IBM has just installed a Web server for Telia, a large Scandinavian ISP and
telecommunications company. The single S/390 mainframe is replacing 70 Sun
The initial configuration has 11.4 Terabytes of storage (that's 11,400-Gigabytes) and simultaneously runs 1,500 instances of Linux. Each instance of Linux runs IBM's WebSphere Web server software, which is a version of the Open Source Apache Web server.
Telia officials say the S/390 Linux configuration allows them to set up a new customer's Web server in 5 minutes, instead of the 5 hours it took before. Each of the 1,500 Linux instances looks like a dedicated server to the customer, but the entire system is managed from a single console.
While this new Web server cost about 3 million U.S. dollars, it is expected to save large amounts of money over the 70 Sun servers it replaces. IBM expects to expand the system from this initial configuration (I think I saw somewhere that an S/390 can run up to 40,000 instances of Linux).
IBM expects to install many more systems of this type all over the world because it is the most economical solution available to large ISPs today.
Two years ago, people laughed when they heard a Linux distribution for IBM S/390 mainframes was in development - the concept was obviously absurd. They aren't laughing today. Nor is Microsoft - this rig makes IIS (Internet Information Server) running on a dual Pentium look a touch puny.
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