IBM to ship latest Z/OS for mainframes this week

IBM Corp. this Friday will start shipping the latest release of its Z/OS mainframe operating system featuring enhancements to its resource-sharing and security capabilities.

IBM also announced that it has boosted its Z/900 mainframe hardware with a new PCI-accelerator card that it claimed will result in significantly better system-level performance compared with existing models.

The Z/OS is IBM's new name for its OS/390 mainframe operating system. It was first announced, along with IBM's 64-bit Z/900 mainframes, in October last year.

With this new release, which IBM first unveiled last month, the company is building on several key features supported by Z/OS said Peter McCaffrey, IBM's enterprise platform director.

The new z/OS V1R2.0 for instance, extends the capabilities of the Intelligence Resource Director (IRD) to customers running Linux and z/VM applications on the Z/900, McCaffrey said.

IRD is designed to dynamically and intelligently reallocate system resources such as memory and processor capacity to applications that need them most. So, for example, an e-commerce application running on one mainframe partition would be able to use resources from another lower-priority partition if the need arose.

With this release, IBM has extended those capabilities to Linux and Z/VM applications on the Z/900, McCaffrey said.

Also introduced is a new server-to-server networking technology called Hipersockets that basically speeds up communications between server partitions. This kind of a "network-in-the-box" capability cuts costs and complexity because it eliminates the external networks that were previously needed.

The Z/OS's security capabilites have also been enhanced. IBM said it's making available new intrusion-detection technology that scans incoming data for threats. It's also extending its cryptographic co-processor support to Linux applications.

The Z/OS represents IBM's efforts to attract new applications to the mainframe, said David Floyer, an analyst at IT Centrix Inc. in Mountain View, Calif. The operating system's support for Linux and its enhanced resource-sharing capabilites are examples of how IBM is making it easier to run multiple workloads on the mainframe, Floyer said.

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