back to article Big Blue's biggest mainframe yet is the size of a fridge

At least twenty years after pundits first pronounced the death of the mainframe, IBM has released a new one. Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the market, but IBM will be hoping that the billion dollars it's poured into developing the new z13 mainframe will get the big end of town as excited as Big Blue itself is …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    and the cost of the software licenses?

    About as much as one of the skyscrapers in the picure probably....

    Paris because even she'd blink at thost costs.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: and the cost of the software licenses?

      It's IBM, the cost is in the services and support contract...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and the cost of the software licenses?

      If you have a workload to fill one of these, the SW licencing is a darn sight less than the equivalent DataCenter(s) full of x86, never mind the costs of power/cooling/footprint.

      1. MadMike

        Mainframe cpus are dog slow

        I dont get it how IBM can claim that their latest Mainframe can emulate 8.000 x86 servers? Considering that a Mainframe cpu is much slower than a decent x86 server, something does not add up.

        This z13 Mainframe gives 110.000 MIPS in the largest configuration z13-NE1, costing millions of USD.

        http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh011915-story04.html

        This is only 40% faster than the even slower z12. Since z13-NE1 only has 21 sockets, and each socket is much slower than a decent x86 cpu, how can it replace 8.000 x86 servers? Well, it turns out that IBM assumes all x86 servers idle at 1-2% load, and the Mainframe is loaded to 100%. Now, imagine 21 of the x86 servers start to do some work, how can 21 slower z13 cpus keep up with the work load? It is impossible. IBM marketing division is over ambitious again.

        Also, in the link above, the IBM die hard Timothy Pricket Morgan explains that an old IBM P795 Unix server gives 1.6 million CPW. Whereas this z13-NE1 gives 735.000 CPW. This means that the old Power7 server is much faster than this z13 cpu.If you normalize, 32 sockets POWER7 cpus, vs 21 sockets z13 cpus, you see that the old POWER7 cpu is 43% faster than this brand new z13 cpu.

        Ergo, the old POWER7 cpu is about 50% faster than this spanking new z13 mainframe cpu. And we also know that the latest x86 cpus are much faster than the POWER7, and even faster than the latest POWER8 cpu. So, tell me how 21 slow z13 cpus replace 8.000 x86 servers?

        BTW, this z13 mainframe has 10TB RAM. That is chicken sh-t, considering that the latest x86 servers with 8-sockets has 12 TB RAM. And Oracle SPARC M6 server has 32 TB RAM. And this year Oracle will release their M7 server with 64 TB RAM.

  2. Thesheep
    Coat

    Good old Hadoop...

    Running on commodity hardware like this.

  3. getHandle
    Coat

    Nice angles

    Looks like Batman's fridge!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Nice angles

      "Incredibles voice" No rounded-corners....

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Nice angles

      Is that to deflect radar returns? Is this a stealth mainframe?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One sexy piece of hardware...

    Hey, I like my transactions to be encrypted!

  5. Ivan Hallworth

    IBM may have done it again, too early to tell if this is as big an architectural breakthrough as the System 360 was in its day, there is very much a market need for safety first with security built-in and persistent, protected and audited real-time transaction analytics available end-to-end.

    Mainframe concept is still very much with us, from large flagship first-rate systems to writ small on a chip and wafer, due to the need for absolute security and transaction data integrity for the new internet and of things.

    Perhaps true now more than ever in today's tough marketplace and volatile world? Safety first.

    Fujitsu, with their partner Oracle, is a major mainframe maker and this development is likely to raise the protected performance bar for both.

    Interesting and fascinating to watch how this market reacts and develops...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Err... wrong market need

      There is a market need for "safety without investing into software failover and clustering".

      These require qualified software developers, testers and in most cases fairly complex test setups to verify failure paths. That costs money and quite a bit of it too.

      This is what mainframe addresses and it does it pretty well too.

    2. ToddR

      System 360

      Why in earth would it be as significant as that?

      The 360 catapulted IBM from ANO mainframe maker to #1 by a country mile. Think, transistor, 360, semiconductor, CMOS, network. This is just an evolution of the mainframe

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oracle make DBs and Unix servers. Good boxes, but they ain't no mainframe...

  6. No Quarter

    Can I just have the case?

    That is all.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Can I just have the case?

      Probably, if you think you have the space.

      This looks like the same racks that the 9125-F2C P7 775 system is packaged in (they're both products from IBM Poughkeepsie, NY), an if so, this is 2 racks side-by-side, with each rack over 2.10 metres tall and 1.8 metres deep. Both racks together would be around 2 metres wide.

      In addition, they will not take standard 19" wide rackmount devices without some additional mounting hardware as the 'gap' is 26" IIRC (sorry, I realise I've mixed measurement units).

      IBM actually have some quite fancy doors available for their standard T-series racks, if you want to pay for them!

