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IBM to ship latest Z/OS for mainframes

IBM has announced the latest release of its Z/OS mainframe operating system, featuring enhancements to its resource-sharing and...

IBM has announced the latest release of its Z/OS mainframe operating system, featuring enhancements to its resource-sharing and security capabilities.

The company also announced that it has boosted its Z/900 mainframe hardware with a new PCI-accelerator card that it claimed would result in significantly better system-level performance compared with existing models.

The Z/OS is IBM's new name for its OS/390 mainframe operating system. It was first announced, along with IBM's 64-bit Z/900 mainframes, in October 2000.

With this new release, which IBM first unveiled in September, the company is building on several key features supported by Z/OS, said Peter McCaffrey, IBM's enterprise platform director.

The new Z/OS V1R2.0, for example, extends the capabilities of the Intelligence Resource Director (IRD) to customers running Linux and Z/VM applications on the Z/900, McCaffrey said.

IRD is designed to dynamically and intelligently re-allocate system resources, such as memory and processor capacity, to applications that need them most. So, for example, an e-commerce application running on one mainframe partition would be able to use resources from another lower-priority partition if the need arose.

With this release, IBM has extended those capabilities to Linux and Z/VM applications on the Z/900, McCaffrey said.

Also introduced is a new server-to-server networking technology called Hipersockets, which speeds up communications between server partitions. This "network-in-the-box" capability cuts costs and complexity because it eliminates the external networks that were previously needed.

Z/OS's security capabilities have also been enhanced. IBM said it is making available new intrusion-detection technology that scans incoming data for threats. It is also extending its cryptographic co-processor support to Linux applications.

The Z/OS represents IBM's efforts to attract new applications to the mainframe, said David Floyer, an analyst at IT Centrix. The operating system's support for Linux and its enhanced resource-sharing capabilities are examples of how IBM is making it easier to run multiple workloads on the mainframe, Floyer added.

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