The company's z/VOS software is a CMS application that runs on IBM's z/VM and creates a foundation for Intel-based operating systems.
Users only need a desktop appliance running Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client, which is the same technology used to attach to Windows running on Terminal Server or Citrix-based servers.
Users will be able to connect to their virtual and fully functional Windows environments without any knowledge that the operating system and the applications are executing on the mainframe and not the desktop.
According to the company's Web site, users will be able to create a PC in 15 seconds, have it operational in 15 minutes and use it once or have it permanently without worrying about depreciation of hardware.
Because z/VOS supports x86 architectures, the technology also can run Linux images.
The z/VM hypervisor already natively supports the ability to run hundreds to thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe.
Mantissa is attempting to match that performance for Windows via z/VOS.
The company says z/VOS will eliminate the need to acquire and maintain desktop hardware and costs associated with PCs such as high power consumption.
"The product has been a bear for the development group but the thought of being able to run 3,000 copies of Windows on one System z so fascinated the team that we needed very little additional incentive," Mantissa CEO and founder Gary Dennis said on the IBMVM list serve site last summer when he introduced the z/VOS concept.
Dennis did not respond to inquires asking for comment on this story.
He is scheduled to introduce z/VOS Friday at the annual Share conference in Austin, Texas, during a presentation entitled "x86 Virtualization Technology for System z."
Mantissa says z/VOS will be the cornerstone of what it calls its utility virtualization product line.
"To my knowledge this has never been done on a mainframe, but always on some other kind of terminal server with an Intel architecture and not System z," says Clay Ryder, president of the Sageza Group. "I could see for schools or fixed function workstations. It would be terrific in there is nothing to touch and you can deploy those devices and everything takes place in one central location. As students or users leave, files can be cleaned or archived or whatever and from an administrative point of view that is a real plus."
I think that as virtualisation becomes more and more prevalent, the mainframe will enjoy a resurgence of popularity. Even if running an individual mainframe is more complicated than running one PC, it's definitely not as complicated as managing 2000 or 3000 PCs! Same for power consumption, upgrading, etc., etc.
The future's bright. The future's Blue.