      1. theblackhand

        Re: Can I just have the case?

        Is that one of the water cooled racks?

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Can I just have the case?

      More than likely you could buy a decent new car for what IBM would charge just for the case/rack.

  7. Callam McMillan

    It looks nice, but I'm kind of confused why they've put it in the lobby of an office rather than in a server room for the photography? Unless of course they're suggesting to all the BOFH's a new way to annoy the users - putting a noisy, but stylish mainframe next to their desks?

    1. Steve Brooks

      Obvious init? You can tell by the trees this isn't the ground floor, the problem with Skynet was always that it was in an underground bunker, when this bleeder suddenly tries to take over the world you just open the window and shove her out, problem solved BOFH style!

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        It seems to have casters at each corner so you can easily move it around during internal reorganisations and re-furnishing/decorating activity.

        Also, I have a feeling that it's quite a bit bigger than my fridge.

        1. proud2bgrumpy

          :-) if it has castors, then its probably not a real one?

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Castors

            Pretty much all racks have castors now, including supercomputers and mainframes.

            I can check, but I think that all of the IBM P7 775 and z196 and the Cray XC40 frames that I can see in the machine room here have castors.

            They also have wind-down feet and load-spreader bars when they are in their final position, so that they don't move.

      2. Roo
        Windows

        "when this bleeder suddenly tries to take over the world you just open the window and shove her out, problem solved BOFH style!"

        "Never trust a computer that's too heavy to lift" - can't recall where I first saw that one, but it has served me well. ;)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Long John Brass Silver badge

          Odd - redux

          > "Never trust a computer that's too heavy to lift" - can't recall where I first saw that one, but it has served me well. ;)

          I have the same policy with regards to girlfriends :)

          1. Crazy Operations Guy

            Re: "I have the same policy with regards to girlfriends :)"

            If you're like most of the people I've worked with, that list of potential girlfriends is pretty short:

            -Your hands

            -A molded plastic cylinder

            -Inflatables

            -Sheep

        3. earl grey Silver badge
          Happy

          too heavy to lift

          Even back in the 360 days we had a Johnson bar to lift the boxes on one side to retract the feet so it could be rolled about as needed.

          And transistors weren't just a feature of the 360. The earlier 7080/7090 used transistors in their memory (and elsewhere). Of course, they were as big as your pinky fingernail, but they were still transistors.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Many years ago...

      ... I planned the installation of a full height 9076 SP/2 into a normal office space in an IBM building in Basingstoke.

      When installed, it was about half full, and did not quite exceed the floor loading weight.

      After I left, I heard it had been filled. I had visions of it descending through the 11th floor, then the 10th, the 9th and on to the ground!

      1. Haro

        Re: Many years ago...

        I'm glad IBM is above the whole earthquake thing. Probably that case is just printed plastic, and only weighs 50 lbs, but a real one would slide nicely out that window in an earthquake. As well, overloaded floors are just asking for trouble. :)

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago...

          I know the innards are probably different, but the 9125-F2C which from the picture looks like it uses the same frame, each frame when full weighs 3.5 tonnes.

          The z13 won't weigh quite so much, but the racks themselves are pretty substantial.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago... @Haro

          Fortunately, the incidence of significant earthquakes in Basingstoke is very low.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Many years ago... @Haro

            Actually significant earthquakes occur frequently in Basingstoke but nobody is interested enough to notice.

            1. Fred Dibnah

              Re: Many years ago... @Haro

              Not frequently enough, nor significant enough, IMHO.

              Poughkeepsie..... great name!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Many years ago... @Haro

              - more like the local stokies are too stoned/pi55ed to care...

      2. Andy 102

        Re: Many years ago...

        @Peter "After I left, I heard it had been filled. I had visions of it descending through the 11th floor, then the 10th, the 9th and on to the ground!"

        Indeed it was filled up and we later updated the switch on it. It sat there for quite a while being used by both HW and Call-AIX members.

        We also had a S70 with separate disk enclosure next to it. So we must have been way over the floor limit at that time.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many years ago...

        Many (many) years ago we had one of the first VAX 11/780's installed in an office with no goods lift. Those systems weighed around 3/4 tonne (and were less powerful than my current mobile phone!). Floor loading was OK, but when it was delivered it was discovered that the only way to get it in the lift was to uncrate it in the lobby, slide it in (1cm clearance), reach round to push the 2nd floor button, and then run up the stairs.

        It was about 50% over the weight limit for the lift, but people assumed that the lift probably had a factor of 2 for safety, and there's no-one in it, so it'll be OK. It was, almost. The lift stopped about 5cm below floor level. Ever tried to get a 3/4 tonne box up a 5cm step when you only have 1cm room at the sides to insert fingers, levers, etc.?

