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IBM launches zEnterprise 196 'data center in a box'

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The zEnterprise 196 was designed to reduce data center costs and complexity, and IBM poured roughly $1.5 billion into R&D as well as input from 30 of its customers. Where raw processing power is concerned, the zEnterprise consists of 96 quad processors running at 5.2 GHz each with access to up to 3TB of memory. This makes the zEnterprise about 60 percent faster than the z10 series it supersedes; all the while using the same amount of power.

Alternative supercomputer powers

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One of the other big pools of unseen computer power is made up of mainframes, usually IBM mainframes.

 These machines were the original supercomputers and until the arrival of the mini-computer and then the PC were the mainstays of the computer world. "They are still being widely used in particular segments such as finance, retail, health and government," said Jim Porell, an IBM evangelist for the machines.

When we get cash out of an ATM, said Mr Porell, it will be a mainframe that will handle the back-end data processing of that transaction. Book an airline ticket and choose your seat on the plane and chances are that you are unknowingly using a mainframe.

The machines are being used because they are used to running constantly at nearly 100% capacity. And, said Mr Porell, they have other advantages over Intel-based racks of servers.

One IBM System z10 Enterprise Class mainframe, the biggest, is equal to 1,500 Intel servers and occupies 85% less space.

"We measure meantime between failure in decades," he said.
IBM does not say exactly how much cash is generated by selling and servicing mainframes, but the division of the company that makes them, amongst other things, was worth more than $5.2bn (£3.6bn) in the final quarter of 2009 suggesting that there are a lot of them about.
Read complete article att BBC here

Is the clock ticking on mainframe expertise?

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Earlier this month, in a report entitled Ensuring You Have Mainframe Skills Through 2020, analyst Gartner warned of an impending mainframe skills gap. A generation of experienced IT staff are approaching retirement just as the mainframe is experiencing a renaissance.

The world’s top 25 banks run on mainframes and there are more Cobol transactions in a day than Google hits, according to some estimates. IBM, a mainframe market leader, profits handsomely from its computing behemoths: last year’s revenue from System z was up 19 per cent on 2008.

Mainframes are highly efficient. For example, a System Z can replace 1,500 x86 servers but consumes 15 per cent of the power. Bank of New Zealand, for example, is replacing 200 Sun servers with a five-CPU System z.

However, not everyone agrees that the industry faces a mainframe skills issue. After all, some so-called skills crises are often over-egged by head-hunters and trainers, and mainframe staff have been laid off owing to recession and offshoring.

Read rest of article at here.


IBM mainframe dominance is mixed opportunity

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Let's face it, IBM is the mainframe market. The big question is to what extent the company can exploit its dominant market position to squeeze maximum revenue out of its customers for as long as possible.

The return of the mainframe: Back in fashion

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GEEKS may roll their eyes at the news that Namibia is only now getting its first mainframe—a technology that most consider obsolete. Yet the First National Bank of Namibia, which bought the computer, is at the leading edge of a trend. Comeback is too strong a word, but mainframes no longer look that outdated.
Read complete article at The Economist

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