How do you protect the “crown jewels” of your business?
We’re talking about things like critical data that simply can’t fall victim to hacking, or essential applications that can’t suffer even a minute of downtime.
How do you make sure your IT infrastructure reliably supports and secures these sorts of operations, while keeping an eye on the ever-present business drivers of cost and efficiency?
It’s an interesting question, especially in the digital age. The development of the Internet and the availability of massive compute resource has led to an explosion in the number of physical and logical devices IT has to manage today.
Network and application infrastructures now resemble algal blooms in their growth and complexity. Many application and operating system packages are effectively a dead-end with no upgrade path available. And data is becoming a much more valuable asset that needs to be protected and secured.
Most solutions effectively outsource this problem to either a public cloud service provider or hardware vendor, but they don’t address issues such as being locked into proprietary software, or how to control a sprawling virtual infrastructure.
What we want to delve into here is a “less-is-more” mainframe solution, LoZ – Linux on Z .
Characteristics of the LoZ solution include:
- A single, flexible, large server. These days your phone runs several apps at once, so why shouldn’t your IT?
- A configurable system to support workloads of all sizes.
- A system that can run multiple workloads within the same physical unit.
- Virtual instances within the unit that communicate among themselves without the need for firewalls or any physical infrastructure, while providing industry-leading separation and security between them.
- Instances that consume only what resources they need, but are capped so they cannot compromise other systems.
- The automatic removal of instances that do not need resources from the processor so they consume no resource(s).
- The use of open software.
Based on a legacy of commercial compute provisioning that stretches more than 50 years into the past, the LoZ – Linux on Z flavor of mainframe computing continues to offer big advantages, especially in the age of cloud.
Benefits include cheaper hardware, when compared to a traditional mainframe approach, and significant savings on software due to license structures.
LoZ – Linux on Z offers high levels of virtualization, and seamlessly handles software upgrades and updates. And since the hardware is made to run multiple instances – in fact, it’s had that capability since the 1960s – it drives cost savings and makes disaster recovery far more practical for users.
It’s definitely a worthwhile approach to consider. But you’re probably wondering, “why would I look at that over public cloud?”
Well, there may be cost savings involved, especially when you start adding up the options needed to get your cloud to function in the same way. But perhaps the bigger benefit goes back to our initial question, the one about your crown jewels. If you outsource to public cloud, say, a critical application that keeps the transportation system in your city functioning, you need to know without doubt that your cloud won’t let you down.
In our view, if it’s critical to your business – if it’s in that crown jewel category – you should probably host it as simply and as reliably as you can. You’ll want to get as close to a 100% guarantee of service as possible, and you’ll want to know exactly how to recover the system if something breaks down.
Some businesses even like to know where, physically, that critical bit of data or application is resting, just for safekeeping. The cloud can’t give you that.
Simon Everitt is a Mainframe Product Specialist at CSC.
Denis McMahon is Senior Manager: Engineering of CSC’s Platform Development Studio. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Colin Reynolds is Mainframe Product Specialist, Platform Development Studio.