The new systems, IBM's first mainframes with a starting price of about $100,000, aim to replace hundreds of smaller servers in order to increase data center manageability and reduce power consumption, said Boas Betzler, senior technical staff member at IBM's Poughkeepsie Lab and one of the original developers of Linux for the mainframe.
As businesses continue to move to a service-oriented architecture (SOA), they need servers designed to run applications as a service, a task for which the mainframe is suited, said Betzler.
When moving to a services-oriented business, customers need to pick and choose a variety of software to solve their business decision, and to run a variety of workloads including Java, Linux, XML, applications like enterprise resource planning and on-line transaction processing, and a range of specialty engines, each of which typically requires its own server or servers, Betzler said.
A mainframe could replace racks full of smaller servers with one system that can be carved into hundreds of virtual servers, all of which can be secured with encryption, said Betzler. "With a mainframe, you get seamless management of a virtual environment," he said.