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IBM Scales Down Mainframe Products For Midsize Companies

In a move to both protect and grow its coveted mainframe installed base, IBM on Wednesday introduced scaled-down versions of its zSeries and enterprise storage server that it hopes will appeal to a broader spectrum of midsize companies.

The z890, which starts shipping in May, begins at about $200,000 for an entry-level configuration of 26 MIPS, considerably less than the $1 million price tag for its big brother, the z990. Likewise, the TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server 750, which also hits the streets in May, starts at just over $100,000--40% less than the more expansive 800 model.

The z890 and ESS 750 together show that IBM is serious about investing in the upper end of the midrange marketplace, populated by companies with more than 500 employees and less than $1 billion in annual revenue, says Pete McCaffrey, IBM's director of storage. "The needs of these companies are becoming more sophisticated as they embrace E-business," he says. In addition to the need for 24-hour uptime, midsize companies in a variety of industries are affected by government regulations that require them to hold onto business data for extended periods.

The z890, which is twice as fast but 30% smaller than its predecessor, the z800, also includes Application Assist Processor, designed to deliver a specialized z/OS Java execution environment for integrating Java-based Web applications with other business apps and data on the same server. The zAAP is priced at $125,000 per processor.

The ESS 750's capacity starts at 1.1 terabytes and can scale up to more than 4.6 terabytes without interrupting application performance during the upgrade. The ESS 750 also features Multiple Allegiance, which expands simultaneous logical volume access across multiple zSeries or S/390 servers.

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