        They did it, eventually. The DEC service guys said that it went better than a previous delivery, that one had to go in via a window, and just as it reached the 2nd floor it slipped out of the crane's webbing...

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago...

          A similar lift story from after I left IBM, but not as interesting.

          We had a Power 4 system delivered in a T42 rack to a site I was working at in Poole, and to keep it under the weight limit for the lift and to get it through the doors (it was too high for the lift doors) we stripped the drawers out of the frame in the loading bay, tipped the frame on it's side, and then re-installed the drawers in the frame once it was on the machine room floor. All without telling the IBM hardware engineers!

          The only problem we had was that the SPCN (Sequenced Power Control Network) cables were put back in the wrong locations, which gave us problems with the I/O drawer identification for the remaining life of the systems, even after they were connected correctly.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many years ago...

        Ah! Alencon...

    3. Steve Hill

      noisy? Get the water cooled one and you'll be able to hear a pin drop in the computer suite.

      Of course, the cooling plant you require will be comparable to that of a small power station, but hey...

      1. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Pint

        Would that be the nutri-matic version with built in drinks terminal and tastebud sensors?

  8. Roger Kynaston
    Happy

    I want me one of those

    sexy toys!

    1. RegGuy1

      Re: I want me one of those

      What, heavy girlfriends?

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Do the USAF want those?

    Clearly designed with stealth technology for low radar footprint. Could be useful to a BOFH

    Beancounters footprint not so small, I would guess; they would be alerted by big budget hole, but no visible kit to show for it

    OK, I'm going

  10. boltar Silver badge

    So is it running z/OS or Linux or both?

    Sorry if thats a dumb question, I'm not a mainframe expert, just curious. I presume you can virtualise Linux on it but whats the actual base OS?

    1. Michael Duke

      Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both?

      Can run both natively on partitions of the hardware.

    2. joeldillon

      Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both?

      I would assume z/VM.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both?

      It should be noted that IBM pretty much invented virtualization with the 370 mainframe systems in the early 1970's. About the same time, Intel were making 4 bit microprocessors and TTL chips.

      The virtualization will be performed either by the PR/SM type 1 (hardware) hypervisor or z/VM.

      Read up on Type 1 hypervisors. There does not have to be a host OS, at least not as I think you understand them.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both?

        "Read up on Type 1 hypervisors. There does not have to be a host OS, at least not as I think you understand them."

        Well presumably something has to control the physical hardware or nothing would be able to be loaded from disk. I'd call that the OS or at least the kernel.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both? @boltar

          Yes, that's quite true, but if you look at PR/SM, the IBM Power Hypervisor, or Amdahl's MDF (the bare-metal hypervisors I've had experience with), they are deliberately very limited in function. The name Hypervisor (derived from an old alternative name for an operating system, the Executive Supervisor) was coined to indicate that it was a supervising program that was not an operating system. It was very deliberate to not call the hosting environment an Operating System.

          It's only relatively recently that you've had Type 2 or 'hosted' hypervisors that sit on top of what one would describe as a normal operating system like Linux or Windows. Examples include the original incarnation of VMware, Xen, KVM and Parallels. I understand that HP's Integrety VM sits on top of HP/UX, although I have no experience.

          And then you have things like VMware ESXi, which is classed as a type 1 bare metal hypervisor, but is really a canned Linux stripped of all functions that are not required to host other systems. Mind you, you could probably say the same about IBM's Power Hypervisor, but that is so deeply embedded in the firmware of Power systems that it's relatively difficult to see that it is Linux at heart.

          Complicating it still further are Oracle/Sun's containers and IBM WPARs, which are not true VMs but still allow you many of the advantages of partitioning.

          It's all getting complicated.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both? @boltar

            Design space explorations!

          2. Mark Cathcart

            Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both? @boltar

            FYI my 2006 paper on virtualization and hypervisors written for the analyst briefing where we told them we were going to do Power virtualization is here: https://cathcam.files.wordpress.com/2006/11/virtualization-technology-outlook-and-ibm-directions.pdf

            I think currently the Docker style containers is the more interesting at the moment. Many ways somewhat similar to CMS. I still think that a CMS style container, where you standardize the I/O is the optimum app approach, but as we learned with Java, that will never be enough and developers will always be looking for that added/extra way of trying to optimize.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: So is it running z/OS or Linux or both? @boltar (again)

          You got me thinking back more than 25 years to my training on Amdahl's Multiple Domain Facility (MDF) that I talked about in my last post, and I realised that back then, hypervisors did not really virtualise I/O.

          What early hypervisors would do was to segregate memory and access to I/O channels (literally in the IBM mainframe world, but I suppose analogous to a set of disks or other devices hung off of a single adapter in more modern thinking), and provide a time-slice scheduler between partitions for the CPU.

          All handling of I/O was performed natively by the hosted OS, including boot block requests, and it was only in very rare situations (such as extended I/O interrupts) that the hosted OS even knew it was running in a virtualised environment.

