This post is an update of an article about the Hitachi-Specific z13 that originally appeared on the Dancing Dinosaur blog.
Old timers will remember when the computer industry boasted multiple vendors offering mainframe computers compatible with the IBM mainframe OS at that time. They were called plug-compatible and they constituted their own acronym, BUNCH (Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data, and Honeywell). The BUNCH served two purposes: 1) they stopped the Feds from hassling IBM over monopolistic practices and 2) they gave mainframe users alternatives that still ran their core IBM systems.
The BUNCH is long gone as mainframe providers. IBM revived them in spirit, however, with a recent joint IBM-Hitachi announcement of what, in effect, amounts to a plug-compatible z13 that also runs Hitachi’s operating system, VOS3.
Start of a New BUNCH
The new Hitachi deal, as this reporter previously wrote, adds a new dimension to the z. The plans call for using Hitachi’s operating system, VOS3, running on the latest IBM z13 hardware to provide Hitachi users with better performance while sustaining their previous investments in business-critical Hitachi data and software. VOS3 started as a fork of MVS and has been repeatedly modified since as Hitachi keeps updating its own software.
According to IBM, Hitachi will exclusively adopt the IBM z Systems high-performance mainframe hardware as the only hardware for the next generation of Hitachi’s AP series. These systems primarily serve major organizations in Japan. This work expands Hitachi’s previous cooperation with IBM to make mainframe development more efficient through IBM’s global capabilities in developing and manufacturing mainframe systems.
The collaboration, IBM further noted, reinforces its commitment to delivering new innovations in mainframe technology and fostering an open ecosystem for the mainframe to support a broad range of software and applications. IBM recently launched offerings for IBM z Systems that leverage the platform’s capabilities for high capacity, speed, scale and security to deliver cloud-based blockchain services for building new transaction systems and machine learning for analyzing large amounts of data.
IBM also is opening up the mainframe through its Open Mainframe Project, which is a Linux initiative. That’s unlikely to deliver many innovations that bolster Hitachi’s specific z customer base, but others certainly should.
A New OS for z
If you count VOS3, the mainframe now runs a variety of operating systems, including z/OS, z/TPF, VSE, and z/VM operating systems as well as Linux. Reportedly, Hitachi plans to integrate its new mainframe with its Lumada Internet of Things (IoT) offerings. With z scalability, security, massive I/O, and performance the z makes an ideal IoT platform, and IoT is a market IBM targets today. Now IBM is seeding a competitor with the z running whatever appealing capabilities Hitachi’s Lumada offers. Hope the revenue or royalties IBM gets is worth it.
IBM and Hitachi, as explained in the announcement, have a long history of cooperation and collaboration in enterprise computing technologies. Hitachi decided to expand this cooperation to utilize IBM’s most advanced mainframe technologies. Hitachi will continue to provide its customers with a highly reliable, high-performance, highly secure mainframe environment but running the Hitachi VOS3 operating system. Hitachi also agrees to strengthen mainframe functionality and services, which, they claim, should lower TCO, improve ease of system introduction and operation, and boost serviceability.
Syncsort’s mainframe optimization solutions such as it ZP Saver Suite are also targeted to lower TCO. To learn more, watch the recorded webcast Mainframe Optimization in 2017, which discusses key mainframe optimization problems, opportunities and use cases spanning DB2 and network management on z/OS, as well as new ways to save on your monthly IBM MLC charges and new options for long-standing mainframe issues.