IT Management

The IBM zEnterprise System launched in 2010 is arguably the most significant new systems architecture in 20 years. It extended the mainframe’s unique capabilities to workloads running on specialized optimizers and select IBM blades. The hybrid environment allows clients to optimize workloads, deploy enterprise clouds, and take action based on real-time analytics and Big Data.

IBM has just rounded out the zEnterprise System family with the introduction of the entry-level hybrid mainframe, the zEnterprise 114 (z114). The z114 can be used as a standalone development machine, a coupling facility, or as an on-ramp for any growing business looking to exploit mainframe technologies. Moreover, when combined with the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and Unified Resource Manager, the z114 extends the mainframe’s unique hybrid capabilities to clients of all sizes. 

This new mainframe offers a lower hardware entry cost and significant improvements in packaging, performance, and total system scalability over its predecessor, the System z10 Business Class. It features an 18 percent performance improvement per core and up to a 12 percent increase in total system capacity to address client growth in traditional and new workloads. It can collapse infrastructures and efficiently host private enterprise clouds with a total acquisition cost of approximately $500 per virtual server, per year and lower operational costs by up to 50 percent vs. a distributed infrastructure.

The zEnterprise System is designed and built on the precepts of Smarter Computing—an era in which systems are optimized for clients’ business needs. Enterprises are evolving. They’re no longer deploying systems as fast as possible; instead, they’re matching the systems architecture to specific workload requirements. zEnterprise embodies this concept. 

The zEnterprise embraces multiple technology platforms—mainframe, Power Systems, and System x—to maximize efficiency and transform IT economics. It offers clients a strong architectural foundation, optimized total cost of ownership, and performance levels to meet or exceed business needs. Applications and workloads can span z/OS, Linux on System z, z/VM, AIX on POWER, and Linux and Microsoft Windows on System x. (Note: All statements regarding IBM future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.)

It’s important to realize that we aren’t talking about moving everything to System z when we talk about optimized systems. What we’re saying is that when you have a POWER- or System x-based workload that has an affinity to System z, such as accessing data from the mainframe, the zEnterprise provides a much faster, simpler, and more economical way to approach data center management. 

Let’s use the example of a simple online retail transaction that adds something to a shopping cart.  The shopper’s click of a mouse is placing unprecedented demands on the IT infrastructure. At the same time that an item is added to the cart, behind the scenes, there’s recognition of that shopper’s history. Data mining processing is used to determine other items the shopper may be interested in buying based on previous purchases as well as Web browsing history. Inventory needs to be checked. The shopper’s billing and shipping information need to be retrieved. 

In this scenario, the Web portion of this transaction may take place on a System x server; the data mining may take place on a Power System; and inventory and billing of the transaction may take place on a System z. This is where a zEnterprise System can bring great value. By integrating the three hardware platforms into one system, we can remove complexity from this IT environment. The Unified Resource Manager offers the ability to manage mainframe and distributed systems with the same tools, the same techniques, and the same practices. Having one integrated system can increase security and reduce switches, cables, and adapters. In one case, we could reduce an environment from 664 total network parts in an Intel-only environment to 21 total network parts in a zEnterprise environment. zEnterprise can coherently manage these different components of the transaction as well as more tightly couple them, optimizing data flows.

The mainframe continues to evolve while holding true to the core platform strengths. With the zEnterprise System family, and the new z114, IBM has redefined the economics of enterprise computing and extended that value to all businesses.