A great deal of attention is being focused on the power consumption of IT systems. For example, statistics published by the European Commission Bio Intelligence Service in 2008 found that IT systems accounted for 8 percent of the total electricity usage in the EU in 2005, which is equivalent to 98 megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2). The report went on to predict that this figure would rise to more than 10 percent of total consumption in due course, and put forward some very ambitious targets for reduction. Similar statistics are being gathered and publicized throughout the world.
Admittedly, the definition of IT equipment used in this particular study was very broad, and many would argue that the true contribution of computer systems to total CO2 production is considerably lower than stated. But the fact remains that IT is a major consumer of power, roughly comparable with the gas-guzzling airline industry, and its impact is increasing.
The motivation for reducing consumption and generating less CO2 has long been overshadowed by more mundane considerations such as money, and for a while only the rising cost of energy seemed likely to influence IT strategy in large organizations. Unexpected power cuts in a number of cities reminded us that power is a finite resource, but in the end—as always—it’s regulatory compliance that has really made companies think seriously about ways to reduce energy consumption. Just as edicts such as Sarbanes-Oxley forced corporations to address IT governance and security, we’re now seeing the emergence of myriad government schemes to reward the lean burners and penalize those companies that neglect their duty to the environment. Combined with media and consumer pressure on companies to clean up their act, “green” data centers are becoming a big issue across the globe.
Small wonder that IBM and hardware resellers are stressing the environmental credentials of the System z. Just as the mainframe’s bulletproof security responded eagerly to legislative demands, its phenomenal scalability and unparalleled utilization rates make the platform the ideal focus for application consolidation and virtualization. By contrast, server farms are beginning to look unacceptably inefficient in a world dominated by green issues.
Of course, the real market for green mainframe server technology is in new market sectors, particularly parts of Asia where IT managers are pressured to support dramatic commercial and industrial growth while minimizing environmental impact and keeping physical footprint and power requirements to a minimum. As the latest issue of the Mainframe Market Bulletin points out, sales in the mainframe market as a whole have slowed considerably in the run-up to the announcement of the z11. Only “new” business in the Asian and East European geographies has continued to grow, based primarily on highly consolidated Linux applications.
New IBM Business Intelligence Offering for the Mainframe
With the new Smart Analytics 9600 with System z, IBM has bundled hardware, storage, software, and services in a cost-effective, tightly packaged offering for the healthcare, financial, and retail sectors. Positioned alongside similar products for the System x and Power Systems platforms, the 9600 is about as close as you will get to a mainframe appliance product, drawing on the strengths of DB2 for z/OS, Cognos for System z, and other business intelligence software to help users build highly scalable data warehouses, plot underlying trends, and make long-term forecasts.
Around the Vendors
CA Technologies announced a significant set of product enhancements as part of its traditional month of May Mainframe Madness. With a new release of Mainframe Software Manager, designed to streamline the installation and maintenance of CA Technologies tools, and coordinated updates across 16 product areas, CA Technologies continues to address the burning issue of diminishing mainframe technical skills (not to mention the vast range of CA Technologies products that need to be kept in sync in many organizations!).
Rocket Software is shipping LegaSuite Integration 5.2, an upgrade to the integrated tools platform for SOA-enabling legacy applications and data that originated with its Seagull Software division. The upgrade adds drag-and-drop capabilities for service orchestration, CICS 4.1 support, and tools for Web 2.0 and database services.
Alebra Technologies has added full Linux support to the range of file transfer options handled by its Parallel Data Mover (PDM) Release 5 and z/OpenGate 2.0. Customers can now use both HiperSockets and z/OpenGate transports to synchronize large data stores between z/OS and Linux file systems, access z/OS sequential and VSAM files from programs running on Linux on System z, and access Linux files from programs running on z/OS.