Hybrid Mainframe Coming from IBM

Arthur Cole

Yesterday we talked about the mainframe and its aptitude for the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Today we have news that IBM, long the champion of the mainframe, is putting together what can only be described as a hybrid mainframe consisting of the System z and the company's Cell Broadband Engine.


The union is said to produce a blistering fast platform targeted toward advanced 3D applications, such as real-world simulations and 3D Internet experiences. The project is expected to incorporate software from Brazilian game developer Hoplon Infotainment, but IBM execs stress that the platform would be suitable for a broad spectrum of enterprise applications, such as resource mapping and planning, CRM, collaboration and data management.


The system would essentially divide workloads between the Cell BE and the mainframe. The mainframe would leverage up to 366 RISC processors, plus Hipersocket technology to shuttle data between multiple virtual partitions. The Cell engine, a joint effort between IBM, Sony and Toshiba, brings in the Power Architecture with its eight "synergistic processing elements" (SPEs) designed for data-intensive environments.


This is clearly a top-tier platform aimed at those of you with truly massive enterprise management challenges on your hands, or if you're looking to branch into 3D videoconferencing or some other way-out application. But as we've seen in the past, it often isn't long before the cutting edge trickles down into the everyday world.

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