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Jun 15, 2010

Mainframe: Making Movies

By Doug Rock

I enjoy movies. I dig popcorn. I look forward to the trailers. I crave history, so when we contemplated the notion of producing a documentary video on the history of the IBM Mainframe, I was jazzed.

Challenges ensued, but it was fun and in the end, I am proud of our team and what we accomplished. Here’s another plus, I learned some things. The video, which we produced in collaboration with IBM mainframe solution provider CA Technologies, covers computational history from tally sticks to the first System 360 to the latest System z mainframe and beyond.

As I mentioned, it was an educational experience. I had the opportunity to learn about the ground-breaking nature of the IBM System 360, which debuted in 1964. I knew it was integral to the Apollo 11 launch, but I didn’t realize that up to the mid-1960s, business computers were often custom designed and engineered for large corporations and governmental agencies. However, because of its compatibility, the 360 line could be deployed across multiple and diverse businesses and governmental agencies with far less customization.

What was emphatically driven home to me while working on the video, is how the IBM mainframe regularly featured (and still features) the latest and greatest computer technology. It is the original source of some of the most significant computer technology on the planet. Virtualization is frequently cited as the most important technology launched on the IBM mainframe, functionality that up until recently has been absent from most other computing platforms.

What was also hammered home was the loyalty of not only IBM mainframe customers, but also IBMers, mainframe business partners, consultants, pundits and anyone else who has or does work in the mainframe universe. Talk about passion, this group rivals Macintosh and AS/400 customers when it comes to devotion to a computing platform. It was refreshing to experience that type of vigor, especially from some of the young mainframers we interviewed for the video. They’re fired up about their future and I can understand why.

I always knew that IBM mainframes still managed the majority of the world’s data, provided the firepower that runs most of the globe’s financial institutions, not to mention retailers and global governments. It’s a horse. I just never knew what a groundbreaker the system was. Now I do. Pop some corn, silence your cell phone and check out the video. Who knows, you might learn something, too.

You can view the video in its entirety or in individual segments on our website:


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I was unable to find any bits of the video on the link you provided??

Works for me. Under "VIEW the documentary by decade, or in its entirety (at right):" I get an embedded flash object, make sure you have Flash installed.

Take the product description for VMware, remove all platform references, and you have the ivory paper for IBMs VM operating system.

NPARs, VPARs from HP are LPARs and VM guests from IBM.

Where are the IBM's dynamic partitions from the other vendors? They're not quite there yet. They'll catch up.

There is nothing new. The products have different names and run on different platforms, but the concepts and design were IBMs first.

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