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Dismembering the dinosaur

We took apart the mainframe today. The City's two-years-defunct IBM System/390 mainframe came to know the tender mercies of Mark-my-unindicted-co-conspirator and me. We had some help from our intern and one of the desktop techs. In about an hour we had all off the pieces (system unit, FEP, terminal controller, six tape drive cabinets, and three high-speed printers) uncabled and corralled into a corner of the printer room. Mark and I had finally had enough of walking past this system which was just taking up space and running up the light bill. Our need for floor space to setup a small SAN provided the final straw.

Lemme tell you, there were some mighty big power cords feeding this thing. By far the largest was the inch-and-a-quarter thick cable powering the reel-to-reel tape drives. Heavy and stiff; a fine illustration of why people call mainframe cables Boas. This feed was 208 volts, 3 phase, 60 amps — a mere 23,000 Watts. We left the several hundred feet of heavy, blue "bus and tag" cables stuffed under the floor to be dealt with later.

After almost two years of stagnation after the official "turn off" it felt really good to get this old beast out of the way. We'll start using floor space occupied by the mainframe to bring our servers out of the cramped, too-warm server room. The data center was laid out by the last Director of city IS; an old mainframe guy who wanted his pride and joy in the middle of things, with those nasty PC servers relegated to a stuffy back room. Soon, we will change this.

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