IBM's zEnterprise architecture makes mainframes cool again, also efficient (video)

Tim Stevens
T. Stevens|07.23.10

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IBM's zEnterprise architecture makes mainframes cool again, also efficient (video)
There's a good chance you think mainframes are about as cool as pocket protectors, your parents on Facebook, and COBOL... the latter of which, of course, is largely executed on mainframes. If so, stand still while IBM blows the doors (and the dust) off of your mainframe misconceptions with its new zEnterprise 196, offering 96 5.2GHz cores, 3TB of RAM, and hot swappable I/O drawers for when you need to change pants in a hurry. All this is said to boost performance by 60 percent compared to its predecessor, the z10, while also reducing energy consumption by a claimed 80 percent -- though that could be compared to people sitting in tanning booths performing calculations with abacuses for all we know. However, you can drop consumption a further 12 percent by opting for the water cooling system, nice if your AC unit is already struggling. IBM will start shipping these behemoths sometime in the last quarter of this year and didn't mention pre-orders, so get ready to rent the biggest truck you can find and camp out in Armonk if you want yours on release day.

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New York, - 22 Jul 2010: -Industry first: IBM mainframe governance and management benefits extended to select POWER7, System x environments(1)
-New technology boosts complex analytics performance up to 10X,(2) delivering insight from business data in minutes versus hours
-zEnterprise is the most powerful, scalable mainframe server ever – up to 60% faster than System z10(3) for new workloads
-Most energy efficient mainframe--more than 100,000 virtualized servers can be managed as a single system; 60% more capacity than z10 while using same amount of energy
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the zEnterprise mainframe server and a new systems design that allows workloads on mainframe, POWER7 and System x servers to share resources and be managed as a single, virtualized system. The new mainframe is also the most powerful and energy-efficient mainframe ever.
The new systems design combines IBM's new zEnterprise mainframe server with new technology--the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager--that enable it to manage workloads running across System z, and select POWER7 and System x servers. The new technology is the result of an investment of more than $1.5 billion in IBM research and development as well as more than three years of collaboration with some of IBM's top clients around the world.

As a result, customers can integrate the management of zEnterprise System resources as a single system and extend mainframe qualities, such as governance and manageability, to workloads running on select IBM POWER7 and System x blade servers. With the ability to manage workloads across systems as one, the zEnterprise System can drive up to 40% lower acquisition costs and reduce cost of ownership by 55%.(4)
IBM designed the zEnterprise System to address an important issue for corporate data centers -- the jumble of disparate technologies added over time to run specific applications and which operate in silos, sometimes unable to communicate with each other in real time and requiring separate staff and software tools to manage. This long-standing challenge for customers is aggravated by dramatic increases in cost and complexity amid a rising tide of sophisticated, data-intensive workloads in an increasingly interconnected world.
For example, using the zEnterprise System with the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager, a financial services company managing credit card transactions on the mainframe using an IBM blade optimized for analytics can gain insights from the information in seconds. Previously, it would have taken hours for the two disparate systems to integrate their databases. IBM estimates that complex database queries can experience up to a ten-fold performance improvement in this hybrid environment.(2) In addition, with IBM's new design, the financial services company can extend the mainframe's always-on reliable qualities to its customer service applications running on IBM blades servers.
At Citi, IBM System z plays a major role as a core processing engine of virtually every line of business at the global financial services company.
"The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a potentially revolutionary change to the platform and the next phase in the evolution of highly efficient, scalable processing opening up the possibility of hosting entire workloads on a single highly integrated system," said Martin Kennedy, Managing Director, Citi's Enterprise System Infrastructure. "The new zEnterprise also paves the way to enhance the energy dynamics of our data centers. As one of America's greenest banks we plan to take full advantage of the additional capacity and advanced power and cooling capabilities unique to zEnterprise. Citi's unified technology decision making model and its recent efforts to gain efficiencies prepared us to invest in these innovative technologies that benefit our clients."
"The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a bold move to fundamentally change how data centers are managed," said Tom Rosamilia, General Manager, IBM Power and z Systems. "The new mainframe is the fastest enterprise server in the world and represents a giant leap forward in performance. This new dimension in enterprise computing-- extending mainframe governance to POWER7 and System x blades integrated into the zEnterprise System architecture--was developed over the past three years with direct involvement from a team of IBM's 30 top customers, which provided direct input at every stage of the development process."
IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension
The IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension allows supports purpose IBM POWER7 and System x BladeCenter systems as well as blades optimized for specific workloads, such as analytics and managing Web infrastructure.
IBM blade servers inside the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension--which can be managed like mainframe resources--integrate with System z and can run tens of thousands of off-the-shelf applications. Later this year, IBM will deliver the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension with support for IBM POWER7 blades running AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system. IBM is also introducing the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer to accelerate the performance of complex analytic workloads at a lower cost per transaction.
Next year, IBM plans to announce additional general purpose blades for the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension including select IBM System x-based blades running Linux. Additional workload optimized blades are planned to include IBM DataPower for improving website and network performance.
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