proof security and total reliability, where no longer present, the mainframe would lose it's biggest selling points.

Reply Parent Score: 2