Agile and cost-effective mobile with Linux on z Systems

0 Posted by - August 19, 2015 - Blog

It’s no secret that mobile is growing and driving significant increases in workloads on enterprise systems-of-record. It is estimated that mobile devices in use, including both phones and tablets, will grow to over 12.1 billion by 2018Future Market Insight projects the mobile payment transaction services market to expand at a CAGR of 39.1% during the period 2014 – 20202. This cascade of events is resulting in an exponential growth of the so-called “starburst effect” – where a single transaction can trigger as many as one hundred additional system interactions landing on a z Systems back-end.

The impact of increased demand and subsequent interactions with the mainframe systems-of-record, as well as z System’s ability to scale and gracefully handle these significant transaction rates, have been well described. The agility that z Systems can bring to-bear when engaging mobile users has not necessarily been captured yet.

In a world where user-experience and engagement have become king and expectations for rich, personal, and immediate experience are at an all-time high, agility is all about meeting those demands by getting to market quickly and effectively with the right feature/function to rapidly solve business problems. From a technology perspective, agility translates into requirements for best-of-breed capabilities across the ecosystem, where security and management combine with industry leading scale and performance.

In short, Agility = Capability + Speed

For instance, Node.js continues to be a tremendously popular framework for enabling mobile applications. With more than 173,000 packages available from the public repository and with a growth rate that is 3x greater than any other language or runtime, Node.js has established itself as a defacto standard for mobile application development. Node provides a rich and highly scalable set of capabilities, high performance, low overhead and a simplified development experience.

The IBM® SDK for Node.js on Linux on z brings together all the capabilities of the Node.js ecosystem with the performance and scale of the IBM Linux on z platform. z Systems’ industry leading I/O and single thread performance (5.5 GHz) are ideal matches for the event-driven non-blocking I/O architecture that are inherent to scaling Node.js. A recent measurement in the lab demonstrated that Node on IBM z13 performs 2x better than leading competitive processors.

node.js throughput

Co-location with z Systems-of-record results in a simplified infrastructure reduced operational risk, enhanced security, and yielded better response-times. In a recent lab demonstration, co-locating a mobile application running on Node.js and connecting into a system-of-record on z/OS demonstrated a 2.5x response-time advantage. Given that mobile users will inherently require that the application meet a strict SLA (formal or not), the 2.5x advantage translates directly into an opportunity for greater insights, customization, and engagement from the application.

In addition to having all the capabilities of the Node.js eco-system, Linux on z also provides more formal enterprise capabilities with the IBM MobileFirst Platform, which has been largely recognized as a leader in the mobile application development space. IBM MobileFirst Platform has been available on Linux on z Systems since 2012 and has quickly become a popular offering with clients who need a more comprehensive solution that manages the end-to-end life-cycle of mobile apps. IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation helps enterprises deliver on their mobile strategy. It provides an open and comprehensive platform to not only build, but also test, run, and manage native, hybrid, and mobile web apps.

A recent competitive study by IBM has shown that running IBM MobileFirst Platform on Linux on z Systems to leverage co-location with a system-of-record running on z/OS, improved response-times by up-to 36% and improved throughput by up to 61% when compared to placing the mobile front-end on an alternative off-platform system. The enhanced response time and throughput represent time and bandwidth that can be used to drive additional enrichment of the mobile experience while still meeting required response-times. In addition, the study demonstrated a 37% lower transaction cost. As such IBM MobileFirst delivers industry-leading capability in combination with industry leading performance and scale when deployed on Linux on z. This translates into unmatched agility in delivering mobile solutions to meet today’s business needs, while reducing costs.

mobilefirst on z13

As we look at the quickly expanding ecosystem on Linux on z—including Ruby/Rails, python, Php/zend, MongoDB, CouchDB, Postgres, MariaDB, Docker, Chef, Puppet, and many more— and considering how this broad set of capability is complemented by industry leading performance and security, it seems hard to ignore the fact that Linux on z does provide unique capabilities in solving business critical problems like no other platform. And with IBM’s recent announcement of LinuxONE as the industry’s most powerful and secure enterprise-grade Linux platform, IBM’s commitment to Linux is clear.  I certainly hope you get a chance to try it for yourself soon.


By Marcel Mitran – IBM DE, CTO IBM Systems, Software Performance and Linux Ecosystem