14 May 2007

So where's the benefit from test plan charlie for the end user?

This is a question that has been driving me nuts for a while now.

There are lots of stories about various companies using the type of architecture that Boyes set out to validate, but they are all using them internally. Even the company he was nominally doing the validation work for when he did that, Telia, were using it in the back end of a product offering. So where's the application of that same economy of scale for us end users? Today the net is littered with dozens (hundreds?) of companies that will sell (rent? lease? whatever...) you a Virtual Dedicated Server, but every single one of them I have found is either running on Xen/VMWare on Intel hardware, or is some kind of home built cobbled together Rube Goldbergian contraption.

Where are the Linux on VM on s390x vendors?

I've been searching for a few months now and I simply can't find them. If I had the
cash to do it I'd snag one of the older systems that have surfaced on a few
corporate/academic surplus sites and start a hosting provider myself!

For those not familiar with the topical reference, some details on Test Plan Charlie, and what it means.



Blogger Blueman said...

How about IBM?


4:06 AM  
Blogger cabbey said...

The testdrive program is exactly that... a test drive. It's intended for folks that are developing linux software to try it out on linux on zSeries. It's not a dedicated machine (virtual or otherwise) it's not a long term system (30 days usually the limit) and it's certainly not something you would have complete control over. And it's certainly not something I would use to host my domain's email, or do some web serving or application development out of. It's just not a VDS.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Blueman said...

There's a link on the Test Drive Web site for a paid service beyond the 30 days if you're a software developer. If you're talking about general Linux on mainframe hosting services, that's available, too. Here you go:


9:45 PM  
Blogger cabbey said...

Yeah, see that's nowhere near competing with the Intel based Virtual Dedicated Server market. They're not even trying. Those systems are dedicated developer machines, not general purpose systems that you can do whatever you want with. I mean just look at the pre-req's to them:

1. You have to be a partner world member, ok that's not impossible, but it's non-trivial.
2. You have to submit an application detailing what your application is that you will be developing/testing/maintaining on the system.
3. it's $750/month.

Another factor is network access. I've not used the zSeries systems at the Dallas center, but when I used iSeries systems they had deployed for a similar program the access to them was not direct, it was via a hop through another system. The actual systems in that setup had addresses. Note that for the zSeries offering they are very clear about what network accesses you get: secure shell and secure copy. That's it.

That's why I had written the entire test drive program off. The fee based offering for folks beyond the 30 day free offering doesn't really change much about the offering, just the time duration and the cost.

Now the eBusiness Hosting Services you point too are a different story, one I hadn't looked at yet. And now that I have looked at it, I see why I hadn't. Wow. Talk about overkill. If I'm reading that correctly the MINIMUM configuration you can get is 4 virtual servers in a virtual cage, with an IGS managed network connecting them. I don't even want to think about what that would cost.

Perhaps I wasn't clear in who I'm looking for a zSeries competitor to. This google query I think does a good job of showing the market I'm talking about. It includes some as cheap as $20 / month with 8G of storage and 100G of bandwidth a month.

10:31 PM  

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