back to article IBM promises mainframes on tap as SoftLayer lands on London

Retro computing fans will be thrilled to hear IBM is working on floating mainframe platforms onto the cloud even as its pours cash into the rollout of its SoftLayer offering which will hit London this week. SoftLayer, with its existing 13-strong data centre network, was borged by IBM last June, as Big Blue looked to accelerate …

  1. Bakana

    Old Mainframe is "New" again?

    One very good reason the "New" generation of IT execs might find the "Old" Mainframe technoloty VERY attractive: It's been Years since anyone successfully "Hacked" a Mainframe.

    The OS has security built in as an Integral function, not an afterthought addon that is stuck fighting the very OS it's running on.

    Most of the common vulnerabilities hackers "Exploit" are actually "Features" of the Windows style OS designs that predominate in the "New" way of computing.

    These OSs fight agtainst attackers by creating an ever growing list of "Threats" they are supposed to detect and prevent.

    By Contrast, the Mainframe security function makes a Much Shorter list: Programs that are Allowed To Execute and Users who are allowed access.

    It's so much easier scan a relatively Short list of people and programs that are granted access and decide: "Sorry, you or your program are not on the Approved List." than it is to scan a Huge List of Potential Threats that grows on a daily basis.

    Got Billions at stake? Hey, maybe you should use the OS that built Security in from the ground up instead of the one that discovered that all those "Neat Things we can do" not only opened the barn door to thieves but Jammed it into that open position forever.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Old Mainframe is "New" again?

      While mainframe security is baked into the Authorized Program Facility for privileged programs, the primary factor in overall security is in System Authorization Facility exit to the add-ons that provide Mandatory Access Control. The MAC products are optional, and may be either from IBM (RACF) or others (Top Secret, ACF-2 being the primary ones), and are analogous to SELinux or, I think, Grsecurity or AppArmor). Linux with SELinux probably is on a par with a z12 and RACF for security purposes.

  2. Nate Amsden

    a day trip?

    looks like Chessington is only 16 miles from what google maps seems to consider down town London. Doesn't seem far at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a day trip?

      Distance isn't the factor here. The main reason anyone from London goes to Chessington is to visit the amusement park (which has the normal 'pay a fortune for a day ticket' pricing structure).

      Your point is right though. For any reasonable use cases beyond high frequency trading Chessington to London is no problem assuming the bandwidth is sufficiently diverse and robust.

  3. SVV Silver badge

    Old news dressed up as new news again?

    VMWare have offered virtual z/OS (OS/390) solutions for ages now. (That's IBM's mainframe OS in case you don't know). And IBM were quite happy to take the license fees that flowed their way as a result.

    I was also using virtual Linux machines (hosted by IBM in one of their data centres incidentally) years before the word cloud began to be bandied about for this stuff, resulting in instant news headlines every time a not-so-new product or service got announced.

    I found the precious posts interesting though, for the discussions of security matters, but I would also like to point out that in addition to RACF, etc, any virtual mainframe is likely to be sitting behind several layers of firewalls amd proxy servers if the infrastructure architects have any sort of clue : which is very likely if you're working with mainframe folk.

  4. Gulraj Rijhwani

    "Chessington, which while strictly speaking counting as greater London would be considered more a day trip venue by most of the capital’s residents."

    Utter nonsense. Chessington is a 35 minute train journey form Waterloo. I know. I live there. I commute to the other side of the capital most days. Many's the time I come back from work, change and then go straight back into London. Yes it is the outer edge of the London conurbation, but we're not talking San Angelean scales of urbanisation. Remember that the M25 is only about 127 miles point to point, and that skirts the whole thing. It's only a "day trip venue" if you're hinting at the so-called World of Adventures.

    Chessington is actually a very appropriate location for London access, particularly if you take maintenance and supply into consideration. Granted the rail connection is only a half-hourly service (serving both the Chessington stations, and Tolworth which is actually closer to most of the industrial estate), but it is situated just off the A3 - a major arterial route straight out of London, and is within ear-shot of the M25 which is also only 5-10 minutes distant, 12 miles as the crow flies from the centre. Digital Realty have a co-lo site here for that very reason.

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