Power drives take up of flagship IBM box

US insurance giant Farmers Insurance Group has bought a z990, IBM's new flagship mainframe, to serve as the backbone of a...

US insurance giant Farmers Insurance Group has bought a z990, IBM's new flagship mainframe, to serve as the backbone of a web-based claims processing system. UK users are also set to harness the high-end machine's power.

Julie-Ann Williams, large systems chairwoman of user group Guide Share Europe, said, "I suspect that the z990 will be used in the banking and insurance sectors first, but manufacturing companies, universities and telecoms firms could all follow suit for its speed of processing and its extreme power. It is a mainframe with teeth."

Code-named T-Rex, the z990 is capable of supporting thousands of virtual Linux servers in a single box, and a 16-way machine can securely process up to 11,000 transactions per second. IBM officials said the machine can also scale up to process 450 million e-business transactions a day.

With its powerful build, Williams predicted that the machine could be ideal for server consolidation and running large databases.

She said, "It is a perfect vehicle for consolidating your servers in one box. For example, it is extremely good for running Linux.

"It is also designed to run the 64-bit z/OS and that can let you run databases in the petabytes but still have memory-speed access to them from Linux."

The z990, which was launched at the same time as the p690 Unix server, is IBM's latest attempt to capitalise on its historyin the world of heavy-duty, high-end systems. The hardware giant has invested more than $1bn in the zSeries platform over the past four years.

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