by CIO Staff

IBM Lowers Price Points With New Midrange Mainframe

Jun 07, 20062 mins

IBM announced Tuesday a new mainframe server geared toward the midrange market, lowering the price tag for its specialized processors designed to consolidate application workloads.

IBM announced the availability of its System z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), which can consolidate databases as well as applications such as ERP and business intelligence on a single platform, when it launched the System z9 Enterprise Class mainframe in January.

The same set of hardware accelerators, along with two others called Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and zSeries Application Assist Processors (zAAP) designed to speed up Linux and Java applications, respectively, are also available for the newer z9 Business Class mainframe models.

IBM charges a one-time fee of US$95,000 for a single-engine processor, lower than the previous $125,000 it announced when it launched the higher-end z9 Enterprise Class mainframe.

These new IBM mainframes also allow users to extend “subcapacity” settings to more engines than the previous z890 mainframe, according to Mike Bliss, technical support and marketing handling IBM’s System Z mainframe line.

“This is something customers have been asking us to do,” Bliss said during the press briefing.

By improving resource optimization, IBM is looking to attract users back to its expensive yet more powerful mainframe machines, which compete heavily with Unix servers and with less expensive clusters of x86 servers.

These new specialized processors are designed to maximize server utilization by carrying application workloads, freeing up more computer resources for regular processes.

“In a normal distributed server environment, the utilization rate normally ranges between 5 percent to 20 percent, while in a mainframe it can be as much as 90 percent when you consolidate various applications,” Bliss said in an interview.

According to IBM’s own data, 60 percent of revenues generated by companies are driven by new applications such as ERP, Java and others that run on a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Running on an SOA environment allows a user to merge existing applications with new applications and run these in a distributed environment that can also be accessed over the Internet.

Bliss added that IBM will not impose charges based on software capacity, and each specialty engine can be reconfigured to run an IFC, zAAP or zIIP processor without incurring extra charges.

-Lawrence D. Casiraya, Computerworld Philippines

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