World's largest IT company

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. I always thought IBM's mainframe business was so large that it put the
    company comfortably ahead of anybody else in the IT business. But not so,
    according to this <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/17/hp_number_one/>.
    Looks like HP's acquisitions have now made it rival IBM in size. And yet it
    doesn't sell any mainframes.

    So doesn't that mean that mainframes aren't such a huge business any more?
    Some have been calling them "dinosaurs" for over a decade, while others
    kept pointing out how big a business they were. Looks like that era is
    over, and they really are becoming dinosaurs now.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 17, 2006
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

    I don't know. Can a PC reliably run a utility billing and provisioning
    application with over 3 million customers?

    Mainframes will never be dead.
     
    whome, Dec 17, 2006
    #2
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  3. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Chris Lim Guest

    I don't see why not. Is this a limitation you're aware of?
     
    Chris Lim, Dec 18, 2006
    #3
  4. Mainframes are the way to go for large, highly-reliable, mission-critical
    systems that require multiple applications running simultaneously with
    quick and simultaneous access to essential data by thousands of users.

    There still are some things that are so large and so mission-critical that
    a windows box cannot cope with them.

    It all depends on the degree of redundancy and reliability a busness
    requires, and whether or not it wants one Mainframe, or multiple
    individual Unix boxes.


    Aquilegia Alyssum
     
    Aquilegia Alyssum, Dec 18, 2006
    #4
  5. A network of PCs could. If you have a large enough collection of them,
    running a suitably robust clustered computing system, who cares if 5% are
    dead at any given moment. Given the economies of scale in the production of
    PCs, the system could indeed be cheaper than a mainframe.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 18, 2006
    #5
  6. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

    PC's may be 'somewhat' capable. However, Mainframes are industrial strength
    machines which have evolved over many years to provide massive transactional
    power with exceptionally high reliability.

    Would you run your core business applications on a somewhat capable system,
    or a most capable system?

    I know what I'd choose, and I'd be in business while you are going bankrupt
    trying to debug application contention and comms problems .
     
    whome, Dec 18, 2006
    #6
  7. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

    Of course you are correct. But, some people here think pc's have no limits
    so long as you can put them in parallel. Bugger that for my core system.
     
    whome, Dec 18, 2006
    #7
  8. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    frederick Guest

    <snip>
    80% of HP profit last year came from sales of ink and toner.
    For a US$100 billion t/o company, perhaps they should be considered
    first as the world # 1 ink maker, with subsidiaries in the computer and
    peripherals businesses.
     
    frederick, Dec 18, 2006
    #8
  9. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Shane Guest


    Whats google running on these days?
     
    Shane, Dec 18, 2006
    #9
  10. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

     
    whome, Dec 18, 2006
    #10
  11. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Dave Taylor Guest

    For more on the GFS, (Google File System)
    go here, and just search for Google, lots of interesting in depth talks on
    how it really works from people who design and work with it:
    Check out the CSE:
    http://www.researchchannel.org/search/sitesearch.aspx
    http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=4188&fID=345

    There at least two others in the CSE that have interesting info about how
    Google runs its clusters.
     
    Dave Taylor, Dec 18, 2006
    #11
  12. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    steve Guest

    Mainframes now sit quietly under tables in normal rooms.

    Mainframes have a firm niche in recent years as "super servers".

    IBM sells mainframes that can run many MVS images or literally thousands
    of Linux images - each a server in its own right for some user community
    it serves.

    One box - thousands of servers.

    Huge savings.
     
    steve, Dec 18, 2006
    #12
  13. But how much faster will it be, really? Remember that mainframes are
    optimized for bulk throughput, not quick interactive response. Whereas most
    things done with scripting languages are intended for interactive use, such
    as via the Web.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 18, 2006
    #13
  14. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Don Hills Guest

    If it runs on Linux, it'll run on an (IBM) mainframe. Even if you're running
    Z/OS (was MVS), scripting is well taken care of. A large number of the
    queries in the comp.lang.rexx newsgroup are from mainframe programmers.
    Basically, with a modern mainframe, you have a choice. You can either run
    many virtual machines, one for each different application, or you can run
    one or two big mutha apps - like running the application on a PC, but much,
    much faster.
     
    Don Hills, Dec 18, 2006
    #14
  15. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    darkknight Guest


    Well none of those links are any use. This one is much more
    interesting!
    http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html
     
    darkknight, Dec 18, 2006
    #15
  16. I doubt that. In terms of sheer CPU power, there is no big gap between
    mainframes and PCs any more. The mainframes only have the edge in terms of
    I/O bandwidth.
    That's a reliability issue, not performance.
    In that case, it's cheaper to simply do the same calculation on at least 2
    machines. If they agree, accept the result. Otherwise, do it again. Cheaper
    than buying a mainframe.
    Again, that's a reliability issue, not one of performance.
    There are transactional systems that achieve the same thing with massively
    parallel PC hardware. Such as what Google use, for instance.
    On the PC side, there are frameworks that can take care of a lot of the
    details for you. This kind of thing has been researched for some decades
    now.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 18, 2006
    #16
  17. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Don Hills Guest

    A lot faster, really. Your view of a mainframe is somewhat dated. About 20
    years dated... even back in the 80s it was clear that the future was
    transactional processing rather than batch processing.

    A cluster of PCs for a given job will cost less than a mainframe,
    but for a large cluster you need your own maintenance staff because
    there's always something to repair. Say you have an intermittent single-bit
    error in a memory stick in one machine of a 1000-node cluster. It doesn't
    crash the machine, just gives altered data sometimes. If that happens to
    give the wrong result in a critical query, you're screwed. You have failure
    redundancy with a cluster, but no proper error checking. You can specify ECC
    memory and full parity checking on all buses along with redundant power
    supplies, but that adds an order of magnitude to the hardware cost.

    Some of the higher price of a mainframe is in the spec of the components,
    and a lot is in proper error checking and true redundancy. When something
    does fail it is almost always a partial failure - the failing CPU / bus /
    drive/ memory card is placed offline and a service call placed by the
    service processor unit, often without the operators noticing that something
    has failed, and without losing the transaction that was in progress at the
    time.

    On the software side, a single instance of an application, for example a
    web application that makes heavy use of databases, is much easier to
    administer, update and debug than a distributed version of the application.
    Again, you pay more for the mainframe but less for the programmers and
    analysts.
     
    Don Hills, Dec 18, 2006
    #17
  18. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

    Maybe PC's compete on massive parallel processing based tasks that require
    little disk IO.

    But, for a business applications mainframes win hands down.

    Horses for courses i guess.
     
    whome, Dec 18, 2006
    #18
  19. Only certain kinds of business applications--those which are heavily
    transaction-based. Your bank is likely to need such a system, but you
    probably do not.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 19, 2006
    #19
  20. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    whome Guest

    agreed.
     
    whome, Dec 19, 2006
    #20
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