IBM Announces New zEnterprise Mainframe

IBM this morning announced a new model it its zEnterprise mainframe series, the zBC12, designed to support analytics, cloud, and mobile computing in a highly secure environment. An upgrade of the z114, it features a 4.2 GHz processor and twice the available memory of its predecessor. With a starting price of $75,000 for the low-end model, it is designed as a large server for medium-to-enterprise scale companies and fits into IBM’s overall strategy of seeking growth in the mid-market while continuing to support its large enterprise customers.

The zBC12 comes with the choice of three operating systems:

  1. Linux for System z, a standard Linux OS modified to run native on the IBM z-series mainframes;
  2. z/OS, IBM’s mainframe operating system; and,
  3. z/VM, the IBM mainframe hypervisor which includes the full OS capabilities.

These are differentiated mainly by the compute loads they run, and any combination of them can run simultaneously in partitions on the zBC12:

  • Linux for System z is a standard Linux version (IBM does not create its own Linux but rather licenses it from Red Hat and SUSE). This makes the new mainframe a prime candidate for consolidating multiple Linux servers to simplify the computing environment, save operating costs, and provide a highly stable and secure platform. The Enterprise Linux Server (ELS), the Linux version of the zBC12, can run more than 3,000 Linux applications and can be ordered with two new IBM Linux applications, ELS for Analytics and Cloud-Ready for Linux on System z. The latter creates a platform for supporting cloud and mobile computing.
  • z/OS is the operating system for running IBM mainframe applications, and in particular DB2 and associated applications and analytics. The z/OS version comes with several important features including zEnterprise Data Compression (zEDC) and the DB2 Analytics Accelerator that allows the zBC12 to run business analytic workloads with up to 9X faster response times, 10X better price/performance, and 14% lower total cost of acquisition than the closest competitor.
  • z/VM, the hypervisor, which comes with both version of the zBC12, allows the new machine to consolidate multiple virtualized servers. The zBC12 can consolidate up to 40 virtual servers per core or up to 520 total in a single footprint for as  little as $1 per day per virtual server. IBM estimates that a zBC12 can save clients up to 55% over x86 distributed servers.

IBM also announced three new zEnterprise Industry solutions, IBM zEnterprise Smarter Analytics for Banking, IBM Smarter Analytics Signature Solution Anti-fraud, Waste and Abuse for Tax, and IBM Curam Solution for Care Management on zEnterprise. These reflect the strong interest IBM is seeing from midsized banks and public health organizations.