IBM has announced a technology allowing IBM zEnterprise users to integrate Microsoft Windows apps into the mainframe environment. The new tech allows clients with multi-tier programs - e.g., Windows apps connected to mainframe data - to be integrated and consolidated on the same system. This tech is designed to ease the cost and complexity of data centers and improve management of workloads spanning mainframe and distributed environments.
With today's announcement, clients can now run z/OS and Linux on System z along with IBM AIX, x86 Linux and Microsoft Windows on the zEnterprise System. Through a hybrid computing approach, that IBM has pioneered with the introduction of the zEnterprise System in July 2010, select IBM System x blades and System x applications can be installed in a zEnterprise. No changes are required for the application, and integration and management of blades and applications are handled by the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager, via a single console. The benefit is that the application servers can be physically and logically close to the data running on the mainframe.
The hybrid capability already had been available for managing IBM Power-based workloads with operating system support for AIX and System x-based workloads with Linux as well as a business analytics solution and a multi-functional appliance for System z (IBM Websphere DataPower XI50 for zEnterprise). With these capabilities, the zEnterprise System is accelerating smarter computing for companies and governments through an innovative "system of systems" approach that allows disparate workloads spread across multiple systems to be managed as a single environment.
By bringing Windows and the mainframe together, IBM is helping clients to innovate more freely in multiple environments across z/OS, Linux, AIX and now Windows. Specifically, the new technology provides centralized management, which offers a variety of money-saving benefits, such as faster and automated access to computing resources, reduced administration and lower training costs. The new capability of consolidating and centralizing management of Windows applications on x86-based IBM System x servers will be available for either of the zEnterprise systems - the z196 or z114.
The announcement advances zEnterprise System's ability to address a vital issue for corporate data centers - the jumble of disparate technologies added over time to run specific applications. These systems typically operate in individual silos, requiring separate staff and software tools to manage, with the additional complexity of interacting and communicating with each other in real time. This long-standing client challenge is aggravated by dramatic increases in cost and management complexity amid a rising tide of sophisticated, data-intensive workloads in an increasingly interconnected world.
The announcement also represents another example of the mainframe's continued vitality in a highly competitive and dynamic server marketplace, according to IBM. The mainframe remains a source of great value for banks, insurance companies, governments, major retailers and other IBM clients who benefit from its high levels of security and reliability.
"The new heterogeneous virtual IT infrastructure will give us greater flexibility and scalability. On our existing servers, the various applications operate independently on diverse platforms, based upon the one-server-one application model. The combination of IBM System z with Intel servers in an ensemble configuration turns out to be the best solution for modernization of our IT infrastructure. Given our complex IT infrastructure with high safety and security requirements, reliability, scalability and management at a competitive price are very important. It is for these reasons that EuroControl has opted for the IBM zEnterprise with zBX environment," said Huub Meertens, head of the support engineering section at EuroControl, the European air traffic management organization in the Netherlands.