I write this post watching the next chapter of mainframe computing emerging. With today’s announcements from the Open Mainframe Project, a new generation of mainframe-ers is emerging thanks to open source. But this chapter didn’t start being written today.
The year was 1999. I heard about my IBM Colleagues in Germany working on a skunkworks project to make Linux available on the IBM Mainframe. In 2000, IBM decided to officially market Linux across its entire server family including IBM z Systems. The elite IBM Linux Impact team was born in that year. Due to my affiliation with many clients on Wall Street, I was given the opportunity to join this team. Wall Street was already rampant with Linux x86 servers in clusters and racks. When I introduced them to Linux on z Systems and its consolidation virtualization capabilities, they were skeptical and resistant. Through perseverance and persistence of the IBM Linux Impact team, Wall Street began to see the value proposition of Linux on z Systems as did the rest of the industry. Much progress has been made with the growth of Linux on z Systems in the public and private sectors but there is definite room for improvement.
Now today, we as a mainframe community take a new step forward. Where in the past these communities of open source users on the mainframe were fragmented, the Open Mainframe Project brings this together. The formation of this vendor neutral project will take the groundwork laid by vendors and accelerate the adoption and enhancement of Open Source and Linux on the Mainframe by an order of magnitude across the entire marketplace. And with the unique angle of engaging academic institutions, the project looks to ensure that the mainframe will continue to be the platform of choice for the most demanding computational jobs for decades to come.
Whether you are new or experienced with Open Source and Linux on z Systems, you cannot help but feel the excitement all around you. Come with me and join the Open Mainframe Project.