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I am bidding on a small- to medium-sized job for developing a Java application to eventually be deployed on IBM's System Z. I'm very excited about it and though quite frankly I've had very little if any cross-platform compatibility issues with any non-JNI Java deployments, I am hesitant as I don't exactly have a spare 390|z sitting around the office.

Is there anyone who can ballpark an entry-level figure for a zseries? Still bidding now, so I'm hesitant to call up any sales group. I'm ready to be shocked.

Years ago when I was working at an IBM Business Partner for AS/400 (v4r2) apps, we were loaned a couple systems. Is that something I should rather investigate?

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closed as off topic by Mark Henderson Jan 11 '12 at 3:50

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To quote a cartoon " welcome to the wooooorrrllldd of yesterday!!" or something like that.

The problem with System Z is it varies wildly in price and performance. And more so than any other platform, You need sysadmins (sysprogs in the Z world) that know what they are doing. I can be a complex environment and its quite different than any other ( in my opinion).

That said, from the sysprogs that ive got around you might be better to look around for second hand mainframes rather than buying, because the hardware is still really good, but much cheaper. checkout http://www.trustnsr.com/used-ibm-mainframe.html for example ( Im not endorsing them, just giving you an option, they were first on a google search). I heard that you can get the lowest end z10 for 50k. But you really need to have a look at the rest of the infrastructure needed. I get the feeling that that is just the tip of the iceberg. You need a proper datacenter, with seperate storage,yada yada yada.

Have you thought of looking into outsourcers? there is plenty of them all over the world, and it's probably better than buying one, AND hiring a Sysprog to maintain it.

Of course the cost is offset by the eventual huge profit margins that mainframe software attracts, so thats always a positive.

Btw I world in a mainframe lab with about 150 devs though I am one of the younger ones here, just to let you know i do have some experience, not a lot tho.

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Yes, cost is something very much to be aware of. FWIW, I do not believe that the java runtime will be under Linux. I'm pretty sure they want to employ zaap engines for this. –  Xepoch Dec 1 '09 at 17:54
    
The Java runtime will probably be under USS which is the Unix Sub System. This is a unix interface with a HFS filesystem that is supposedly POSIX compliant. But its a bit of a hack really. –  Mark Dec 1 '09 at 23:41

Will your software be running on the mainframe OS or on Linux?

There's an excellent free zSeries/System 390 emulator called Hercules which will run z/Linux and even z/OS if you can get your hands of the software itself.

I think it's more likely your software will be running on a Linux instance on a zSeries, which makes Hercules the perfect choice.

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Hercules looks very interesting. Thanks for that info and a possibly preferable solution. –  Xepoch Dec 1 '09 at 17:52
    
One thing to check with Hercules is how accurate performance statistics you can get out of it. Ive heard that its not so great for that. –  Mark Dec 2 '09 at 0:00
    
You are not allowed to run z/OS on anything other than System z. The last legal member of that family you can use is MVS 3.8j and that is to z/OS as CP/M is to Linux :-) –  paxdiablo Feb 2 '11 at 9:05

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