Geoff Petherick, senior official at the IBM Computer Users' Association, said, "When you want to move lots of data, particularly in an e-commerce environment, you need a big mainframe."
Described by IBM as the world's most sophisticated server, the z990 uses virtualisation technology to support hundreds of virtual Linux servers. IBM said this is the equivalent to supporting an entire datacentre on a server the size of a fridge.
The z990 also offers a new "building block" design that allows users to plug in new capacity without taking the system down. Petherick said, "This is great news - it makes support easier. If you can plug something in rather than taking the system down, that is tremendous."
The machine features IBM's Intelligent Resource Director, which dynamically moves system resources to the workloads that need them.
The z990 can process up to 450 million e-business transactions a day, and IBM said a z990 operating in a cluster can handle up to 13 billion transactions a day - more than the average weekly volume of the New York Stock Exchange.