Sunday, 28 July 2013

New Business Class baby

Anyone who’s been on holiday this week would probably have been holidaying on Mars to have missed Tuesday’s excited announcement from IBM of its new zBC12 mainframe computer! The zBC12 follows last year’s announcement of the zEC12 (Enterprise Class), 2011 saw the z114, and 2010 gave us the z196. So what’s special about the new baby?

Well, the zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12) features a 4.2GHz processor, and, for cloud computing, it can consolidate up to 40 virtual servers per core or up to 520 in a single footprint. It offers similar capabilities to the IBM zEC12, including specialty processors. There’s the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) engine for running Linux applications, and the System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP) and System z Integrated Information Process (zIIP) for off-core workload processing. The big difference is that the zBC12 has a maximum memory of 496GB compared to the zEC12’s maximum of 3TB, and it has more limited connectivity options.

If you need to ask the price, as they say, you can’t afford it, but a new zBC12 starts at $75,000, which is a very good price tag. IBM also claims that it can help customers save up to 55% over their x86 distributed environments.

One big difference with this year’s announcement is that IBM is also launching a Linux-only based version of the zBC12, which it’s calling the Enterprise Linux Server (ELS). This is aimed at first-time zEnterprise users. The deal is that the product includes hardware, hypervisor, and three-years of maintenance service, plus, it can be upgraded to analytics and cloud mainframe products. I think that’s called upselling!

IBM also released Version 6.3 of z/VM, which supports up to 1TB of real memory, enabling support for more virtual servers than any other platform in a single footprint. It’s also enabled for OpenStack for advanced enterprise-wide service management. In addition, there’s z/OS Version 2.1, which, among all its other features, is very good at securing private cloud workloads.

IBM claims that when integrated with DB2 Analytics Accelerator, the zBC12 can perform business analytics workloads with response times up to nine times faster, with 10 times better price performance, and 14 percent lower total cost of acquisition than the closest competitor. I wonder who they mean by that??

For cloud computing, IBM has enhanced its OMEGAMON for z/OS family to better detect performance problems in the cloud and minimize impact to the business and increase analytics visibility.

The new z/OS 2.1 operating system (mentioned earlier) enables the latest zEnterprise hardware features, including zEDC (Enterprise Data Compression) and SMC-R (Shared Memory Communications over RDMA – and that one stands for Remote Direct Memory Access). The so-called ‘Crypto as a Service’ enables Linux on System z applications to use z/OS services to encrypt data, thereby providing more secure encryption. Additionally, enhancements to z/OS Management Facility improve start up times and provides services for automating workflow, further reducing costs.

Of course, you may have missed IBM’s baby announcement because the news was swamped with Kate and William’s baby prince!

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