          What this meant was that a hosted OS had to have complete and exclusive access to a string of disks, or indeed any other device, and all the hypervisor had to do was check that a hosted system did not try to access disks or other devices that were not presented to it.

          The most difficult part of slicing a machine up like this was making sure that device interrupts were handled by the correct hosted OS, the one that had initiated the I/O operation.

          There was virtualised addressing for each LPAR, so each hosted OS ran as if it has it's own contiguous address space starting at 0, and running up to the memory address configured. Additional protection was provided by memory having access keys attached to each page, and a hosted OS had to have the correct key to access a page, and each LPAR was only given it's own memory key. I think this memory keying was a hang-over from the early version of IBM VM, which did not have a fully virtualised addressing scheme.

          It's only since you have shared virtualised I/O to the hosted OSs that hypervisors have become particularly sophisticated.

  11. Alan Bourke

    Mainframes are dead are they?

    Deader than the dead PC that I keep hearing about? Or less dead?

    Or is it consoles this month .. I forget.

    1. Hero Protagonist

      Re: Mainframes are dead are they?

      As dead as the COBOL that runs on them. Which is to say, not dead.

    2. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: Mainframes are dead are they?

      >>Or is it consoles this month .. I forget.

      I thought it was Tablets this month? I may be mistaken, you never know what "analysts" say is dead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mainframes are dead are they?

        "you never know what "analysts" say is dead."

        You do, however, know what they will never say is dead - even if frequently wrong? The analyst.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

    When will these Old IT Grey suits getting fat on their pensions realise that Mainframe never died out , it just got turned into a buzzword called "Cloud".

    As a young programmer, I can really tell that El Reg is populated by an ageing demographic of foosty old IT professionals who have long since traded in their development skills for pseudo architecture jobs where they are so abstracted from the real world of IT, they can only make a connection by sounding off the buzzwords you find on this site's articles and white papers.

    The principles of IT are constant, however they keep renaming and re branding those principles every five years to sound like they are fashionable e.g.

    Mainframe --> Cloud

    Schema-less Data --> Big Data

    Usability --> Happiness

    Death to the Architects and managers, vive le Developers.

    1. Ian 7

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      And that's a great illustration of why you should never let children drive a car, let alone design a complex system!

      1. loosebruce

        Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

        Hey old man, do you still know what an Integer is?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

          I bet few of the script kiddies who call themselves programmer would not know about such things.

          I love to wind VB programmers up by asking them to explain the following:

          1. Recurssion

          2. Passing functions as parameters

          and how can they be implemented in VB...

          1. captain veg

            Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

            I shall assume that you mean pre .NET (i.e. real) VB.

            1. Recurssion isn't a word. Recursion, on the other hand, is trivial in VB. You will probably want to precede your parameter names with the ByVal keyword.

            2. Use the AddressOf operator and a suitable declaration of CallWindowProc.

            Next!

            -A.

          2. John Styles

            Mutual recursion - see recursion, mutual

            Is 'recurssion' a louder version of recursion - a cross between recursion and percussion - something used in executables where the cymbal table hasn't been removed? (Was going to make a joke about Marimba and Castanet but I see a once proud technology that got Wired's front page in its day doesn't even rate its own Wikipedia page - the ultimate insult - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castanet_%28disambiguation%29)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Mutual recursion - see recursion, mutual

              @captain veg & John Styles

              You've obviously been around too long!,

              Firstly you both spotted the (unintentional) typo. But more importantly you actually understand the questions! I've found many 'developers' first response (other than the blank faces) to these questions to be:

              1. What's that?

              2. Why would you want to do that?

              Captain Veg, you get extra points for not only knowing that VB changed significantly with .NET, but also how to go about coding these useful constructs. Although if truth be told, they should be used with caution and eyes wide open in real world systems, because as we all know stacks can and do overflow and it is relatively trivial (particularly if you are using ASM or C) to play around with values held on the stack or in heaps...

              John, you also get a point, I had forgotten all about Castanet - it has obviously been too many years since I had the 'joy' of deploying BMC's products..

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Mutual recursion - see recursion, mutual

                OP Here,

                Why would anyone use VB, unless you're wanting to implement some Macro in a Defect per Function Point spreadsheet (a completely useless tool for QA measurement), just so you can pass it onto your Senior management/ overlords , thus screwing over developers while you get a big payrise.

                Java / C++ / SQL Developer

                1. captain veg

                  Re: Why would anyone use VB

                  Latterly because of a large legacy codebase. But in the first place, because it was the only way to get a Windows app up and running in a sane amount of time. I'm talking about the Windows 3.0 timeframe. There was no Java. C++ was new and didn't offer any help in building graphical UIs.

