IBM renews vows to mainframe

IBM shored up commitment to its mainframe computing platform Thursday with a series of new technologies, investments in emerging markets, new industry-focused solutions, and new partnerships.

"Over the past 40 years, we've witnessed businesses evolve from a few transactions per week to millions of transactions per second," said Erich Clementi, general manager of the IBM eServer zSeries. "Today, businesses are designing infrastructures intended for the next 20 years, and we are teaming with them to build these global, on-demand computing fabrics that link tens of thousands of users across open infrastructures, and extending datacenter-level security to the edges of their vast network. This is a time for mainframe computing," he said.

IBM is making the announcements at customer events in Paris, Tokyo, and New York. The strategy is aimed at expanding the mainframe's role as the foundation for multi-platform on-demand enterprise computing. According to Clay Ryder, analyst at the Sageza Group, the announcements demonstrate Big Blue's commitment to its zSeries platform. "The zSeries has continued to have momentum, and these announcements show a commitment to the future and continued viability of the platform," he said.

The new technology enhancements include a new z/Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) operating system designed for high availability transaction processing in the travel, banking, finance, and public sector markets. The new system supports 64-bit zSeries mainframe architectures and will be capable of processing 25,000 transactions per second.

Other technology enhancements include offering zSeries support for IBM Virtualization Engine Systems Services with the initial delivery of Enterprise Workload Manager for z/OS planned for the fourth quarter. IBM will also introduce GDPS Hyperswap Manager for single site recovery early next year. IBM also plans to improve security for credit card purchases using TKE Smart Card technology.

In the investment realm, IBM will open a new multimillion-dollar mainframe proof of concept and benchmarking laboratory in Beijing and increase IBM technical sales support and services in China to help businesses deploy mainframes. The company will also expand its working relationships with universities in China to develop courses and curriculum to train future IBM mainframe-skilled workers in that rapidly developing country.

IBM is also introducing new industry-focused solutions including a new mainframe-anchored, on-demand operating environment for banking in Montpellier, France.

IBM plans to demonstrate how a flexible on-demand infrastructure centered on an IBM mainframe can enable banks to roll our new customer programs and services rapidly, improve security, and handle IT planned or unplanned downtime. IBM will also expand industry-focused solutions at other centers around the world.

IBM also expanded several partnerships with independent software vendors such as Computer Associates International and BMC Software to improve application availability on the IBM mainframe and improve usage-based pricing of software on mainframes. The company is also partnering with several universities around the world to create 20,000 new mainframe-trained workers by 2010.

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