IBM mainframe processor add-on could cut cost for enterprise apps

IBM is developing an add-on processor for its z9 mainframe designed to free-up computing capacity and lower software costs for business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems.

IBM is developing an add-on processor for its z9 mainframe designed to free-up computing capacity and lower software costs for business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems.

The zIIP is a high-speed engine that extends IBM's specialised processor family for the mainframe. It follows on from the IFL for Linux announced in 2001 and the zAAP announced in 2004. Both of these engines can help users expand the use of the mainframe for new workloads, while helping to reduce costs, IBM said.

DB2 for z/OS version 8 will be the first IBM software able to take advantage of the zIIP. IBM said the processor should improve query processing of business intelligence, ERP or CRM network-connected applications.

Rob Hailstone, director European service oriented architecture and application platforms at analyst company IDC, said, "If your transaction processing throughput is going up and you are facing the prospect of a major hardware upgrade, offloading the database processing makes a lot of sense.

"When you have a multimillion-pound hardware investment, spending $125,000 [£70,000] on an extra processor is a small price to pay."

However, Hailstone urged users to assess whether data management was best run on a mainframe.

IBM intends to launch the zIIP processor along with the software it requires later this year. To install the processor, users will require IBM System z9 109, z/OS 1.6 or later, and DB2 for z/OS V8.

Improvements in next version of DB2

The next version of DB2 for z/OS will be formally unveiled later this year. Version 8 of IBM's flagship mainframe database offers XML and IBM Websphere and Java integration for service oriented architecture connections.

IBM said DB2 for z/OS version 8 would also provide what it described as a Trusted Security Context. This is designed to give users with database roles better auditing capabilities and improved encryption for security.

Other improvements include fast table replacement, partition by growth and other optimised features for application development.

IBM said it had also improved the SQL language in DB2 with native SQL stored procedures, default databases and table spaces.

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