                  Having previously made a living writing C and assembler for DOS I invested in a copy of Petzold. I counted 80-odd lines of code in his "Hello, world" program, just to put some text on screen. VB could do that with a few mouse clicks and no code at all. No contest.

                  -A.

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

            I love to wind VB programmers up by asking them to explain the following:

            1. Recurssion [sic]

            2. Passing functions as parameters

            and how can they be implemented in VB...

            Step 1: Write LISP interpreter in VB.

            Step 2: Done.

            Per Kolmogorov Equivalence, all Turing-complete programming languages are not only capable of computing the same functions; they're all capable of computing the same functions using programs of the same length, except for a constant increment which is small relative to the size of large, complex programs. That increment is the length of an interpreter for language B, written in language A.

        2. Munchausen's proxy
          Pint

          Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

          > Hey old man, do you still know what an Integer is?

          Hell, I'm so old I know what negative zero is.

          1. John Styles

            Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

            Nothing old about negative zero, our code still has some special case code to suppress them, left over from when Microsoft changed the behaviour of the C runtime in VC++ 2005. fortunately -0.0 and 0.0 are equal so the code just tests for equality and then uses 0.0. <oldfart/>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      Mainframe => trustworthy

      Cloud => ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

        Cloud => Cheap and nasty Parallel Sysplex

    3. Hero Protagonist

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      > When will these Old IT Grey suits getting fat on their pensions realise that Mainframe never died out , it just got turned into a buzzword called "Cloud".

      Yeah, we know.

      We've *forgotten* more buzzwords than you've ever *learned*.

      Now get off my lawn!

    4. theblackhand

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      Hey youngster - stop playing on the mainframe lawn and go in play in the Android/iPhone park with the other pesky teenagers on TheReg....

      Once you've read enough Gartner reports declaring everything you use "dead" and replaced by the latest flash in the pan, read up on various subtle forms of humour such as irony then you can come back for some more grouchiness...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      Well, I never saw the point of managers until I became one, ditto directors. But I at least had the sense to keep my opinion to myself. As you seem not to, you may have made a career limiting decision.

      Here's a hint; businesses run on customers giving them money, and someone pays for the pizza.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      "Death to the Architects and managers, vive le Developers."

      Et aussi les gens qui peuvent écrire le français sans erreurs.

    7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

      > As a young programmer

      > The principles of IT are constant

      "Wise before his age", huh?

      Go back to Computer Science 101 and learn something.

  13. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Happy

    Sexy

    Similar to a lot of the older, higher-end Sun data centre kit; and as with other higher end i and z series kit from IBM - it certainly is easy on the eye.

    Great to see that mainframe is alive and well.

  14. Bad Beaver

    Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

    So whenever you have a guest they will oogle it in disbelief while you close the door via remote control, then lean forward and whisper: "I'm Batman."

    At least you will know how to operate it, contrary to that darn espresso-monstrosity that nearly cost as much and now only collects dust while you suffer the humiliation that is Nespresso.

    Anyhow, this could do better. Why are the door designs not mirrored? Does it have a faint purple glow oozing out from inside? Do the doors make a cool decompression noise when opened? Can you program it to rumble, hiss and growl when certain people are nearby?

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

      "At least you will know how to operate it, contrary to that darn espresso-monstrosity that nearly cost as much and now only collects dust while you suffer the humiliation that is Nespresso."

      How hard can operating an espresso machine be? Does yours have black buttons labelled in black letters on a black background with little black lights that light up black to show that you have done it? We have a pretty swanky espresso machine at home, and even I can operate that.

      And I don't even drink coffee (to me coffee is to my taste buds like Vogon poetry is to my ears, and no, that is not due to how I make coffee)

      1. hopkinse

        Re: Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

        " Does yours have black buttons labelled in black letters on a black background with little black lights that light up black to show that you have done it?"

        as patented by Hotblack Desiato....

      2. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

        Shirley its all about how you probe the tastebuds. And anyways the result should always be something not quite like tea

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

          last time I had " something not quite like tea", it was the tea on a train ....

    2. John Sanders
      Devil

      Re: Positioned as the badass mainframe to put in your office

      Awesome, I will make my Workstation growl when my manager is close nearby.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After the election comment

    I have sent an email to the Office of the Prime Minister - I'm retired and they can't make trouble for my company - spelling out why their universal backdoor policy will not work and would in fact backfire on UK business, adding that it would only be secure when the Met and other police forces are somehow cleaned of the criminals known to have infiltrated them. I'll let you know (insecurely) when they come for my BlackBerry.

    It is funny though that IBM are emphasising the need for encryption just as the goons who advise Cameron are telling him it must be stopped, because, terrorism. By the same logic we need total nudity everywhere, and transparent luggage, because that will stop gunmen and bombers.

