Double performance mainframe raises software cost concerns

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Double performance mainframe raises software cost concerns

Cliff Saran

IBM has revealed further details of the z9, the successor to its z990 high-end mainframe, offering up to twice the performance and capacity of its predecessor.

According to Doug Nielson, senior eServer consultant at IBM, the z9 offers users more capacity and ability to consolidate IT systems.

But no pricing information is available about software licences until September, when the machine is expected to launch, so users will be unable to ascertain how much the box will actually cost to run.

Isham Research analyst Phil Payne, who has been investigating the pricing, has found some problems relating to IBM's Large Scale Performance Reference (LSPR) that could affect the way the box is deployed.

"It is biased 70% towards batch [workloads] and 30% towards online," he said. LSPR is a series of benchmarks for different mainframe workloads: batch long jobs, batch short jobs, Java batch job, Websphere database, transaction processing and low I/O.

IBM generally provides a weight for each workload which users can then take to see how much running the software will cost in their own IT environments.

Running more online than batch workloads could prove costlier, Payne warned, because the licensing is indicated by how the LSPR is weighted.

Another factor affecting users is how much IBM plans to discount software on the z9. Payne said it can take days for users to determine how their own workloads reflect LSPR.

Without the licensing costs, it makes it difficult to plan budgets, Payne said. He urged anyone assessing the z9 to assume the upper licensing limit will be the same as the z990.

The 64-processor z9 offers up to 80% greater I/O bandwidth than the z990 and allows administrators to repair memory and remove processor modules on running systems without the need to power down the hardware.


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