Cloud computing technology enables the 'software mainframe'

Virtual machines alone also do not constitute a software mainframe. Cloud computing technology makes the idea of a "software mainframe" a possibility.

Features of the “software mainframe”


Screenshot of VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), which can be configured to automatically move workloads among x86 server nodes in a cluster according to resource availability. Image courtesy VMware Inc.

The software mainframe, meanwhile, is in its infancy compared with the traditional mainframe. VMware Inc., the “first mover” in x86 virtualization, was founded in 1998, more than 30 years after virtualization first became available on System z.

Virtual machines alone also do not constitute a software mainframe -- the phrase more accurately describes a private cloud, in which resources are centrally pooled and automatically provisioned on demand, based on clusters of commodity hardware that scale out, rather than scaling vertically like the mainframe and multiple operating systems.

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This was first published in May 2011

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