IBM gives mainframes new lease of life with reference architectures

IBM has given a major boost to its 40-year-old mainframe line with the announcement of a series of new reference architectures to...

IBM has given a major boost to its 40-year-old mainframe line with the announcement of a series of new reference architectures to meet specific business needs and a commitment to create 20,000 mainframe engineers by 2010.

The strategy involves making on-demand reference architectures available for financial services, with a planned release of other industry architectures, including insurance and government, in 2005.

Erich Clementi, general manager of the IBM eServer zSeries, said, "Businesses are designing infrastructures intended for the next 20 years and we are teaming up with them to build global 0n-demand computing fabrics."

IBM said it would be working with universities around the world to create 20,000 new mainframe-trained workers by 2010.

Technical developments on the mainframe include a new operating system called z/Transaction Processing Facility Enterprise Edition v1.1.0, which is designed for high-availability transaction processing.

IBM will also deliver zSeries support for IBM's Virtualisation Engine Systems Services with initial delivery of Enterprise Workload Manager for the z/OS in the fourth quarter of this year.

IBM said it would support Zaap (zSeries Application Assist Processor) with z/OS 1.6, which will provide low-cost integration between Websphere and Java-based workloads with core business applications.

Forrester Research said Zaap was relevant to IBM users running Java. Forrester analyst Colin Rankine said early adopters of IBM's new mainframe programming models had experienced disappointing performance, where Java used more computer resources than Cobol. 

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