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IBM on Tuesday unveiled its newest mainframe, the zEnterprise EC12, which the company said promises increased performance and security while in some cases cutting the cost of IT operations.
Despite a common misperception that the mainframe is dead thanks to competition from ever-more powerful x86-based computers, IBM spent $1 billion across 18 labs worldwide to develop the zEnterprise EC12, said Doug Brown vice president of global marketing for Power and System z at IBM.
"We're seeing clients needing to respond to the services requirements of their clients," Brown said. "And we're seeing the need for cloud-level security. So, we're seeing a rebirth of interest in mainframes."
The new zEC12 comes with 50 percent more processor cores, or up to 120 cores, compared to the previous generation of the mainframe, and each processor has 25 percent higher performance than in the past, Brown said.
IBM has also added flash technology to the zEC12's storage to increase performance, he said.
Also new is support for IBM's DB2 Analytics Accelerator which brings IBM's Netezza data warehouse appliance into the mainframe for running complex business analytics and operational analytics on the same platform, he said.
"DB2 knows automatically if a transaction should be processed normally or use the Analytics Accelerator, which is Netezza integrated in DB2," he said. "This is specific to the mainframe. It's for the complex transactions that need acceleration."
The zEC12 mainframe also offers a more secure and reliant processing environment than in the past. Brown said that IBM mainframes are the only commercial computer systems to achieve the Common Criteria Evaluation Assured Level 5+ security classification.
The zEC12 also comes with IBM's new Crypto Express4S card which ensures users are who they say they are before doing transactions, Brown said. It is targeted at public sector and commercial customers where the highest levels of security are required, he said.
Other new features include overhead power and cabling support so that the zEC12 mainframe can be used without raised data center floors, as well as transactional memory technology that improves software support for concurrent operations using a shared set of data.