The days when IBM's mainframe computers held a monopoly on enterprise computing may have ended with the influx of cheaper x86 and Unix servers. But Big Blue is still reinventing its big iron. And now it's teaching it how to play nicely with those more modern platforms.
On Thursday the tech giant announced a new line of mainframes it calls the zEnterprise. Unlike past models, the new system functions as a hybrid, with a mainframe housed on one side of a cabinet that is twice the size of a refrigerator and space for server blades on the other. Between those two halves sits software that manages virtualized machines on both platforms and allows them to work together.
"We're doing something that hasn't been done in the industry before: the first multi-architecture platform," says Rod Adkins, IBM's ( IBM - news - people ) head of hardware. "We've smashed together a mainframe cabinet and a blade cabinet and connected them through this secure link."