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IBM builds new mainframe, and it looks better than the old ones

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January 14, 2015

Regular readers of IT Direction will agree that it's been quite a while since we've talked about mainframes on this site.

Since 1994 when pundits first pronounced the death of the mainframe, IBM has just released a new one, and it looks very classy for a mainframe. The new mainframe is designed specifically for the mobile segment of eCommerce.

IBM is hoping that the billion dollars it invested into the new z13 mainframe will get the IT community as excited as the company is.

Big Blue's new z13 mainframe has enough power to handle real time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale, all the way up to its claimed 2.5 billion transactions a day capacity, IBM claims.

The theory is that every eCommerce transaction touches off dozens of other system interactions at the same time, and that generic Intel-based systems won't scale up to handle them especially as mobility drives up the number of transactions.

As IBM's announcement claims-- “Z-13 transactions are persistent, protected and auditable from end-to-end, and built-in analytics let fraud detection run against 100 percent of transactions.”

IBM's overall enthusiasm for open-source software pops up in various spots in the release-- the machine supports Hadoop for unstructured data analysis, along with DB2 BLU running as an in-memory database on Linux, and the huge machine also supports OpenStack.

The latter will dovetail nicely into other cloud capabilities the company is highlighting, such as the ability to run 50 virtual servers per core, for a total of 8,000.

Those last two data sets suggest the refrigerator-sized z13 will currently run 160 processor cores per cabinet.

IBM says the processor pushing the z13 along runs at twice the speed of the most common server processors, supports 300 percent more memory, and with double the bandwidth and vector processing analytics.

Later this year, there'll also be a new z/OS software iteration to boost the thumper's in-memory analytics and analysis, once again pitched as a big thing for the mobile business.

Source: IBM.

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