Looks like I'm getting a zSeries after all!
Landed up going down there again to drop off some Sparc gear for my bud, and the "IBM guy" just happened to be sitting in his office twiddling his thumbs (apparently a very rare situation). So I landed up knocking on his door and chatting him up about the z9 EC. Not surprisingly, the unit does run off 3-phase power and requires dual 240VAC/60A circuits to boot. As I wasn't entirely clear what was going on before, the storage units (I think he called them a "shark"?) are being dedicated to the new machine, though it's not like I could have crammed them in the garage- they take up more room then the z9 itself and also require 3-phase power.
Went back down to the machine floor to take a look at a lone pSeries 275 and landed up walking past an already disconnected single cabinet zSeries machine. It had a red metallic stripe on the front rather then the blue/purple on the z9, so I asked about it... Turns out it's a z800/2066, with 16GB of RAM, ESCON/FICON connectivity options, HMC/Support Element (looked like a freestanding tower instead of a laptop), and it's licensed for z/OS (though again, no software included). There were also 4 DS6000 storage units installed in another rack, loaded with disk drives (not sure how many or what the size was- all I know is that it's apparently bootable, I'm guessing they're 36 or 72GB drives).
Turns out they're looking to get rid of this system, *and* the storage units too. Best of all, the z800 runs off single-phase 240VAC (still need a beefy breaker and some thick wiring though), and the DS6000 units run off 120/240 single-phase (dual C13 connectors on the rear).
The gear certainly wasn't free (I question if they were going to give me that z9 for nothing)- landed up paying $3750, plus time and effort to cart two racks, some sort of tape drive/library, two desktops (the p275 and HMC), a monitor, box of cables, and a bunch of documentation home. Got a truck lined up for next weekend, hopefully I'll be able to get a 240VAC line installed in my basement (which is thankfully walk-out) along with a window A/C unit to keep the z800 cool, along with a few ethernet lines up to my office so I can plunk the HMC down on my desk.
Either way, I'm told the machine shouldn't have any issues booting Linux, and apparently it's coming with everything I need to IPL it. Aside from the HMC which is preconfigured, the software is apparently my issue, so I suppose it'll be fun to get this machine up and running. Certainly the largest box I've /ever/ owned, and the fact that it at least boots Linux is nice (though z/OS would be nicer- I'll have to check out the z/VM trial).
The only real downside is that my 4800 got axed as a part of the deal- I don't have the need or desire to keep it around (it sucks up a fair whack of power and throws of enough heat to keep half the basement comfortable in the winter), and my friend said he'd gladly give it a good home... Hell, though, I'd trade a Sun 4800 for a frickin' zSeries 64-bit box any day.
Will try to post pics when I get the box in the basement and IPL'ing.
I've got butterfingers!