IBM is about to launch its first ever cloud-based mainframe

IBM is making Z-series mainframes available on IBM Cloud for the first time

IBM has confirmed the launch date for its new mainframe-as-a-service offering, several months after the project was first announced.

In a press release, Big Blue confirmed that mainframes running its proprietary z/OS will be available via the cloud from June 30, 2022.

The caveat is that the service will initially be open to existing IBM Cloud customers only. And even then, customers will need to ensure they “use the IBM sales process to be allow-listed” in order to gain access.

While this will be a functional service at launch, with users able to generate custom images of their existing mainframes, IBM wants users to think of this as an initial test for what is to come.

Mainframes in the cloud

Through its new initiative, IBM intends to make it easier to develop z/OS applications, which should in turn support its own sales. Mainframe pricing is typically based on consumption, meaning IBM is incentivized to encourage development on its proprietary platform.

The move is also designed to help the company increase its relatively small share of the cloud market, which currently sit at around 4%, well below Google Cloud (10%), Microsoft Azure (21%) and AWS (33%).

Separately, it should also bring enhancements to performance, while reducing the need for specialist skills and on-site staff that are usually required for server maintenance. The company says that using IBM Cloud for z/OS development should be 15 times quicker than a typical x86 environment.

As part of its initial release, VMs can be created in London (United Kingdom), Tokyo (Japan), Toronto (Canada) and Sao Paulo (Brazil), though we expect a wider rollout in the future.

By Craig Hale

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