Today’s global business climate is fundamentally changing the way we develop, deploy and manage applications and technologies – especially on the mainframe. The challenges of managing and controlling technology in our evolving world include dealing with the coexistence of distributed and cloud environments, the growing complexity in a world striving for simplification, the expanding workloads (including analytics, cloud, big data, and DevOps), rising operational costs, and attracting new talent.
For those with mainframes, these challenges are being addressed through workload and database consolidation, virtualization, cloud deployment, and training for a new generation. But what’s the ideal approach? How can we address these problems while continuing to be relevant and igniting innovation with today’s changing business conditions? Ultimately, we need to adapt our mainframe environments to accommodate the traditional and new workloads with the right portfolio of tools and applications – optimized for z Systems and LinuxONE mainframes.
How important is adapting to changing conditions? When Apollo 13’s lunar landing was aborted in April of 1970, NASA and the Apollo crew had to adapt the Command Module processes in order to stay alive and return safely to Earth. An oxygen tank exploded in the service module upon which the Command Module depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, a shortage of potable water, and critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, they were able to adapt processes, rerouting power for life support and navigation systems – landing safely on April 17, almost 47 years ago.
While that’s an extreme example of optimizing applications and processes in a life-threatening situation, what they were able to accomplish back then is draw from many different data elements, collaborate, and come up with a situation-aware solution through quick adaptation. In the business world, and especially in the mainframe environment, Linux provides the collaborative environment needed to manage physical, virtual, and cloud workloads. We can see further by collecting data and information from a variety of data sources, business processes, cloud and enterprise applications, rule sets, social networks, and more – using all of that data to trigger appropriate changes and actions. It’s all about adapting quickly based on as much intelligence and analytics as possible. And today all of that can be accomplished with the right portfolio of Linux-based products running in the mainframe world.
The SUSE portfolio for IBM LinuxONE is constructed to address the challenges of today, adapting to the powerful and scalable environment that is offered by the hardware. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE exploits the advanced virtualization technologies available while providing the most popular enterprise-class operation system for z Systems – handling physical, virtual or cloud environments with ease. As you can see in the diagram, elements like cloud deployment, container management, deployment management and systems analysis are essential parts of the SUSE Portfolio that help adapt your environment to the needs of today and tomorrow. Let’s briefly describe each essential element:
SUSE OpenStack Cloud is powered by OpenStack, the leading community driven, open source, cloud infrastructure project, and packaged with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The product is fully integrated with the SUSE maintenance and support infrastructure. Use SUSE OpenStack Cloud to deploy your applications to private or hybrid cloud environments.
Docker is an open source project that automates the deployment of applications inside software containers, and is fully supported for z Systems. Using containers for atomic functions is becoming more and more popular as a clean and manageable way of modularizing the execution environment.
SUSE Manager for z Systems delivers best-in-class open source infrastructure management capabilities that empower IT to reduce complexity and regain control of IT assets by enabling you to comprehensively manage Linux systems with a single, centralized solution. SUSE Manager provides automated and cost-effective software, asset, patch and configuration management, as well as system provisioning and monitoring capabilities. These capabilities enable you to easily manage your enterprise Linux system deployments across physical, virtual and cloud environments.
SUSE Manager leverages the SaltStack platform, or Salt. Salt is a Python-based open source configuration management software and remote execution engine. Supporting the “Infrastructure as Code” approach to deployment and cloud management, it competes primarily with Puppet, Chef, and Ansible – which are all available for z Systems via SUSE Package Hub.
Chef is a configuration management tool using pure-Ruby DSL for writing system configuration “recipes”. Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring and maintaining a company’s servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms to automatically provision and configure new machines. Ansible is a free software platform for configuring and managing computers which combines multi-node software deployment, ad hoc task execution, and configuration management. And Puppet is an open source configuration management tool that includes its own declarative language to describe system configuration.
Machinery is an application for creating descriptions of Linux systems and working with them, supporting use cases such as configuration discovery, system validation, and service migration. Machinery is based on the idea of a universal system description. It is transparent, extensible and crafted beautifully – and made for the system administrator of the data center.
SUSE Studio is designed to build and test software applications, supporting the creation of physical, virtual or cloud-based applications. It is available online or onsite, which enables you to build your own application images or appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
KIWI is a command line tool, written in Perl, for building images for Linux and supporting a variety of image formats. KIWI is used as a back-end for the appliance builder in SUSE Studio. It is also used to build images in the openSUSE Build Service.
In summary, mainframe applications today need the fusion of advanced virtualization technologies with cloud services and intelligent systems management for rapid responsiveness and adaptation to changes. In short, organizations need an adaptive application development environment for the mainframe that leverages a cohesive cloud-aware environment that sparks growth – through faster time to value using Linux on the mainframe.
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