    1. Roo
      Windows

      Re: After the election comment

      "I have sent an email to the Office of the Prime Minister - I'm retired and they can't make trouble for my company - spelling out why their universal backdoor policy will not work and would in fact backfire on UK business"

      You appear to be under the impression that the Office of the Prime Minister gives a toss.

      In my experience when an outfit is going ahead with a blatantly stupid idea despite being given a metric shitload of reasons why it's stupid, the chances are you don't understand their goal. In this case the goal may well be totally insane from a rational proletariat point of view, but from the point of view of keeping Dave, his school chums and their sprogs in safe and in power forever it may make perfect sense.

      Besides if they do destroy the UK, it's pretty easy to emigrate these days, even Idi Amin managed to retire somewhere sunny...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: After the election comment

        I know they don't, I just suspect that with their reading skills even a few hundred emails will constitute a DDOS.

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: After the election comment

      "Open the backdoors, please."

      "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

      /Yeah, too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel./

      /edit: and far too obvious, too./

    3. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: After the election comment

      UGH - Cameron et al in the nuddie - I need MINDBLEACH - NOW

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: After the election comment

        It's too late for mindbleach. It was ALWAYS too late for mindbleach.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aah... but does it..

    Emulate an AS-400?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM - supporting terrorists (according to Cameron)

    A mainframe destined to encrypt in real time? Only terrorist supporters do that, don't they Dave*

    * - Dave should probably be DAVE - some acronym describing who really pulls the strings of these idiots

  18. Roland6 Silver badge

    Not a true IBM system!

    No vertical red strip!

    1. Mark Cathcart

      Re: Not a true IBM system!

      They never had red stripes until the naughties...

      The original systems were always beige side panels or IBM Blue and the front panel a contrasting colour of black(assuming you accept black is actually a color).... its only since the x-box generation did they switch to black. Amdahl systems were of course red...

      See this picture http://blogs-images.forbes.com/davidewalt/files/2012/03/ibm-system-370.png

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Soon to be made illegal to import into the UK if Camoron gets his way.

  20. The Quiet One

    Pics.....

    Why oh why have you got the massive "Hero" picture at top and then the same bloody picture, a little smaller, 4 paragraphs later. It's like you're doing this deliberately now........

    Please please please stop putting massive friggin' pictures at the top of articles. It adds absolutely nothing and just pisses everyone off! You are not The Metro!!

    Can anyone explain the point of them? It goes to show how poor your design is when I actually spent my time writing this instead of actually reading the article...seriously, couldn't read it! your website makes people that angry now.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Pics.....

      I support this statement. JE SUIS EL REG!

      > You are not The Metro!!

      More like TIFKAM. Pretty pictures, blaring into your eyes.

  21. thames

    IBM's Reply to Dave Cameron

    Ensuring that it won't be welcome in the UK after the next election, the z13 has enough grunt to handle “real time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale”

    I suspect that IBM's reply to Dave Cameron's request to nobble encryption will be along the lines of:

    "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARJ8cAGm6JE

  22. goldcd

    Stuff the specs

    I want that obelisque, sitting at the heart of my evil-genius-volcano-lair.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Stuff the specs

      Upvoted, but then I got distracted wondering it a obelisque is an obelisk sitting at an oblique angle.. and would that impact the MTBF of the spinning rust?

      But a pair of those beautiful monstrosities sitting either side of the throne in my EGVL canted slightly forward to give the impression of looming over petitioners/peons with the growls mentioned earlier in the thread.. that makes me happy.

      1. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Stuff the specs

        Personally I think it'd look better a battered blue with a blue lamp on top. Stick one in / up Dave's office. EXTERMINATE.

        Spoken as a Tory.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stuff the specs

      I think the sort of people who possess evil volcano lairs would prefer a few odalisques, but whatever floats your boat.

  23. Ian Joyner

    Unisys are also releasing mainframes all the time, notably ClearPath MCP machines continuing on the original high-level system structure of Bob Barton's B5000 from 1964.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burroughs_large_systems

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burroughs_MCP

    http://www.unisys.com/offerings/high-end-servers/clearpath-systems/clearpath-libra-systems/clearpath-libra-8380-and-8390-systems

    and you can get it on a laptop

    http://www.unisys.com/offerings/high-end-servers/clearpath-systems/clearpath-libra-systems/software-developer’s-kit-on-clearpath-lx-laptop

  24. Ian Joyner

    IBM did not usher in the mainframe era - Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

    https://wiki.cc.gatech.edu/fol...

    The B5000 not only beat IBM in terms of time, it was a far more capable machine, the first commercial machine with virtual memory - from Manchester university, ten years before IBM claimed to have invented it. In fact, most systems need MMUs to implement paging, but in the B5000 it is built in from the ground up with no need for MMUs.

    Burroughs used plug and play - not only did it allocate and deallocate memory on the fly (part of its stack mechanism as well as virtual memory), but peripherals could be plugged in without the need to do an IBM-style SYSGEN. I was told last year that on IBM zOS you still need to allocate memory partitions for programs - surely this cannot still be true?

