Friday, November 4, 2011

Mainframe on a phone?

I was scanning through Destinationz a couple days ago and I noticed an entry in the Evangelizing Mainframe blog called "Mainframe on a phone".

The blog doesn't go into huge detail, but does mention some options about bringing mainframe information to smartphone technology.

This made me think of something I've been experimenting with, which is getting the Tivoli Portal GUI to run on an iPad. I actually have something working now, and what's nice is it's really not that hard to do if you have the right infrastructure.

How to do it? In my home office lab (a.k.a Bearcat Chaos Manor), I run a variety of test/sandbox platforms (z/OS running on zPDT, multiple windows boxes, Linux, you name it). At any time I may have one or more Tivoli Portals running, and usually I run them in VMWare images. VMWare works well and makes things nice and portable.

A nice little thing about VMWare is that you have VNC support built right into it. There's a check box you click to enable the VNC support, you specify a port number to connect to, and you are in business. Once that's done, all you need is to set up VNC support on the iPad side. From the iTunes store there are a variety of VNC viewers you can install. I started with Mocha VNC Lite (in other words free). This worked OK, but had certain limitations. So I broke down and spent $5, and got the full version of Mocha VNC Viewer.

With the full version of Mocha VNC Viewer, the interface works very well. You can easily see the TEP screens, the displays render very quickly, click and drag functions work well. I was even able to do things like create situations using the iPad. It all works very nicely. Now, you are not going to do this on an iPhone (the screen is too small). But for an iPad, this works very well.

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