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IBM updates zEnterprise mainframe products for cloud, mobile and analytics

Archana Venkatraman

IBM has updated the software and operating systems of its System z mainframe products as well as launching cheaper, entry-level mainframe and OpenStack cloud integration features to make mainframes relevant in the cloud, mobile and big data analytics era.

The enhancement and addition to its zEnterprise portfolio will help its mainframe customers including banking services firms, insurance companies and government agencies to take advantage of mobile IT services and cloud applications to better serve their customers, according to the company.

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“Analytics, cloud and mobile computing are changing the way businesses in all industries engage with their customers,” said Patrick Toole, general manager, IBM System z. The company has invested $50m in the mainframe this year.

Part of the enhancement to its mainframe portfolio includes the launch of zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12) mainframe which features a 4.2GHz processor, twice the memory size of its last version, z114, and a pay-as-you-grow pricing model.

For cloud computing, the zBC12 can consolidate up to 40 virtual servers per core or up to 520 in a single footprint and it can help customers save up to 5% over their x86 distributed environments, according to IBM. The cost of zBC12 starts at $75,000 (£50k) enabling small and mid-sized customers to adopt the mainframe technology.

IBM is also launching a Linux-only based version of the zBC12 called Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) for first-time zEnterprise users. The product includes hardware, hypervisor and three-year maintenance service and can be upgraded to analytics and cloud mainframe products.

In addition to the new entry-level mainframe, IBM has updated zEC12, released newer operating system and hypervisor versions – z/OS and z/VM – and added software capabilities to support cloud, analytics, mobile and security.

The new version of z/VM (v6.3) operating now supports up to one terabyte of real memory, enabling support for more virtual servers than any other platform in a single footprint and is enabled for OpenStack for advanced enterprise-wide service management. Meanwhile the new z/OS is aimed at securing private cloud workloads.

The hardware upgrades to mainframes help compress data on the server to save cost on storage and memory. There is also a new high-speed, low-latency I/O (input/output) connection for cutting network latency by up to 80%.

There is also a new 2:1 ratio for zIIP and zAAP special-purpose engines for improved workload economics, IBM said.

Earlier this month, IBM acquired Israeli company CSL International to keep mainframe management simple and improve its cloud capabilities.


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