zEC12 includes a state-of-the-art, tamper-resistant cryptographic coprocessor called Crypto Express4S, which provides privacy for transactions and sensitive data. Crypto Express4S includes new firmware developed with IBM Research to meet the security requirements of different industries and geographies. For example, it can be configured to provide support for high-quality digital signatures used with applications for Smart passports, national ID cards and online legal proceedings, replacing handwritten signatures as directed by the European Union and the public sector.
The new mainframe offers IT systems analytics capabilities based on technology from IBM Research. It analyzes internal system messages to provide a near-real-time view of the system's health, including any potential problems. Called IBM zAware, the technology learns from the messages to recognize patterns and quickly pinpoint any deviations, using the information to identify unusual system behavior and minimize its impact. IBM STG Lab Services will offer services to help with planning, configuration and implementation of IBM zAware.
zEC12 is the first IBM mainframe to include internal solid-state technology with Flash Express, a new memory technology that can help improve the performance of data-intensive applications or workloads where optimal service levels are vital such as customer-facing or service applications used by banks, public sector companies and retailers. It's designed to provide improved availability during bursts of system activity experienced at transitional periods, such as when financial markets open or holiday periods when online retail transactions are heavy.
Clients can also opt to run zEC12 without a raised data center floor—a first for high-end IBM mainframes. With new overhead power and cabling support, clients have more flexibility on where zEC12 is deployed. This will increase the appeal of System z for enterprise clients in growth markets, where System z business was up 11 percent in the second quarter, according to IBM.
zEC12 is the first general-purpose server to incorporate transactional memory technology, first used commercially to help make the IBM Blue Gene/Q-based "Sequoia" system at Lawrence Livermore National Lab the fastest supercomputer in the world. In zEC12, IBM adapted this technology to enable software to better support concurrent operations that use a shared set of data, such as financial institutions processing transactions against the same set of accounts.
The zEC12 offers 25 percent more performance per core and more than 100 configurable cores, compared with its predecessor.
The new mainframe offers 50 percent more total capacity than its predecessor.
The zEC12 included the world's fastest chip, running at 5.5 GHz.
IBM's newest mainframe has a new radiator-based air-cooled system design for more efficient cooling and improved concurrent maintenance.
In 2010, IBM introduced hybrid computing with the launch of the IBM zEnterprise System and the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX), allowing enterprises to deploy and integrate workloads across mainframe, Power7 and System x servers. Using zEnterprise Unified Resource Management, these diverse resources can be managed as a single, virtualized system. On Aug. 28, IBM introduced the zBX Model 003 to help extend customers' ability to run integrated and dynamic workloads. With simplified operational control and an integrated, high-performance, private and secure network, the zBX Model 003 is designed to run with zEC12.