IBM’s big iron mainframe is cheaper than RedHat Linux and Solaris UNIX

by on January 3, 2007 · 3 comments· LAST UPDATED January 3, 2007

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Research finds that running 10-50 apps on a mainframe costs less than on one Linux or Solaris server.

I was lucky enough to work on IBM AS/400 system for some time. We used to run AIX, RedHat Debian Linux natively on an iSeries Logical Partition (LPAR).

According to this article:
Fresh light on mainframe total cost of ownership reveals Big Blue's big iron is cheaper than a roomful of servers.

Research house Illuminata's report, 'IBM System z TCO: Man Bites Dog' shows that running 10-50 applications on a mainframe costs less than running the same workload on a one server/one application basis where the servers run Linux or Solaris.

Reasons for low cost / TCO

=> Mainframe has better cooling technology - A mainframe typically requires less electricity and air conditioning than many 1U servers running the same workload.

=> Cost of people - When running multiple applications the mainframe's people costs are much less than those needed to run the same workload on distributed systems.

=> Mainframe memory prices have fallen significantly in recent years.

This is an interesting study :)

Big Blue cheaper than Red Hat

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam K January 4, 2007 at 12:01 am

Very interesting study indeed. I wonder if there are any mainframe hosting sites out there that are using this as a reason why they are “better”. On another note, if mainframes weren’t so expensive, perhaps I’d buy one instead of a 1U.


2 Doyle W January 4, 2007 at 4:25 pm

On the basis of this study I have to ask is an IBM mainframe cheaper when one run one application per mainframe? This is the basis of the comparison. How does and IBM compare to a clustered linux application server which runs 10 to 50 apps on 3 to 5 1U servers?


3 nixCraft January 4, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Adam and Doyle,

Cost is main factor here. No one offers hosting based upon mainfaram. This study is more useful for enterprise computing, IMPO. I think study suggest that you save money using two factores cooling and electricity in a long run.


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