IBM launches 'consolidation machine'

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IBM launches 'consolidation machine'

Large enterprises embarking on big infrastructure consolidation projects could be tempted by the raft of mainframe-related announcements this week, from big name vendors EMC and IBM.

IBM has launched the latest in its line of System z mainframes, the z10, which is available with a new data protection package specifically for z-series systems from EMC, called Disk Library for Mainframe.

IBM claims its System z10 is its most powerful mainframe ever. "We're launching the z10 to solve the datacentre management difficulties being experienced by some of our larger customers. But the main one is unsustainable server sprawl in the datacentre," said IBM systems consultant, Doug Neilson.

The System z10 enables IT leaders to manage their function as a service, he added, through including a complete range of policy-driven functions, such as authorisation and utilisation management, just-in-time performance and capacity delivery. IBM already has plans to make the z10's virtualisation security planned compliant with US industry standard Evaluation Assurance Level 5 (EAL5).

IBM is targeting several distinct markets with the z10. For existing customers, like all the big banks, supermarkets and government, who already have all their core applications running one mainframes, the z10 delivers more " capacity, performance, security – all the traditional attributes – but cost effectively," said Neilson.

Neilson said that for customers who have never had a mainframe before: "This is a consolidation machine, the servers they currently use are underutilised, they're using too much power, they take up too much space. Why not consolidate to a number of smaller boxes?" IBM said the z10 would use 85 percent less energy while requiring an 85 per cent smaller footprint than an equivalent x86 server farm.

A key benefit of mainframes is "that we're running at a much higher utilisation than standard x86 servers, around 80-90 percent, 24 x 7," added Neilson.

The z10 can have a maximum of 64 processors, which are quad-core models, with four processors per core running at 4.4GHz, able to address a current maximum system memory of 1.5TB. Neilson pointed out that another reason for the performance of the z10 was that much of the OS virtualisation and security was set up and policed by the processor microcode. IBM said most customers want to run Linux on the z10's operating system z/OS, which calculates metered software capacity usage for billing z10 customers.

On the back of the z10 launch, storage giant, EMC has launched what it says is the “first tapeless backup solution for the mainframe market”, EMC Disk Library for Mainframe (DLM). DLM is made specifically for IBM zSeries environments, allowing disk stored data to be replicated to mainframes in other locations, without incurring costs associated with traditional tape transfer, said EMC senior director of software product marketing Rob Emsley.

Also, EMC announced RecoverPoint 3.0, which combines continuous data protection and replication which it claimed gives "an all-in-one solution for both operational recovery and disaster recovery." Version 3.0 can be integrated with EMC's Clariion CX3 systems for ease of deployment and supports Windows, Linux, Solaris and VMware ESX environments.

In other storage news, HP has launched a new EVA member, the StorageWorks 4400 EVA, for mid-sized enterprises, which can have a maximum of 96 x 1TB fibre attached technology adapted (FATA) drives, but can also connect to other hard disk variants like serial attached SCSI (SAS) or serial ATA (SATA) drives through fibre channel (FC), direct connect, or iSCSI network adapters.

Although at launch the 4400 uses 4Gbit/s host bus adaptors (HBAs), HP has also announced their StorageWorks 8Gb Simple SAN Connection portfolio for new SAN customers, which offers 8Gbit/s FC connectivity for the same price as 4Gb FC. As well as twice the throughput, the new 8Gbit/s HBA has new virtualisation and adaptive power management features. The StorageWorks EVA4400 is available now starting at $15,000.
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