IBM Launches 'Entry-Level' Mainframe, Storage Systems

The System z10 BC, with new storage systems, aims to help companies consolidate hardware systems, cut energy costs

October 22, 2008

2 Min Read
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IBM today introduced a new mainframe and companion storage systems that are designed to help mid-sized companies cut server sprawl and data center energy and space requirements. Called the IBM System z10 Business Class mainframe, prices start at under $100,000.

IBM claims the z10 BC delivers the computing equivalent of 232 x86 servers, while taking up 83 percent less space and lowering energy costs by up to 93 percent. The z10 BC is 40 percent faster, has 50 percent more total capacity, and four times the maximum memory of its predecessor, the IBM z9 BC, the company said.

On the storage side, the company rolled out the DS8000 disk storage system and an addition to the TS7700 tape storage system that are optimized to work with the new mainframe.

The DS8000 includes what IBM calls high-performance Ficon, which can double the throughput performance of the mainframe's online transaction processing workloads by using Fibre Channel ports to transfer commands and data.

"By changing the way we communicate, we have dramatically increased performance for all System Zs without changing any hardware," Charlie Andrews, director of system storage product marketing, tells Byte and Switch. "We reduced the overhead, making communications more efficient. We have doubled the performance for transaction processing and boosted performance 30 percent to 40 percent for large sequential transfers."The company also enhanced its Metro/Global Mirror system for three-site systems by adding Incremental Resynch, which works with the company's Hyperswap feature to cut the time involved in resynchronization when a primary site fails and the second and third sites have to take over the workload.

IBM also added the TS7720 model to its TS7700 Virtualization Engine TS7700 product line. The new product has the ability to store up to 70 TB on disk. It can work with the company's TS1130 Enterprise Tape drive, including its 1 TB tape cartridge, and the TS3500 High Density Tape frame. It also added new security, availability, and retention features, the company said.

"The new model is a VTL for the mainframe, and the 7720 is a version that can run without a tape backend," Andrews says. A three-way grid can hold up to 210 TB, or more than 600 TB when compressed, he said.

The company also says the mainframe makes use of processors known as "specialty engines" that let it handle SAP, Linux, and Java applications, among others, and enable it to add an additional 1,000 email users and only use the energy of a 100 watt light bulb. An IT department just turns on a single Domino "specialty engine" to provide email service for up to 7,500 users.

Customer endorsements included Transzap, which runs Oildex, a payment system and digital data exchange for the energy industry; DHI Computing Service, which processes billions of electronic data records for clients; and Osys, a Swiss application developer and software vendor.0

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