At Eranea, we leverage the benefits of Java slogan “Write Once, Run Anywhere” or even better “Write Once, Run Everywhere” every single day: our customers have the freedom to choose their OS platform to run their Cobol application automatically transcoded to Java.
Our NeaRuntime framework and the application Java code that we generate just require a regular Java Virtual Machine to run flawlessly. This JVM can run then on many platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, zOS or zLinux IBM mainframe, AS/400 from IBM, etc. So, customers can choose whatever they need or prefer.
But, it doesn’t mean that don’t have favorites: our preference goes to Linux on x86. Let’s see why.
The Linux Choice
The Linux Foundation recently posted the following video “How Linux is built” to propose a visual and fun version of his recent report “Linux Kernel Development: How Fast it is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It”
This video provides a lot of very interesting figures:
- concerning penetration, Linux gets (positively) overwhelming : 850’000 new Androids phones running Linux activated every single day, most of the 700’000 TV sets sold every day run Linux, 8 out 10 financial trades are made on Linux, etc.
- the tech stars of 2012 (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.) all built their gigantic infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of servers on Linux. It was easy to bet the house on Linux as they were nimble startups. But, anyway, they did it and their scale now proves that Linux can be the right infrastructure for the largest and most stringent companies in the world !
- 8’500 developers coming from 800 companies have, since 2005 only, contributed patches to the 15 millions lines of Linux kernel: 10’000 of those patches are applied in every new kernel release that comes out every 2-3 months.
This figures are highly important for us:
- It is not by chance that companies like Intel, IBM, Nokia and Oracle are in the Top10 contributing companies to the kernel. They can’t take the risk that they hardware devices would not run optimally with Linux: so, they contribute hardware-related optimizing patches to make sure that the kernel makes best use of all the smart architectural and technological features they include in their last servers or devices! Isn’t that a guarantee of longevity, quality and efficiency.
- The efficiency and scalability is also proven from another angle: scientific calculation benchmarks. As of today, 10o% of the leading 10 machines in the Top500 ranking deliver their teraflops based on Linux: more than 10.5 teraflops for the K computer running Linux on its 705’000 Sparc cores !
- Migration to Linux has been achieved by major stock exchanges in the world: London Stock Exchange, NYSE, Euronext, Deutsche Börse Group, etc. Those institutions are supposed to be rather risk-averse. So, when they migrate to Linux, it’s a clear sign for all other companies, in the financial industry or not, that time has also come for them !
Beyond all advantages above, Linux is our recommendation #1 to clients for another of its feature: it is Open Source so 100% free if you are ready to rely of a pure community version. If you don’t want to go so far, version sold and supported by companies like Redhat are really cheap compared to proprietary operating systems. It does mean that there no money to be made for Linux suppliers: Redhat recently announced that it just crossed the bar of 1 billion dollars in yearly revenue! A significant achievement, of course for Redhat but also the entire Linux / Open Source community, as noted by Jim Zemlin, executive director of Linux Fondation, on his blog.
This achievement is also very reassuring for CIOs seeking arguments to motivate their migration to Linux: it is no longer a hobbyist gadget but a real operating system supported by big and reliable companies!
Anyway, a Linux distribution like Redhat is valued well over 10 billions dollars in R&D costs. So, sound business managers by IT suppliers will from now on bet strong on it for decades: such a jewel cannot be found every day as a part of our collective (free) commons !
The x86 choice
The second part of our recommendation for customers willing to transcode their Cobol application to Java via our technology and looking for the most optimal hardware platform is the x86 architecture (either by Intel or AMD, it doesn’t matter.
This is motivated by:
- worldwide server shipments: the x86 architectures dominates heavily with over 2/3 in revenue share and much more in machine shares (because x86 machines are always cheap compared to high-end proprietary servers)
- optimal efficiency: suppliers like HP, Dell, IBM always rank top in respected benchmarks like TPC-C from the price-performance perspective: x86 machines powered by Linux always come far ahead of more proprietary architectures (Sparc, PowerPC, etc.) when costs are given first priority. It is also true with the JBB 2005 benchmark from SPEC.
By the way, we consider those 2 benchmarks best representative for workloads like those we obtain when we convert administrative business applications from Cobol to Java. They allow customers to obtain public figures on machines / architectures that come to their mind when they plan their migration.
To sum up, our architectural recommendation is to select the path of horizontal growth by progressively building a cluster of “regular” (i.e not equipped with fancy hardware) x86 powered by Linux.
Scalability and reliability are simple and easy to achieve: Linux is packed with features providing redundancy, fail-over, load balancing, etc. to such a growing and mission-critical cluster !