When it comes to mainframe systems, IBM is taking a global view.
The Armonk, N.Y., company is planning to unveil a new set of services for its System z mainframe systems March 8. The backdrop for this announcement is set to take place in Mumbai, India, where IBM executives believe there is a large potential market for its mainframe systems.
The companys emphasis on emerging markets for its mainframe business is not new, said Ami Ehlenberger, manager of services for System z. In April 2006, the company launched its z9 Business Class mainframe with an eye toward emerging markets. The company even went to China to emphasize the importance of those markets.
"We have been opening up our platforms to new markets and new customers," Ehlenberger said.
According to a Feb. 22 report by Gartner, IBM System z mainframes helped the company maintain its overall revenue lead in the worldwide server market for 2006.
Mainframes—a part of the market Big Blue has dominated for years—grew 4 percent in terms of revenue during that time.
With these new services, IBM is hoping to show the benefits of switching to mainframe systems for smaller companies as well as startup enterprises in emerging markets, such as India, China and Russia.
One key area that the company intends to push as it looks for new markets for its mainframes is power consumption. IBM is hoping to entice startups and small businesses by touting the energy efficiency of one System z mainframe compared to using multiple x86 servers to perform the same job.
For example, Ehlenberger said that IBM can offer virtualization and consolidation technologies on the mainframe that can reduce cooling and energy costs in the data center.
"Power and cooling are extremely important in markets like India," Ehlenberger said. "Companies there are strapped for space in the data center. These businesses dont have the floor space or the power capacity to run multiple systems. What we are doing is providing the most energy-efficient solution for our customers."
The services that IBM will offer, Ehlenberger said, will give customers the ability to tap into these cost savings measures.
The new services that IBM will now offer for the System z systems include support for running Linux technology on mainframes. The company will also offer data solutions services for its DB2 and IMS databases on both z/OS and Linux operating systems. IBM will also integrate its DB2 databases with software from third-party vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Siebel.
For security, IBM is offering its mainframe users additional encryption services, including the use of PKI (public key infrastructure) for the System z operating system, as well as an administrative interface and application interfaces for cryptography hardware.
Finally, IBM will offer support for a number of SOA (service-oriented architecture) technologies, such as its own MQ Series, ESB technology and the WebSphere suite.
These new services will be available immediately to IBMs System z customers worldwide.