    The B5000 line is still well in advance of IBM in the Unisys Clearpath MCP systems.

    There were so many other innovations in the B5000 that it is still ahead of the time of 2015. In fact, all computing people should study its architecture and understand why it is still an achievement over 50 years later.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...

    The IBM 360 by contrast was retrograde and a disappointment to the computer architects of the time, notably Edsger Dijkstra who said "In my Turing Lecture I described the week that I studied the specifications of the 360, it was [laughter] the darkest week in my professional life".

    http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/...

    https://www.cs.utexas.edu/user...

    The achievement of Burroughs and its chief designer, Bob Barton - who very few computing people have heard of, knowing the names of Amdahl and Cray - should not be underestimated, especially as Barton went on to impart many of his different ideas to students as a professor at University of Utah, including Alan Kay and John Warnock.

    The B5000 was also designed around a high-level language, ALGOL, which is far superior to C, which is not really a HLL, but rather a structured assembler, exposing all the foibles of underlying machines. The B5000 had its OS and all systems software written exclusively in ALGOL, years before Unix with C.

    If one gets excited by mainframes, the Burroughs line is it. IBM is just ho hum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

      The B5000 may have been groundbreaking but, as it ended up being emulated on Xeon processors, doesn't that mean that the original architecture was a dead end? Computer scientists may wet themselves over clever architectures, but at the end of the day the IBM 360 was successful because it was affordable and there were programmers available. Affordable and scalable downwards has turned out to be the key to success, whether it's 8086 /Windows or ARM/Android.

      1. Roo

        Re: Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

        "Computer scientists may wet themselves over clever architectures, but at the end of the day the IBM 360 was successful because it was affordable and there were programmers available"

        "Affordable" as opposed to offering better price/performance ? :)

        I suspect IBM's *existing* dominance in the market place, Lawyers, FUD and marketing muscle had a fair amount to do with 360's success. For folks to succeed in the face of that kind of opposition they need to offer a performance/price ratio that far exceeds other offerings (at least 5x better).

        The B5000 was a cracking piece of work - it does make the opposition of the time look terminally retarded. I can't help but wonder if the industry as a whole would have been more productive over the past decades if something like B5000 had become ubiquitous. Even without IBM et al dominating it would have been tricky though - I think they would have had to have cannibalised their high margin business to do so - few companies are capable of biting that bullet. DEC actually started out by punting small low-cost machines, and they shipped the LSI11 (a 4 chip processor) in 1975 and followed up with the F11 (1979). Then they went backwards with the VAX-11/780 - they built it out of 74 series TTL and 'shipped' it in 1977. :(

        1. MadMike

          Re: Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

          "...I suspect IBM's *existing* dominance in the market place, Lawyers, FUD and marketing muscle had a fair amount to do with 360's success...."

          That is correct. In fact, the very term FUD originates from IBM, handling the Mainframe competitors:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt#Definition

          "...FUD was first defined with its specific current meaning by Gene Amdahl the same year, 1975, after he left IBM to found his own company, Amdahl Corp.: "FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products...."

      2. Ian Joyner

        Re: Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

        Hi Arnaut. >>The B5000 may have been groundbreaking but, as it ended up being emulated on Xeon processors, doesn't that mean that the original architecture was a dead end?<<

        Not at all. The B5000 (Now Unisys Clearpath MCP) was designed as a high-level architecture with features such as virtual memory and security baked in. Security was baked in since processes are not allowed to write out of bounds of allocated memory (both on and off stack). This was surprising for 1961, when security was hardly an issue. The basis of most viruses and worms is being able to write out of bounds.

        The B5000 took a different approach to computer architecture - it had software people design the architecture to be programmable, rather than leave it up to electronic engineers who designed circuits pleasing to them then turning it over to software engineers to program in assembler and find the machine was pretty well unprogrammable.

        http://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/afips/1961/5058/00/50580393.pdf

        Towards the late 1970s with more powerful hardware it was realised the architecture could be done on cheap commodity processors and emulated. This is the basis of today's virtual machines such as JVM. It also came out of the B1000 which had a different emulated machine for every language.

        http://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/afips/1963/5062/00/50620169.pdf

        The B5900 came out early 1980s.

        http://jack.hoa.org/hoajaa/BurrMain.html

        Since then the B5000 line has practically been all emulated.

        As for IBM 360's success - IBM had a very 'effective' (to put it nicely) marketing force. Burroughs marketing was hopeless. But this kind of success does not reflect on the architectural merits of the machines, because Burroughs wins hands down. It is not just a clever architecture - it is a very practical, secure, and efficient architecture. HP also came out of Burroughs and is where their revers-polish calculators came from.

