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IBM’s New Baby: The zEnterprise 114

What if you’re not one of the largest businesses around, but you still want to benefit from hybrid computing? What can you do? Well up until this week, the answer was not much! But now IBM has announced the zEnterprise 114 (z114)—the business class version of the zEnterprise 196 (z196). And they’re asking just $75,000 for it—which in mainframe terms is a very good deal.

Aimed at mid-sized customers, this new hardware provides all of the benefits you’d expect with hybrid computing. Plus, it allows the mainframe component to bring all of the benefits of a mainframe to the hybrid machine. The mainframe part can manage the other platforms as well as share data and workloads across those platforms. These management and sharing capabilities are delivered using the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager and the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX).

So what other platforms are we talking about? Basically, in terms of hardware, you get POWER7 blades and x86 blades. The System x blades can run Linux x86 applications unchanged, and, coming soon, everyone is expecting them to be able to run Windows applications, too. IBM tells us that up to 112 blades can be integrated and managed as part of zBX.

As part of the package, you also get the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer to analyze data faster at a lower cost per transaction, and the IBM WebSphere DataPower XI50 for integrating Web-based workloads. And the new hardware runs the newly announced operating system—z/OS Version 1.13.

The z114 uses a 3.8 GHz processor, whereas its bigger brother (the z196) uses a 5.3 GHz processor. Configurations with up to 14 processors are possible, plus users can utilize up to 10 specialty engines. These are designed to execute programs away from the main chargeable processors. The specialty processors are: the System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP) for Java workloads, the System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) for running a small number of IBM-determined applications and the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) for Linux workloads.

IBM claims that the zEnterprise 114 can consolidate 300 HP Proliant servers onto one box. It seems that clients can consolidate workloads from 40 Oracle server cores onto a z114 with just three processors running Linux. This makes the z114 around 80 percent cheaper than Oracle servers, plus there are savings in floor space and energy costs. The new hybrid mainframe is expected to sell well in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, etc.

IBM’s new baby will be available from the end of September.

Trevor Eddolls is CEO at iTech-Ed Ltd, an IT consultancy. For many years, he was the editorial director for Xephon’s Update publications and is now contributing editor to the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook. Eddolls has written three specialist IT books, and has had numerous technical articles published. He currently chairs the Virtual IMS and Virtual CICS user groups.

Posted: 7/18/2011 12:42:35 PM by Trevor Eddolls

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