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Sold at Auction: One Mainframe

Time to unplug the mainframe? Just what do you do with that big black box with all of its gear and software--especially if it's only three years old and still running in the data center? That was the dilemma faced by Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, FL when it outgrew its IBM z890 mainframe. Why, if you have nerves of steel, you auction it off on eBay, of course.

According to CIO Tony Parziale, IBM brokers were willing to pay about $30,000 for the box, which housed the college's student information system, financials, personnel, security, Web services, and other applications. That price was still more than it would have been bid at during the college's annual surplus equipment auction. But the move was risky. Bidding started at $995. After a nail-biting eight days, it reached $35,000. Eventually, it topped out at $40,000, $10,000 more than the brokers were willing to ante up. The buyer is responsible for charges related to having an IBM-certified power-down as well as packing and transportation.

As for PBCC, Parziale said the school has moved its enterprise resource planning system to an Intel server running SuSE Linux. "The system runs about three times faster on the Intel," he said. "We lose some of the management tools that we had in the IBM z environment, but the hardware/software acquisition and maintenance cost are a fraction compared to the mainframe."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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