The mainframe has evolved to become the most secure and trusted hardware platform on the planet. Open source software has rejuvenated the mainframe as a viable consolidation platform that both saves on licensing costs and enables technologies such as virtualization, cloud, containerization and cryptography that are vital to survive in today’s economy.
Banking and financial services organizations around the world look to reduce costs without sacrificing performance, and they have looked to their mainframes and open source to help. Because banks play vital roles in managing everything investments to exchange rates to brokerage firms to commerce, it is critical that their IT systems run smoothly around the clock. Many financial organizations have relied on their mainframe to support core banking applications. Other key business applications such as general ledger, ERP and HR systems utilized other database servers. But as their database landscape grew, so too did their licensing costs and their need to find a more cost-efficient alternative. And like many other organizations, banks are realizing that they could significantly reduce licensing costs by consolidation x86 workloads onto mainframe servers that are running open source software such as enterprise-grade Linux.
Essentially, the enterprise Linux operating system is a set of APIs and services that abstract away the details of the underlying hardware infrastructure, to make it possible to write applications that can work with the widest range of architectures, servers, networks and storage options available. A software-defined infrastructure and the emergence of cloud-native applications define a new approach for open source, requiring new tools at the operating system and application delivery layers. Open source makes it easy to deploy across a wide range of software-defined solutions such as hypervisors, software-defined storage and networking solutions. Open source enables developers to quickly create and deploy containers and business services across both public and private infrastructures. Open source also means increased collaboration, growing open development environments, and renewed academic interest in leveraging the modern mainframe platform for business success and much greater ROI.
Open source communities are driving opportunities to exploit and leverage mainframes. From the DRBD community for high availability systems to the IBM LinuxONE Community Cloud to KVM virtualization to OpenStack for cloud deployment to the Open Mainframe Project, open source communities are guideposts for the future success of open source on the mainframe.