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IBM's Got Virtual Vision

NEW YORK -- IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is looking to tie server, storage, and networking resources into one big virtual package.

At the supplier's system z9 mainframe-plus announcement here today, it was clear that virtualization will be the means IBM uses to combine data center resources in manageable pools.

First, the centerpiece of the announcement, in a nutshell: The new z9 mainframe includes up to 54 processors and 512 Gbytes of capacity and runs at 600 MIPs (million instructions per second). IBM claims it can process 1 billion transactions per day, positioning it for large enterprises.

Along with the mainframe, IBM also announced an upgrade to its Virtualization Engine application that allows customers to pool and manage resources, including storage, for all servers, including mainframe ones. Big Blue also announced a new blade server alliance.

Virtualization Engine 2.0s enhancements consist of a new management console and support from more partners to broaden the devices IBM can virtualize. Partners include Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and EMC Corp.’s (NYSE: EMC) VMware division. IBM uses Cisco’s InfiniBand and I/O virtualization technology and VMware’s server virtualization software to partition servers (see Cisco Takes On Topspin and EMC Gobbles VMware).

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