IBM has announced its next generation of mainframe server: the IBM S/390.
Boasting more than 900 million instructions per second, the S/390 is based on IBM's 6X CMOS processor, which has 25 million transistors on each chip. The processor has a cycle time of 2.15 nanoseconds equating to 465MHz processor speed in PC chips, according to IBM.
The S/390 is expected to start shipping in August.
But it remains to be seen whether IBM can claw back the market share it lost to Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) over the last four years, according to John Webster, market analyst with the Yankee Group in the US.
"HDS took 20% market share of IBM since the launch of its Skyline product - whether the S/390 will take it back remains to be seen," he said. "IBM moved with the industry to concentrate on client server technology in business environment and failed to broadcast its mainframe message. I think even Hitachi was surprised at the amount of market share it took."
The high end of the 15 new S/390 models to be introduced includes 12 processors on a single module. This enables IBM to keep the computer size down to a single square metre footprint in a machine that is less than 7ft high, IBM said.
At the high end IBM could be on a par with Hitachi on transaction speed, Webster said, but it would be a least a year before it could compete on single processor speed.
IBM has included Fibre Channel architecture in the S/390, providing faster internal processing. Gigabit Ethernet support will be available in the near future, IBM said.
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