IBM is moving its System z mainframe line forwards with the launch of the zEnterprise EC12, which boosts performance thanks to updated processors and SSD technology, extends security to a new level, and includes internal analytics support to monitor its own system health.
The zEnterprise EC12, which follows on from the zEnterprise 196 server unveiled in 2010, is styled by IBM as the most powerful and technologically advanced mainframe ever.
Like that system, the new box is designed around the capabilities required to deliver mission-critical enterprise applications. It promises to bring IBM's renowned resilience and reliability to power business analytics and even private cloud environments by consolidating Linux workloads on to the zEC12.
While some have predicted the decline of the mainframe, IBM said it has been seeing strong demand for the zEnterprise line, with 140 new customers coming on board since 2010.
At least 40 per cent of customers are running Linux alongside z/OS, using the virtualisation capabilities of the zEnterprise to consolidate thousands of discreet workloads onto the mainframe to effectively create a private cloud in a single box.
At the heart of the zEC12, performance has been increased via new six-core processors which feature a higher clock speed of 5.5GHz, versus the quad-core 5.2GHz chips used in the previous generation. Capacity has been boosted by 50 per cent, with the new system supporting up to 120 processor cores, with 101 of these configurable for client workloads, IBM said.
New capabilities on the zEC12 include zAware, a feature that allows the system to analyse its own internal system messages, recognising patterns and flagging up any deviations that might indicate an issue needing to be addressed.
"With zAware watching your environment, it can highlight to the operator that something is happening more frequently, and that you really should be looking into this before it becomes a real problem," explained Greg Lotko, IBM worldwide vice president for System z.
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