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What Cloud Means to the Mainframe

By | November 9, 2016

Over the summer a plucky band of dedicated mainframers began an ambitious new project: defining what cloud means to the mainframe and how we can help it along. The journey has not been smooth, but they are dedicated to the task. This post chronicles their journey thus far.

For a platform that deploys as many guests as we do, cloud management is a must. Since the dawn of time (well mainframe time), system programmers have needed a ways to manage large pools of resources efficiently and spin up new resources with a minimal amount of fuss. However, the rise of cloud computing paradigms in the past 10 years have thrown a wrench into the works. The great tide of interoperability threatens to wash away all previous solutions. What’s a good sysprog to do?

Wrestling with these big questions is exactly what the OpenStack Cloud Consortium for Mainframe Linux plans to do. The plucky band consisting of Open Mainframers, IBMers, Business Partners and Customers are trying to wrestle with the big questions of cloud. Particularly:

  • Do we need cloud on the mainframe?
  • What kind of clouds are the right answers for mainframe customers?
  • Is there a place for mainframes in open source cloud solutions?
  • What does that place or solution look like? Is it different for z/VM vs. KVM on z Systems?
  • How do existing tools and processes need to change to allow cloud to work?
  • How do cloud solutions need to change to include mainframes?
  • How do we as mainframers want to influence the open source cloud communities?

The consortium doesn’t have all the answers now, but we do have all the questions. We have currently identified three next steps on our interoperability journey:

  1. Identify a small group of mainframe customers who are interested in OpenStack and willing to share their experiences
  2. Get buy-in from the technical and business leaders who will implement the consortium’s findings
  3. Talk with the OpenStack open source community to get their thoughts on the customer experiences

So whether you’re a mainframe developer, customer, or user, the consortium would love to hear your voice! Email to join the mainframe cloud revolution!

You can also catch Emily’s brown bag session from OpenStack 2016 in Barcelona:

Contributed by Emily Kate Hugenbruch: @ekhugen

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