Linked by snydeq on Fri 12th Aug 2011 03:55 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes InfoWorld's Galen Gruman highlights 18 technologies that remain core to the computing experience for IT, engineers, and developers 25 to 50 years since their inception. From Cobol, to the IBM mainframe, to C, to x86, these high-tech senior citizens not only keep kicking but provide the foundations for many vital systems that keep IT humming.
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RE[3]: Infoworld
by Kebabbert on Fri 12th Aug 2011 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Infoworld"
Kebabbert
Member since:
2007-07-27

So Linus Torvalds incorporated GNU into its Linux operating system?

That is another reason why I don't click on Infoworld links. They write complete crap.

Yes, that is questionable. It would be better to say that Linus Torvalds created the first GNU distro. Earlier, there were no kernel for the GNU operating system - so the finish student Linus Torvalds filled in that gap and created the first GNU distro. Then other GNU/Linux distros spawned, of course.



Regarding IBM Mainframes, it always surprises me that they still live, as the IBM Mainframe cpus are much slower than a fast x86 cpu. And the biggest IBM Mainframe z196 have 24 of these slow cpus, and it costs many 10s of million USD. If you have a 8-socket x86 server with Intel Westemere-EX then you have more processing power than the biggest z196 IBM Mainframe. You can emulate IBM Mainframes on you laptop with the open source emulator TurboHercules.

Here is the z196 cpu, which IBM dubbed "Worlds fastest cpu" last year. It has 5.26GHz and almost half a GB of cache (L1+L2+L3), but still it is much slower than a fast x86 cpu. How could IBM fail so miserably with the z196 transistor budget?
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/32414.wss



And the old COBOL. It's not particularly sexy or hot. It is boring and ugly, only used on old dinosaurs (i.e Mainframes).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Infoworld
by broken_symlink on Fri 12th Aug 2011 12:24 in reply to "RE[3]: Infoworld"
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06


And the old COBOL. It's not particularly sexy or hot. It is boring and ugly, only used on old dinosaurs (i.e Mainframes).


Thats why there are tons of cobol jobs available right now.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Infoworld
by Doc Pain on Fri 12th Aug 2011 20:31 in reply to "RE[4]: Infoworld"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Thats why there are tons of cobol jobs available right now.


If you're lucky, you're the one who writes the salary into the working contract. :-)

COBOL is a language that suffers from the fact that nearly nobody can (or wants to) remember it. It's not in the scope of university or professional education. Those who are skilled in it are "old men" today. There are only few young people willing and able to code in COBOL, as it doesn't seem very attractive at first sight. But the number on the bill may justify diving more into that language that is a domain of the "greybeards". That's why it's traditionally not considered "modern" and therefore uninteresting. It still runs many important infrastructures which their users and owners are possibly about to lose control of. So they are willing to spend interesting amounts of money for those who can keep the things running.

Now try to guess what this is:

Eytsh. Eff input, I pee ieh, eff, eighty eighty ... (pause) read fourty. Eff output, oh, vee, hundredthirtytwo hundredthirtytwo, of printer.
I input, ah ah, zero one. I ... (long pause) ... one twelve hello. Oh output, tee, two, ell err. Oh ... (pause) hello twelve.

Got it?

It's RPG (Report Program Generator), a programming language that's also still around. You find it in accounting and rental services. If I remember correctly, this one even dates back to the 50's. The example above is "hello world".

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Infoworld
by zima on Fri 12th Aug 2011 12:25 in reply to "RE[3]: Infoworld"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Mainframes are supposedly about throughput of many concurrent transactions, I/O; lots of stuff is offloaded to coprocessors. Central Processing Unit seems to have slightly different meaning in them (mainframes don't really seem to be strictly about raw CPU crunching)

Then there are claims about reliability, on-line repairs and upgrades, verifiability (they seem to basically do everything two times and compare the results, at minimum? That ought to slow things down), or security (apparently stemming from few choices about overall architecture of the machines; also can't help, at the least, with raw CPU number crunching)

Edited 2011-08-12 12:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Infoworld
by Kebabbert on Sat 13th Aug 2011 10:22 in reply to "RE[4]: Infoworld"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Mainframes are supposedly about throughput of many concurrent transactions, I/O; lots of stuff is offloaded to coprocessors. Central Processing Unit seems to have slightly different meaning in them (mainframes don't really seem to be strictly about raw CPU crunching)

Yes, but maybe we can agree that IBM Mainframes have slow cpus, inferior to x86 cpus. So, you dont buy IBM Mainframes for their cpus, because they are not suited for raw number crunching. Any cheap x86 cluster is much faster at raw number crunching.


