IBM Mainframes Outfitted For On Demand


IBM is outfitting legacy mainframe lines with its latest on-demand strategy.


Big Blue said it plans to offer new capabilities for its zSeries mainframes, such as virtualization software
support, as well as a new on-demand banking center. It
will also work with several universities to teach students how to set up
mainframes, particularly in China.


Despite widespread announcements that businesses embrace low-cost, one- to
two-processor servers running Linux, IBM claims the 40-year old system
architecture is gaining popularity because of the massive amounts of
transactions it can process in a short period of time.


Sales for the zSeries systems grew 30 percent year-over-year for the last
three quarters, according to IBM zSeries Marketing Manager David
Mastrobattista.


The new investments, initiatives and technology are part of the Armonk,
N.Y., company’s strategy to align its core products with its strategy for delivering computing resources on the fly.


“If you go back several years ago, it’s almost on par to what IBM did with
the IBM clustering for the mainframe,” said Mastrobattista, who had covered
IBM for years as an analyst before joining IBM. “For the marketplace, that
was brand new. Now, we’re taking those mainframe strengths and aligning them with the on-demand strategy.”

He said IBM will open a multi-million
dollar, proof-of-concept and benchmarking laboratory in China focused on the government and financial services sectors.


Mastrobattista said Big Blue will eventually deliver zSeries mainframes and TotalStorage to universities in China. This is part of
the company’s plan to cultivate 20,000 new workers on the mainframe by 2010.


Mainframes remain crucial in banking. IBM’s On Demand Banking Prototype Center, based in Montpellier, France, demonstrates a back-office environment that shows how on-demand environments can be run by IBM
mainframes and help financial services firms bring new products and services
to customers.


The center is designed to teach banking entities the value of on-demand
infrastructure in responding to such challenges as regulatory changes or
unplanned outages.

The mainframe’s new roadmap includes an effort to make the zSeries more reliable and
powerful by extending virtualization, clustering, partitioning provisioning
and workload management in the system.

Mastrobattista said zSeries support for IBM Virtualization Engine
Systems Services with its Enterprise Workload Manager for z/OS is planned for the fourth quarter. The idea is to make monitoring and management of applications ubiquitous across IBM
platforms.


The company is also rolling out z/Transaction Processing Facility Enterprise
Edition V1.1.0, an operating system designed for high availability
transaction processing in banking, finance and public sector markets. The
new system supports C/C++, 64-bit zSeries architectures and Linux to serve
25,000 transactions per second.


In Q1 2005, IBM plans to roll out new entry-level software for managing disk
subsystems on a single site, called GDPS Hyperswap Manager. Security on
mainframes will be bolstered by integrating cards that manage SSL web
transactions. IBM is using TKE Smart Card to replace PC workstations for
manually entering cryptography codes.


With these product additions, the company’s goal is to help customers weave
that functionality into a so-called “global fabric” within the on-demand
operating environment.

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