Sunday, June 23, 2024

New IBM ‘T-Rex’ Sniffs Out Mid-range Fare

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IBM updated its “T-Rex” line of mainframe computer
systems Wednesday by adding a scaled down version of the original machine
specifically for medium-sized businesses and a corresponding storage

Geared to compete with UNIX offerings from HP and Sun
Microsystems, the eServer zSeries 890 offers
from the z990 at a lower cost and entry size. The Armonk, N.Y. systems
vendor also announced a Shark enterprise storage server to accompany
z890 in the mid-range space.

Terri Virnig, vice president of strategic initiative and technical
at IBM, said the z890 and Shark system news comes on the 40th
anniversary of
the company’s first mainframe, the System/360. Virning said the zSeries
grown from a $5 billion investment to roughly $30 billion since the
mainframe appeared in 1964.

The z890 offers the same levels of virtualization, automation, security
scalability as the z990 but it is 100 percent faster than the previous
mid-range z800
and is more than 30 percent smaller to conserve space in
cluttered data centers.

Virnig told the new machine offers
granularity in that it is offered with 28 capacity settings over one to
processors to let businesses match server capacity with their business

This was based on customer requests and advice on how IBM could improve
the z800. For example, the machine processes anywhere from 26 millions
instructions per second (MIPS) to 1350, more than twice
capacity of the z800.

Such flexibility is key at a time when customer’s computing needs
or decrease in an instant, and is another example of how IBM is making
e-business on-demand strategy come to fruition.

Sageza Research Director Charles King said the play is another hallmark
IBM’s strategy to push features from high-end machines down into lower
products designed for smaller companies that ask for high-level

“They’re pushing the z990 technology that was introduced in the T-Rex
into the mid-market in the same way that they did with the z900 into
z800,” King told “The z900 was the original
big box
and typically what they’ll do — at least for the last two product
releases — is bring the big box out first and then a year or so later
push that technology down into a small box.”

King said the move is indicative of the way the company has been using
mainframes a proving ground for new technologies. After all, one can
look at
most of Big Blue’s server and storage products and pick out
first found in IBM mainframes, including autonomic computing and
virtualization features.

The keystone feature of the z890 is the new zSeries Application Assist
Processor (zAAP), a z/OS Java execution environment for customers
seeking to
integrate Java Web applications along side existing business
and data on the same server platform.

The technology is geared to provide let users incorporate Java
with legacy software. Priced at $125,000 per processor and slated for
30, zAAP simplifies server infrastructure and improve operational
efficiencies, which cuts costs.

King said the zAAP technology is an example of IBM adding new
to satisfy their current customers, as well as try to attract new
classes of
customers. Ultimately, King said IBM likely would like to move
from s/360 and s/390 legacy systems to the zSeries. “Those customers
increasingly expensive for a vendor to support over time,” he said.

The z890 also features On/Off computing-on-demand support for
Coupling Facilities and zAAP and provides additional temporary capacity
Parallel Sysplex clustering and Java workloads. The new server will be
May 28, with entry level pricing around $200,000.

As for the new storage system, the TotalStorage Enterprise Storage
750 is designed to help mid-range customers meeting the smaller
and price needs of new mainframe and other system servers.

The ESS 750 allows for anywhere from 1.1 to 4.6 terabytes of on-demand
storage that upgrades on the fly; more than 20 autonomic feature for
management; and new copy services functions. The machine will be
in May starting at a shade over $100,000.

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