The debate on what per say is a mini...

From: Geoff Roberts <>
Date: Mon Dec 18 16:22:13 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: "McFadden, Mike" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 3:10 AM
Subject: Re: The debate on what per say is a mini...

> I have seen several articles on why companies are choosing mainframes
> servers for PC networks.
> 1. Scalability If you need a PC based server for every 100 PC's and a
> system administrator for each server and you have 2000 PC's then you
need 20
> system administrators, also 20 backups, also 20 sets of passwords,
> permissions and rights lists. How do you keep the systems
synchronized and
> running. Logistics nightmare.

Uh, it does depend a bit on what sever O/S. NT is a nightmare, and it
crashes a lot, though it's quite stable if no-one is using it,(!)
another Catholic School in the next town has an uptime on an NT box
around the 400 day mark, but it has no user access, and just runs a
proxy and dhcp server. Unix, though infinitely more stable, is not an
ideal platform to integrate into a PC Win9x environment, (yes, I know
about Samba, but it has its share of problems as well.). The best of
the breed for this appears (IMHO) to be Novell Netware. It allows
multiple servers in a single directory services tree, and it's quite
feasible for one or two suitably trained individuals to preside over
quite a large network. There are also high reliablilty variants

> 2. Predictability. You can buy a "mainframe" from IBM and know what
> licenses, and hardware will cost. Your software probably won't need
> infinite number of patches to run. You can buy known network and
> solutions.

True enough. Substitute DEC^H^H^H Compaq Alpha for IBM and Tru64 or VMS
for the O/S and
similar things apply. Compatibility, particularly in the
document/spreadsheet/database environment with other organisations who
are mostly using MS crud is more of a problem, (in the school
environment it would be very difficult)

> 3. Stable OS. The operating system is a known quantity with
> costs to support. You can hire staff that have mainframe experience.
> 4. IBM actually is selling more "mainframe" hardware than ever before.

IF you are big enough to afford it. Yes. Those of us without the IT
budget of BHP (Hmmm, make it US Steel for the US types)
would find it impossible to contemplate. But it would be nice, though I
think I would fancy DEC/Compaq over IBM personally,
(and yes, I realise an Alphaserver with X x 1Ghz CPU's and 1Gb of ram is
not a mainframe, but then a System 390 is just one box these days too.)

> Enough with the big iron.

Can never have enough Big Iron. Bite your tongue. ;^) (Looks at Vax
6000-440 in machine room)


Geoff Roberts
Computer Systems Manager
Saint Mark's College
Port Pirie,
South Australia
ICQ: 1970476
Received on Mon Dec 18 2000 - 16:22:13 GMT

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