Owning a Mainframe Isnt Costly

By Bill Claybrook  |  Posted 2010-04-07 Print this article Print

Owning a mainframe isn't costly

Mainframes used to be expensive. But not anymore when compared with old prices, the power you get, and how you can use them to save money, time and space in your data center. You can also save on Linux for the mainframe subscriptions from Novell and Red Hat. In 2008, IBM worked with Novell and Red Hat to create a pricing promotion for Linux for the mainframe distributions from the two companies.

Then, in late 2008, IBM created new pricing for the new System z10 Business Class mainframe to make it more economical to use. This amounted to about a 40 percent discount on Linux for System z subscriptions for the System z10 Business Class servers. IBM also dropped its prices for IFLs by more than 50 percent. These pricing promotions make server virtualization on System z servers even more attractive when compared to server virtualization on x86-based servers because it can be much more cost-effective on a mainframe.

To further improve your ROI through server virtualization and workload consolidation on a single mainframe, IBM (working with Novell and Red Hat) has created an IBM System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux. The Solution Edition is a packaged offering that brings together key components of hardware, software and maintenance at a low total cost of acquisition. It is built on the capabilities of z/VM and System z10 hardware. The Solution Edition targets smaller customers with stand-alone System z10 Business Class systems.

Save money on software licensing

Many large ISVs such as Oracle have per-processor licensing models for at least some of their software applications. This means you are charged for software based on the number of processors on the server on which the software runs. For example, Oracle Database Enterprise Edition is around $47,500 per processor. Generally, you pay that price regardless of the architecture.

Software running on multiple Linux VMs shares the cost of a single processor license. CPs and IFLs count as a single processor engine with respect to software licensing; that is, one IFL equals one core. Not only do you get a break on software licensing, but also the capacity in a System z10 Business Class machine is many times that of an x86 server.

Bill Claybrook is a marketing research analyst with over 30 years of experience in the computer industry, with the last 10 years in Linux and Open Source. From 1999 to 2004, Bill was Research Director, Linux and Open Source, at the Aberdeen Group in Boston. He resigned his competitive analyst/Linux product marketing position at Novell in June 2009 after spending over four and half years engaging in cloud computing, software appliances, virtualization technologies, and numerous aspects of Linux platforms. He is President of New River Marketing Research in Concord, MA. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He can be reached at bclaybrook@comcast.net.

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