IBM ships new mainframe line this month

IBM yesterday announced a new mainframe line -- the S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server Generation 6 (G6) -- fewer than 9 months after the introduction of the previous G5 mainframe line.

Targeted at customers involved in electronic commerce, the new line of mainframes is suited to handle large-volume e-commerce transactions and large-scale ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications, IBM said.

The S/390 G6, due to ship on May 28, is the company's first enterprise server -- IBM's name for a mainframe -- to use IBM's copper chip technology, the vendor said. IBM began shipping its first copper-based microprocessors last September, to enhance performance and let chip makers decrease die size and power consumption.

The microprocessors in the largest S/390 G6 system run at 637MHz so that the system can deliver more than 1,600 MIPS (million instructions per second). This represents a greater-than 50 percent increase in MIPS over the previous mainframe, the G5, IBM said.

The G6 also offers options for fibre channel connectivity (FICON), Gigabit Ethernet networking and Parallel Sysplex clustering, IBM said. Pricing was not immediately available.

Earlier this year, IBM upgraded the S/390's operating system software -- OS/390 -- offering enhancements in networking, security and systems management. The OS upgrade was meant to increase the viability of S/390 mainframes for electronic commerce, positioning the company's mainframe systems as better options than high-end Unix servers, IBM said.

Shipments of the previous mainframe model have increased more than 60 percent each quarter for the past three quarters, according to IBM.

Also today, IBM and SAP are announcing that OS/390 will be a supported platform for SAP's R/3 ERP application suite. Due to ship in the fourth quarter, SAP's support of OS/390 will let customers run both SAP application servers and database servers on the S/390.

Starting on July 1, S/390 customers who buy IBM's major middleware products -- CICS and MQSeries and its DB/2 database -- will get a price reduction of approximately 25 percent, IBM said. Other prices have also been reduced.

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