Microsoft Windows running on a mainframe? Could this be the greatest abomination since the Labradoodle (before you Labradoodle owners out there skewer me, I’m sorry but the Labrador Retriever is such a wonderful dog and to corrupt this fine breed with Poodle blood is a bane to me)?
Anyway, this week’s Network World magazine carries an article by John Fontana reporting on software developed by Mantissa that allows Windows to be run natively on IBM’s Z series mainframes.¬† With this, users can provision fully functional Windows desktop instances on the mainframe, running from a desktop appliance through a Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).¬† The estimate from Mantissa is that 3,000 PC instances can be supported on a single mainframe.
The concept of running this many instances on a mainframe certainly offers food for thought about the desktop hardware depreciation model one may be using in the enterprise.¬† It also causes one to wonder how this sort of workload impacts the traditional transaction processing nature of the mainframe, as well as the question about how many enterprises have spare mainframe capacity laying around to apply in this way.¬† I guess it could be attractive to just that enterprise.
Looking forward a bit, if this concept grows wings and becomes a part of a larger enterprise virtualization play, what impact might this have on the trend of deployment of blade servers in the data center?¬† It would be interesting to examine the financial modeling of what conditions would be necessary to begin the shift from blade farms to such an installation.¬† Similarly, there may be Green IT and Green Data Center implications possible with this development as well.