IBM Enhances zSeries Systems

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2005-07-15

SOMERS, N.Y.—Far from fading into the IT history books, mainframe systems are still going strong, and, in fact, new features and capabilities are on the way for IBMs zSeries systems, said company officials here.

Reliability, security and manageability have helped fuel demand for the zSeries systems, the officials said.

"We have a number of our large enterprise customers who continue to depend on zSeries because of its security and also its serviceability and availability, which is unmatched," Rod Adkins, vice president of development for IBMs Systems and Technology Group, said in an interview.

Click here to read more about how mainframes have made a comeback.

IBM is working on ways to expand those capabilities. Robert Hoey, worldwide vice president of sales for enterprise servers, said the company is looking to expand the offload processors it offers in the zSeries. IBM currently provides dedicated processors for such functions as I/O, cryptography and memory control. Hoey declined to elaborate on what functions new offload processors would handle, but he said they are a key for the zSeries going forward.

In addition, Adkins said IBM will continue focusing on the systems "concurrent maintenance" capabilities, enabling managers to fix the servers while the systems continue operating. "Some of that we can do right now," he said. "Some, but not everything."

Also under consideration is a model to fit between the high-end z990 and the lower-end z890. "There have been discussions about a midrange box," Hoey said. Adkins said user demand will affect any such decision. "From a technology and product development perspective, theres nothing preventing us from servicing multiple product segments," he said.

Touro Infirmary uses a z890 to help it become a paperless operation. CIO Peter Dougherty said more mainframe options will attract businesses seeking a mainframe that fits their needs. "Its about getting value for the money," said Dougherty in New Orleans.

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