Linux on z Systems Accelerates New and Traditional Workloads

Linux z Systems
Illustration by Atelier Olschinsky

Client needs are also well-served by running Linux with z/OS or z/TPF on the same platform, as this prevents server sprawl in the data center and streamlines infrastructure.

Many clients host their most mission-critical applications on the mainframe because of its reliability, security and availability. They appreciate the economy of scale the z Systems platform provides. Hundreds of applications can run on the same server, which improves operational efficiency, density and utilization, Adlung says. Co-location minimizes data crawl by placing the data close to the applications to yield high performance and low-latency networking.

Co-location also adds flexibility to the mix. Adlung notes one midsized z Systems client that added Linux to support z/OS. It reaped the benefit of co-locating Linux on IBM z* as well as scaling easily to fit demand. The client was so pleased with the Linux installation that it added workloads independent of z/OS. Now its Linux footprint is larger than that of z/OS. “It is really a blueprint for the utilization of both z/OS and Linux,” he says.

Improved Efficiency

Running Linux on z Systems gives clients all of the benefits of the mainframe platform, which enables many VMs to run at the same time, Thoss explains. Clients see high response times and throughput when running traditional and open-source workloads in parallel because z Systems uses resources such as memory and CPU more efficiently than other platforms. A client can run data of record, such as DB2* on z/OS, and connect it to workloads in the Linux environment, which benefit from the z Systems platform’s security and tooling for both environments.

Linux on IBM z also helps with consolidation. Thoss points to a banking client that experienced a growth surge that resulted in a new bank branch opening daily. The client realized that having a separate x86 server for each branch was making the IT environment unmanageable. It switched to Linux on z Systems to gain more control and better management of its IT. This also resulted in a more cost-efficient system and the ability to grow in the future.

Preparing for Next-Gen Applications

Some traditional, risk-averse clients want to maintain a secure, protected platform, and IBM supports that need. But others are interested in delving into digital innovations. They’re using DevOps and continuous delivery models, which IBM supports, as Linux is the reference platform for these innovations, Adlung notes.

DevOps embraces and uses container-based technologies and builds on microservice architectures. All of these are available on Linux on z Systems. “Clients can use those technologies one by one just as they would on distributed platforms,” Adlung says.

IBM’s three distribution partners provide DevOps tools that are popular with developers and available on z Systems. In addition, IBM is constantly receiving feedback from clients that bring new workloads to the platform, Thoss says. Digital innovation encompasses cloud, too, with the development of next-generation, cloud-native apps. DevOps capabilities using Linux on z Systems help make developers’ lives easier and give your company a competitive advantage, Hosch says.

Workload Efficiency

Every organization relies on its IT platform to handle diverse workloads; this is another area where mainframe excels. Linux on IBM z gives the data center the simplicity and efficiency of a single server that’s scalable and responsive. The reliable platform can run mission-critical operations as well as varied workloads such as analytics and blockchain. Multi-application workloads can be handled effectively when Linux is employed on z Systems.

Analytics workloads have become central to every business. With z Systems, data isn’t pulled from another server and replicated. Instead, it resides close to the workload, thereby reducing latency. Data lakes that exist in a distributed environment can’t exist in a z Systems environment. “We show clients how they can host their data and analytics in close proximity to change their SoRs into systems of insight,” Adlung says. Any client that wants to run analytics as a service can do so using the mainframe.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at

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