Mainframe Propeller Head

Mar 5 2009   9:14PM GMT

The prospect of Windows on an IBM System z mainframe

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

There’s some hubbub around the Share conference in Austin this week around a session tomorrow morning by Mantissa Corp. The session is titled “x86 Virtualization Technology for System z.” During it, the company’s CEO, Gary Dennis, is expected to unveil technology that would allow Microsoft Windows to run on top of z/VM on a mainframe.

The company hasn’t divulged many details about the product, called z/VOS, though Dennis did say back in the fall that in the first quarter of this year the company planned on delivering a system that allows unaltered x86 operating systems, including Windows, to run under z/VM. In an email, he said that by using a desktop appliance running RDC (Remote Desktop Connection), users will be able to connect to their virtual Windows images running on an IBM mainframe.

He added that Mantissa believes a z10 mainframe could “comfortably run 2,000 copies of Windows desktop systems” while still running regular z/OS workloads.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the session tomorrow morning as I’m leaving Austin today, but I just spoke to Dennis. He wouldn’t reveal any more details but said we could talk next week, so I hope to connect with him on Monday. In the meantime, here’s the full abstract from the Share session tomorrow morning:

Over the last decade IBM has quietly opened a world of virtualization possibilities through changes in the System z instruction set and advances in their chip technology. These changes have made possible x86 virtualization alternatives never imagined. Find out how you can leverage System z to achieve x86 virtualization goals faster and more cost effectively than you ever thought possible. Learn how you can deploy and manage native x86 Windows® and Linux images under z/VM. Gain an understanding of how you can simplify operations and more easily reach virtualization and cost containment goals through:

  • JIT deployment of virtualized x86 OS images
  • Reductions in deployment costs
  • Simplified image and deployment maintenance
  • Reduced power and space requirements

Learn more about z/VOS, the system that makes this virtualization alternative possible. Gain first-hand knowledge of:

  • How the technology works
  • the meaning of Single Pass Virtualization (SPV)
  • x86 network, file system and GUI considerations
  • z/VM service machine considerations
  • Guest x86 machine IPL, clone, checkpoint capabilites
  • z/VOS administration

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