The big deal behind Big Blue’s latest mainframe

IBM Corp.’s release of its z10 mainframe last month evoked plenty of reaction from IT bloggers. I

n his enterprise systems management blog John Willis says this is a big deal because it supports up to 1.5 terabits of memory, uses up to 64 quad-core processors running at 4.4 GHz each and is 50 per cent faster than Big Blue’s previous mainframe, the z9.

Willis adds the z10 is as powerful as 1,500 x86 servers but uses less space, plus it supports 894 unique instructions, 75 per cent of which are implemented entirely in the hardware.

So will this save operators of large data centres money?

On his Mainframe Update, Trevor Eddolls says it’s difficult to calculate the cost savings. “I mean, who pays list prices?” Eddolls asks. But he notes IBM says the z10 allows the consolidation of x86 software licences at up to a 30:1 ratio.

“Shocking as it may seem, mainframe computing has never really gone away,” writes Nilay Patel at Patel notes financial institutions and retailers sometimes prefer mainframes over PS3-based supercomputers.

“Hilariously, the z10 caused a bit of a mainframe Osbourne effect: eager customers holding off on z9 purchases in anticipation of the z10 caused a 15 per cent drop in IBM’s mainframe revenue last quarter.”

IBM has touted the z10 as a potential energy saver, and an anonymous writer at Jupitermedia’s blog writes: “You can just hear the electrical grid sigh in relief.”

Jupitermedia notes “gargantuan mainframes can be very green,” due to their server consolidation capabilities.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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