Then there are claims about reliability, on-line repairs and upgrades, verifiability (they seem to basically do everything two times and compare the results, at minimum? That ought to slow things down), or security (apparently stemming from few choices about overall architecture of the machines; also can't help, at the least, with raw CPU number crunching)

Yes, IBM has made lot of claims. For instance, the biggest Mainframe can virtualize 1.500 x86 servers. I dug more into this, and it turned out that IBM assumed all x86 servers idle, and the Mainframe is 100% loaded. That makes sense, because if any x86 server start to do some work, then the Mainframe can not cope with the fast x86 cpus.

But in my opinion, this is false marketing. Because I can boot up 10 mainframes on my PC. But it would be false of me to say "my PC can virtualize 10 IBM Mainframes". Dont you agree?

Also, there are claims that IBM Mainframes can handle 400.000 clients. I would not be surprised if IBM assume all clients to idle, and only a few of them does real work. Judging from the example above.

Regarding the Mainframes reliability. One of the largest train installation in Scandinavia: the CEO said "our IBM mainframe crashed recently, that is strange. It normally never crashes. Last time it happened were six years ago". This is a contradiction. It seems their mainframe crashes every 5 year. I can google that article if you want to read. Just tell me.

Reply Parent Score: 3

I play on both mainframes and Sun servers.
by rcsteiner on Sun 14th Aug 2011 00:39 in reply to "RE[4]: Infoworld"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

There's no contest. The Unisys Clearpath mainframes we use (using an airline-focused OLTP environment called HVTIP) are able to parse a screen, do several I/Os to various files, and return a response to the customer in under 30 milliseconds, and can do that with a load of more than 600 of those online transctions per second.

I'm sure IBM's OLTP architecture (TPF?) is similar. The Unisys boxes use multiple IPs and IOPs, very fast files mapped into cache, and databases (in our case something called "freespace files") which use sets of preallocated fixed-length records and are lightning fast compared to anything relational.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Power 7 slower than an X86?
by shotsman on Fri 12th Aug 2011 18:31 in reply to "RE[3]: Infoworld"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Well, my unscientific benchmarks beg to differ.
Our AIX System moves data around at a rate that Intel can only dream about.
Our workloads (using the same software) run getting on for an order of magnitude better on a twin Power 7 core than on the latest i7 based server.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Power 7 slower than an X86?
by Kebabbert on Sat 13th Aug 2011 10:12 in reply to "Power 7 slower than an X86?"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Well, my unscientific benchmarks beg to differ.
Our AIX System moves data around at a rate that Intel can only dream about.
Our workloads (using the same software) run getting on for an order of magnitude better on a twin Power 7 core than on the latest i7 based server.

Well, the latest Intel Westmere-EX is only ~10% slower than the POWER7. But at a fraction of the price. Here are some benchmarks:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4285/westmereex-intels-flagship-bench...

Next year, the IvyBridge version will arrive. It will be 40% faster than the Westmere-EX, according to Intel.

Thus, x86 is catching up on POWER really fast, and next year surpasses POWER7. There are much more research in x86 (Intel and AMD), than in POWER (only IBM). Of course x86 will surpass POWER at some point in the future.



Earlier, the IBM POWER6 servers were several times faster than x86, and the POWER6 servers costed 5-10x more than x86 servers.

Today, IBM POWER7 is ~10% faster than x86 servers, and POWER7 costs only 3x more.

In the future, will the IBM POWER8 be at par with x86, or even slower? With such a slow cpu, the POWER8 must have a price similar to x86, or even be cheaper. We all know that IBM only does high margin business. If the POWER8 is as cheap as x86, why would IBM continue to invest billions in POWER cpus? IBM will start to loose money on POWER8.

Most likely, IBM will kill off POWER cpus. Just as IBM recently killed the CELL cpus. When POWER is killed off, then AIX will be killed too. AIX runs only on POWER. Coincidentally, IBM has publicly said that AIX will be killed off and replaced with Linux. This will happen when IBM start to loose money on POWER, when x86 has surpassed POWER.
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-982512.html

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Infoworld
by SilConGeeky on Fri 12th Aug 2011 21:10 in reply to "RE[3]: Infoworld"
SilConGeeky Member since:
2011-08-01

Not only the HW but the Software as well. Solid as a rock and very little risk of going down.

I did an implementation from IBM ERP to then Oracle on Sun platform. Needless to say there were 100s of bugs in Oracle. That was some time ago. What a nightmare...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Infoworld
by Drumhellar on Sat 13th Aug 2011 01:19 in reply to "RE[3]: Infoworld"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Well, you can't really disassemble that Intel server and move it to another location without taking it offline. With IBM's mainframes, you can do just that, a piece at at time, with mere seconds of downtime.

Reply Parent Score: 5