IBM unveiled a new mainframe system Thursday, called the zEnterprise, that promises to become a powerful new workhorse for data centers.

IBM claims the zEnterprise is its fastest mainframe yet and is designed to tackle data center costs, management and complexity. IBM said the system’s core server contains 96 microprocessors running at 5.2Ghz and is capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.  It also claims the new machine is the most energy efficient mainframe on the market – more than 100,000 virtualized servers can be managed as a single system on a fully-configured cluster of zEnterprise Systems. That represents 60% more capacity than IBM’s z10 mainframe, while using the same amount of energy.

“The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a bold move to fundamentally change how data centers are managed,” Tom Rosamilia, General Manager for IBM Power and z Systems, said in a statement. Rosamilia said the new system and underlying architecture was developed over the past three years with direct involvement from IBM’s top 30 customers. More than $1.5 billion was spent on its research and development.

IBM says zEnterprise is aimed at addressing one of the most important challenges in running today’s corporate data centers – the jumble of disparate technologies added over time to run specific operations. Often those silos cannot communicate with one another, making it difficult for companies to run real time and requiring different management tools.

IBM appears to have already convinced a number of companies in the financial services sector of the economics and benefits behind the system. Citi, Swiss Re, and FIS are among the early adopters.

“The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a potentially revolutionary change to the platform and the next phase in the evolution of highly efficient, scalable processing, opening up the possibility of hosting entire workloads on a single highly integrated system,” Martin Kennedy, Managing Director, Citi's Enterprise System Infrastructure, said as part of the announcement. 

The first machines in the new mainframe line will ship later this quarter.




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