A Mainframe for the Masses


IBM is taking another stab at bringing the mainframe to the masses with a new low-cost version of the System z that offers better performance and nearly four times more memory than previous models.


The new IBM z10 Business Class is the $100,000 version of the normally $1 million z10 Enterprise Class mainframe. As you would expect, much of the functionality of the full system has been pared down on the BC version. The number of processing cores has been cut from 64 to 10 and the number of Logical Partitions has been halved to 30.


Still, you get a lot of bang for this buck. The machine can replace up to 232 x86 servers in less than one-fifth the floor space and using only about 7 percent of the power. You also get the same Enterprise Quad Core z10 processor chip as the EC machine, as well as the same hardware acceleration and crytopgraphic functions.


Initial releases will include 120 GB of main memory, with plans to boost that to 248 GB by mid-2009. Available operating systems include the standard z/OS or z/Linux, which includes a "specialty engine" for running SAP or Java workloads.


IBM has also released new disk and tape storage systems in conjunction with the new z10. The DS8000 disk system and the TS7700 are part of what IBM is calling its "next generation information infrastructure."