IBM Intros Entry Mainframe, Plans Channel Push

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The company's new IBM System z10 Business Class mainframe, unveiled Tuesday, is an entry-level version of the z10 Enterprise Class mainframe IBM introduced earlier this year, said Tim McChristian, vice president of worldwide sales for IBM's global business partners.

The z10 BC, which lists starting at less than $100,000, has the equivalent capacity of about 232 x86 servers, McChristian said. However, it requires 83 percent less floor space and 93 percent less energy than those servers while providing mainframe security and reliability, he said.

The z10 BC includes specialty engines to help customers migrate SAP, Java, Linux and other applications to the mainframe, McChristian said.

IBM is working with more than 130 solution providers and systems integrators worldwide who are certified to sell IBM System z mainframes, according to IBM. The certification of IBM System z sales and technician skills has increased 300 percent during the first half of 2008 compared with the same time period in 2007.

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IBM expects about 70 percent of z10 BC sales to go through IBM's solution providers, McChristian said.

IBM on Tuesday also enhanced some of its storage products with new mainframe compatibilities, he added. They include IBM's DS8000 disk storage array and IBM's TS7700 tape storage systems.

IBM is also offering financing for its new mainframes with a program through IBM Global Finance. Called "Why Wait," the program offers a 36-month lease with a 90-day deferral of payments.