GCN LAB IMPRESSIONS

'Private cloud' just a phase? IBM would like you to think so

For many agencies, the amount of data that needs to be stored and retrieved has vastly outgrown the network room’s capacity for physical computers. This is one reason why the cloud was born. By seamlessly distributing the data across different servers over the Internet, most organizations have been able to cater to their users’ needs without breaking their budgets.

However, for large enterprise environments the cloud may not be the answer to every problem. The trick to housing computer needs on-site comes down to a few factors, such as physical space, cooling, and power consumption.

IBM has just released its new mainframe computer, the zEnterprise EC12, and it just might make some enterprise-level organizations consider it over the private cloud solution.

IBM zEnterprise EC12 mainframe

The zEC12 uses 101 CMOS processors that clock in at about 5.5 GHz. It uses solid-state drives and flash memory, which both increase its performance and lower its power usage. All this, and you don’t even need a special sub-floor to install it on, because it has a non-raised floor option.

The mainframe has some other features that could appeal to government managers, such as enhanced Crypto Express 4S for encrypting digital signatures, and Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ certification. It also uses zAware, which analyzes messages within the system and learns to recognize patterns in order to head off any anomalies in operations.

Each organization will have to weigh the benefits of a private cloud versus a mainframe for itself. However, since all of the improvements in the zEC12 combine to make effectively 50 percent more computing power than IBM’s last mainframe offering in the same amount of space, the mainframe is worth another look for some of us. And if your enterprise environment is large enough, this might end up being the most cost-effective solution.

So, is this going to re-replace the private cloud? Well, for most of us, not a chance. But if your network is large and complex enough, it definitely couldn’t hurt to have a look.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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