[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Apple vs IBM

On Sun, 13 Jul 2003, Jeroen Roovers wrote:

> On 13 Jul 2003 at 4:53, debian@computerdatasafe.com.a wrote:
> > > Say you have a ginormous rig standing in a clean room, that is 
> > > business critical, runs a handful or even several dozens of 
> > > (clustered) 604e processors. Say you want to develop and test new 
> > 
> > This is not such a box. It's a desktop/deskside unit, a workstation. The
> > 604e-based server is somewhat cheaper at $3599 and for that you get one
> > CPU and, as far as I can tell, no ability to add a second.
> In that case, you simply missed the point. This is a workstation, and 
> a mainframe multiprocessor configuration with up to eight such 
> processors is not a myth: a quick search reveals a 1998 model with 8 

I know they exist, they still do, but that's back then my Pentium II was
current, and by my reckoning the P II is a much more powerful CPU than
the 604e.

> processors, the 7013-J50 <http://www1.ibmlink.ibm.com/cgi-
> bin/master?xh=vxwdytweMAF2$X2USenGnN9332&request=salesmanual&parms=H%5
> F7013%2DJ50&xhi=salesmanual%5E&xfr=N>, an eight-way (dual-processing) 
> machine.

I think the strong point on that machine is the memory bandwidth. Note
that it's a server, not a workstation, though with eight CPUs it would
have been quite good at CPU-intensive work in its day.

However, its day (for that) was eight years ago.

> I've already tried to explain how a workstation can accompany a 
> server for the purposes of development and testing, and further below 
> I'll try to explain in more detail.
> > > software for that system. In that case, you need a system that runs 
> > > the same software on the same hardware. The rig cost your company 
> > > several 100,000 dollars to deploy, and at some point you need an 
> > > extra or replacement workstation to develop and test your software 
> > > on. O, and besides that, you as the developer are payed a yearly sum 
> > > that could buy your company several dozen high-end Athlon 
> > > workstations. Does a 8,000 dollar strike you as odd under those 
> > > conditions? Remember that this workstation isn't just cheap hardware; 
> > > it's cheap hardware for which IBM will supply you with expensive 
> > > spare parts for years and years to come.
> > 
> > RS/6000 43P Model 150 is not that kind of box, it's a workstation, has
> > good graphics.
> The RS/6000 43P Model 150 is also available as an entry level server 
> <http://www-
> 132.ibm.com/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/eServer/pSe 
> ries/entry/43P150.html>, by the way.  

I missed the server, I was looking for the machine nearest the Mac.
> As a workstation, it has optional high performance graphics. To quote 
> from the blurb at <http://www-
> 1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/pseries/hardware/workstations/43p_150_desc.h
> tml>:
>    The entry POWER GXT130P 2D graphics accelerator meets the graphics
>    requirements of many technical and commercial applications. This
>    accelerator is also a cost-effective choice for environments that
>    require a graphical console.
> In other words: You *can* get high performance 3D graphics 
> acceleration, but that's just an option (and not even an actual 
> performance consideration today).
> > People who want lots of CPU power tend to go for IA32 and run Linux.
> > That's how Shrek was rendered. The Dreamworks folk also usded SGI
> > workstations running IRIX, but now they're using Linux for everything.
> I was referring to workstations that accompany mainframes, not 
> rendering farms. Your 3D performance argument doesn't hold. Besides, 
> this box runs AIX by default (with OpenGL support, it must be said).

I used to be a system programmer and an applications, working with IBM
mainframes. Our terminals were 3270-family screens, 80 characters wide
and varying depths. When I had a PC on my desk, I used software to
emulate 3270 terminals.

We logged onto MVS or VM (I never used VSE, but it has comparable
tools), and all source code editing, program compilation and execution
was done on the mainframe.

The mainframe does not have PPC CPUs (unless they're hidden in the
channels or devices, quite probable). it has the latest incarnation of
the S/360 design dating back to the 1960s.

To verify this, use Google to search IBM's websites:
site:ibm.com mainframe

The iSeries (formerly AS/400) computers are described by IBM as
"mid-range" and evolved from IBM's minicomputers, System/3,
System/3{3,6,8} etc. These machines ordinarily run OS/400.

I think the pSeries evolved from what IBM termed its scientific
computers: certainly from computers called "RS/6000" and which
originally conformed to IBM's Microchannel Architecture - the same bus
IBM used for its PS/2 personal computers.

> If you develop applications to run on mainframes, having a 
> workstation handy to not only develop, but also test your 
> compilations on is a great advantage: you can spare your mainframe 
> from compile/debug jobs, and avoid risks to its availability. The 
> performance of a mainframe is merely its secundary objective; it's 
> the availability of data and services that counts.

As I said above, I have experience in that area, and that's not how its
done for IBM's mainframes.

With the pSeries I have no experience, but the PPC 604E doesn't seem a
good choice for compiling programs. Tried compiling a Linux kernel or
XFree on once recently?

A Power4 CPU may well be useful for that role. I prefer a
better-performing system because I don't see sense in users waiting for
its reponses.

Besides the processing power, there is the matter of software licences.
On mainframes, you need licences for the OS itself, also for TSO/E, JES2
or JES3, VTAM, ISPF and a lot of other stuff. IBM being IBM, I'd be
surprised if the pSeries licencing was much different. Apart from AIX
and its components, you need your DBMS, your compiler(s), your CASE
tools, maybe some commercial source-code tools and on it goes. Sharing a
high-end system, using Xterminals makes a lot of sense.

BTW, someone said AIX doesn't run on an Apple. Someone once told me he'd
tried it to see whether it would. His report, it did.

> A workstation with a relatively ancient CPU such as the 604e can now 
> only be sold (for that much money) because it is essential to the 
> process of deploying applications to mainframes using the same 604e 
> processors, which have been in use now for many years (since 1995?), 
> and as mainframes go, may be in use for another ten to twenty years. 
> Not for their performance, but for their availability and 
> irreplaceability.

I don't find the argument convincing. Can I not build on a high-end
pSeries, targetting one with a 604e?

>    Jeroen


John Summerfield

Please, no off-list mail at all at all. This address accepts mail only
from Debian addresses.

Reply to: