IBM Positions NUMA-Q Servers for Mainframe Apps

IBM Corp. is offering enterprise users running its S/390-based applications a new option - the ability to run those applications on IBM's NUMA-Q 2000 servers.

Observers say IBM's announcement is worth a second look for those with S/390-based applications. NUMA-Q 2000 servers, first introduced in 1996, are based on Intel processors and support UNIX, Linux and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 applications running in a single server. For companies that have made significant investments in mainframe applications, but may not want to purchase new mainframe hardware or upgrade their existing infrastructure, NUMA-Q could be a cost-effective option.

John Dunkle, an analyst with Workgroup Strategic Services Inc., says users won't necessarily reduce the cost of their transactions by using NUMA-Q, since mainframes provide low cost-per-transaction rates. But users can reduce new hardware costs by going with NUMA-Q, he says. A typical mainframe configuration can cost between US$1 million and $2 million. Dunkle also noted that consolidating hardware platforms, and thereby simplifying management tasks could reduce total cost of ownership.

Users who want to run S/390 applications on NUMA-Q 2000 servers will use NUMA-Q Enabled For S/390 (EFS). This software-based computing platform allows IBM's S/390 server operating systems - including OS/390, VM/ESA and VSE/ESA - to run without modification.

To run S/390-based applications, NUMA-Q uses a UNIX application that emulates the S/390 processor architecture. The software simulates S/390 machine instructions so applications running on NUMA-Q servers can communicate with traditional S/390 hardware devices, such as IBM S/390 DASD volumes (CKD and FBA), IBM tape (3490, 3480, 3420), card reader and punch, printers, 3172 LAN channel station, and more.

IBM's NUMA-Q 2000 supports up to 16 quads - or 64 processors - interconnected to create a single system. IBM says NUMA-Q-based clusters can eliminate single points of subsystem failure, typically allowing for 99.995 percent or better system availability.

Network managers also can use NUMA-Q to simplify system administration and management tasks associated with server farms. Using NUMA-Q, they can run and manage S/390 applications, as well as their Linux, UNIX and Windows 2000 applications concurrently. NUMA-Q servers have a single console for configuring and monitoring system hardware, conducting online and offline diagnostics, and adjusting system configuration. IBM's Application Region Manage software running on NUMA-Q also allows network managers to allocate portions of the processor, memory and kernel resources and dedicate them to a specific application

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