IBM unveils z10 mainframe

IBM employees IBM employees ready a new IBM z10 mainframe computer for shipment at the company's Poughkeepsie, N.Y., plant.

IBM has taken the wraps off the System z10 mainframe, offering increased data center efficiency, improved performance, and reduced power and cooling capabilities.

Described by IBM officials as the most significant mainframe server announcement in three years, the company's 64-processor system uses Quad-Core technology, is built to be shared and offers greater performance over virtualized x86 servers to support hundreds of millions of users, company officials said.

'We can take 1,500 PC class servers and collapse them all in one mainframe to offer 85 percent less in energy cost and 85 percent less floor space,' said Jim Porell, IBM Distinguished Engineer with the company's Systems and Technology Group.

The z10 offers advanced security and automated management capabilities such as the tracking of information technology resources. The system also supports a broad range of workloads including Linux, Extensible Markup Language, Java, WebSphere and Service Oriented Architecture implementations.

Additionally, IBM is working with Sun Microsystems and Sine Normine Associates to pilot the open Solaris operating systems on System z mainframes.

The z10 could enable government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, both users of System z mainframes, to perform technical refreshes and upgrades without disrupting operations, Porell said.

Highlights of z10 features include:
  • Authorization Management'Administrators can authenticate and authorize who can access specific business services and associated IT resources. Built-in features let System z10 administrators dictate multiple layers of security and security clearances, allowing authorized users to access sensitive information that resides on the system.
  • Utilization Management'System z10 is designed to run at up to 100 percent utilization ' based on the varied demands of users. Z/OS, one of the operating systems for the z10, can manage transactions based on preset policies, adjusting on the fly to peaks and valleys.
  • Just-in-Time Capacity ' This capability delivers additional processing power and capacity when needed to help organizations better manage risk such as more computing power during peak times.
  • Virtualization Security ' A requirement for many government agencies is support for the highest level of security, Evaluation Assurance Level 5, via z/VM. The IBM System z has achieved this level of certification for security and partitions through the System z9 with plans in place to apply for EAL5 for the System z10).

This is important because as users seek to allocate additional resources in the mainframe and partition them to save money and access capacity on demand, the EAL5 certification states that the virtual partitions that are opened running the specific operating systems are in effect the same as if you were running another server connected to System z. This enables customers to allocate resources on demand, without fear of security risk to any of the information running through the operating systems, improving performance and enabling 24/7 availability, IBM officials said.

IBM also unveiled new Information on Demand software for System z mainframes and new attached storage offerings. IBM doesn't publish list prices for its System Z mainframe series, but industry sources report prices ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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