        "Affordable and scalable downwards has turned out to be the key to success"

        That is exactly why current B5000s are emulated. You can go from running it on a laptop to biggest transaction-processing mainframes.

        Now I could bemoan the fact that Unisys management did not get it (the way Xerox management did not get what PARC were doing). The architecture should have been decoupled from mainframes and made for personal processors.

        Any future development in architecture should take what is in the B5000 and extend it to today's needs, rather than wallowing around in low-level insecure architectures.

      3. MadMike

        Re: Burroughs beat IBM by over a year with the B5000.

        "...The B5000 may have been groundbreaking but, as it ended up being emulated on Xeon processors, doesn't that mean that the original architecture was a dead end?..."

        Well, you can emulate IBM Mainframes on a laptop with TurboHercules.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_%28emulator%29#Performance

        Does that mean z/OS is a dead end? In fact, IBM has threatened and sued TurboHercules, because it was so effective in emulating IBM Mainframes. An old 8-socket x86 server can emulate a mid sized IBM Mainframe, which scared IBM so the TurboHercules emulator has been stopped. Or... "effective" is maybe wrong to say, more correct would be "IBM mainframe cpus are so slow, so you can easily emulate a mid sized Mainframe on a x86 server giving decent cpu performance".

        Emulate an IBM Mainframe on a raspberry pi:

        http://www.millennialmainframer.com/2013/12/hercules/

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      A nice history lesson, for those unaware of the B5000 and its descendants, spoiled by unnecessary ranting.

      Certainly the B5000 architecture has much to recommend it. That doesn't mean the 360 architecture doesn't; and more importantly, it does nothing to reduce the historical importance of the 360 or the present importance of its line.

      Similarly, while ALGOL has ... some things to recommend it, it also has some grievous infelicities, such as pass-by-name, as the Man-or-boy Test demonstrates. And C is by no means "a structured assembler"; that particular mischaracterization is popular but meaningless, even for K&R C.

      As for Dijkstra's comments - well, the man was a crank, frankly. A fine computer scientist who gave us many useful things, but he's mostly remembered for a series of complaints about various topics. I appreciate a good curmudgeon as much as the next fellow, and indeed I've enjoyed reading Dijkstra's attacks on all and sundry, but being criticized by the man is pretty much irrelevant.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Hello Michael. >>Similarly, while ALGOL has ... some things to recommend it, it also has some grievous infelicities, such as pass-by-name<<

        No, pass-by-name is the basis of today's higher-order functions. It is pass-by-reference that is a disaster and the mainstay of C. That is a disaster and makes C a low-level language rather than a HLL.

        C really isn't a HLL. Operators such as ++ attest to that. OK, characterize C as a low-level language instead of structured-assembler if you will.

        >>As for Dijkstra's comments - well, the man was a crank, frankly.<<

        That pretty much undermines any value in your comments. Dijkstra was one of the programming geniuses of the 20th century. What are you thinking of as his complaints? "Goto considered harmful" perhaps. In fact, Dijkstra hated that title, but was forced to use it by his publisher. However, if we are to have structured programming, unbridled gotos are forbidden. Donald Knuth showed how gotos may be used in an entirely structured way, but that does not justify the unbridled goto.

        Dijkstra's writings on many topics are available on the web and still make very good reading.

        One of his observations was that there is a big difference between European computation science (software based) and American computer science (hardware and product based). That is really the difference between Burroughs and other vendors - Burroughs (and Robert Barton) believed in computers that should be programmable and designed by programmers. All other vendors more-or-less designed circuits first and then told programmers to try and make something of it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_S._Barton

        The IBM 360 does have something to commend it - the best thing to come out of it was Fred Brooks' Mythical Man Month. But he might just be another crank curmudgeon in your assessment?

  25. pdlane

    Mainframes are dead are they?

    The most practical computer ever marketed was the UNIVAC II....vintage 1958-66....

    Being water cooled we were able to chill 2 cases of beer in the water tank without impacting the system.. Looks like one could not find the space to chill a single bottle let alone a six-pack in z/13

    1. Mark Cathcart

      Re: Mainframes are dead are they?

      Sigh... what was more important, keeping beer cold, or keep food warm? When working night shift at P&O Computer Services, circa 1976, we could get takeaway and put in in the back of the IBM 370/145 and it would keep it warm while we played Adventure on VM/370 R3.

      As I said earlier, some of the Redhat are doing now, vaguely reminds me of the CMS compatibility from back then... I can still run the 1976 version of Adventure in VM/ESA today. Where as loads of, but not all my Windows 3.1 programs no longer run on Windows 7...

    2. Ian Joyner

      Re: Mainframes are dead are they?

      There is a very good book and Eckert and Mauchley and Univac called "A Few Good Men from Univac"

  26. Ian Joyner

    More information about Burroughs is available at:

    http://ianjoyner.name/Burroughs.html

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