IBM has announced its newest member of the System z mainframe family, the z10 Business Class, to complement its Enterprise Class offerings.
Targeting mid-sized companies, the smaller mainframe is an update to its predecessor, the z9, and delivers high-end z10 features, over 50% more total capacity, 40% more processor performance and nearly four times the maximum memory, all at a more attractive price.
This will enhance the continued acceptance of the mainframe platform, albeit primarily in mainframe-centric accounts, as a viable strategic asset for continued data centre consolidations, effective energy and space relief, and new and existing application deployments. Attracting new users will continue to be difficult.
Mainframes continue to evolve and at times struggle to distance themselves from their perceived legacy status. IBM continues to inject new life into the mainframe market, and the current economic situation actually helps this cause. Mainframes are renowned for industry-setting reliability, availability, manageability, scalability, security, economies of scale, and virtualisation compatibilities.
With the z10 IBM continues to slowly reset the perspective of the platform and continues to expand its acceptance in non-mainframe environments.
The z10 BC offers all of the same features as the larger z10 EC offering, but scaled down and in a smaller form factor with a substantially reduced price and environmentals.
Beyond providing enhanced scalability to mid-sized mainframe environments, the IBM 10% technology dividend is included when the new hardware is deployed and results in a modest reduction in IBM software and maintenance costs for equivalent MIPS.
Acknowledging that X86 Linux deployments need a more cost-effective consolidation vehicle, the reduction in pricing for specialty engines and associated memory with the new offering now puts entry pricing for the z10 BC mainframe at a radically new point of below $100 000.
Leveraging the flexibility of the mainframe, IBM claims that the z10 BC can deliver the capacity of up to 232 X86 servers, with an 83% smaller footprint, up to 93% lower energy costs and higher levels of security, control, virtualisation, and automation enabling system utilisation to exceed 90%.
Such consolidations are cost-effective and are in part the reason that the mainframe is seeing an increase in acceptance by IT organisations. More aggressive pricing can only further improve that position.
Attracting new users that are not mainframe-centric will continue to be challenging because most are not aware of the true benefits and value of the platform.
In addition, the number of ISVs supporting specialty engines continues to grow. All existing BC users and new users should review the economic and functional benefits of the z10 BC and include the platform as a viable alternative for optimising data centre operations and costs.