IBM announces new OS for Z/900 Series

Three months after IBM shipped its eServer Z900 Series, the company on Monday announced the availability of its new 64-bit OS for the mainframe machines.

The z/OS is a revamp of the OS/390 operating system, which ran on the eSeries' predecessor line, the S/390. The eServer Z900 Series machines are positioned as application servers for Web sites, and the product family is a linchpin in IBM's efforts to keep users from moving to big Unix machines from Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

The z/OS offers a feature known as Intelligent Resource Director (IRD), which automatically manages the amount of processing power dedicated to applications running across the system. Customers can set priorities for dynamically shifting processor power to address application needs.

"You can essentially partition it into tens or hundreds of separate servers, said Peter McCaffery, IBM's director of eServer zSeries. "If at a certain point in time (there is) a high load of traffic, ... what the Z series can do is sense that and can reallocate computing capacity from another application."

The new z/OS also offers security enhancements. It allows customers to build their own cryptography functions and the OS can hold digital certificates on the OS LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server, allowing electronic transactions to be processed without any additional hardware.

IBM will start shipping the new operating system on March 30. A follow-up version of the z/OS, z/OS version 1.2, will ship in October, McCaffery said.

The update will include IRD for Linux, and networking advances that will use server memory to allow information to travel at memory speed across logical partitions, minimizing network latency and maximizing bandwidth and availability. In addition, the upgrade will include intrusion detection functions, as well as enhancements to distributed security, digital certificates, directory services and cryptography, IBM said.

IBM initially announced its rebranding of the S/390 line with the launch of the zSeries servers in October last year. The zSeries machines start at US$750,000, McCaffery said.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-499-1900 or via the Internet at

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