by Anton Shilov
08/30/2012 | 10:30 PM
IBM has announced the zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server, the most powerful and technologically advanced version of an IBM system that has been the linchpin of enterprise computing for 48 years. The new enterprise system features technologies that demonstrate IBM’s ongoing commitment to meet the growing need to secure and manage critical information with the System z mainframe.
The new IBM mainframe is one of the most secure enterprise systems ever, with built-in security features designed to meet the security and compliance requirements of different industries. With operational analytics and near real-time workload monitoring and analysis, clients can use the new zEC12 for a variety of workloads, including hybrid clouds that can take advantage of the System's 25% more performance per core and 50% greater total system capacity than its predecessor as well as the world’s fastest quad-core out-of-order CISC-based z/Architecture processor running at 5.5GHz and made using 32nm process technology. Each core of the chip has six RISC-like execution units, including two integer units, two load-store units, one binary floating point unit and one decimal floating point unit.
Each zEZ12 can have a maximum of 36 processors giving a total of 120 cores, 101 of which are directly available to run operating systems and applications. Additional cores are reserved as spares and as SAPs (system assist processors). The number of cores available in a particular model of the zEC12 is denoted by the model name. The zEnterprise EC12 is available in five hardware models: H20, H43, H66, H89, HA1A1. zEnterprise EC12 can be equipped with 32GB-3040GB of memory. IBM zEC12 is the first IBM mainframe to include internal solid state technology with Flash Express, a new memory technology that can help improve the performance of data intensive applications.
Mainframes support significant portions of the data environment at most large enterprises. As these enterprises grapple with the well-documented growth of data, they are looking for new ways to secure and gain insights from such critical information as financial, customer and enterprise resource data that will enable them to provide their clients with new services. The new zEC12 offers industry-leading security and robust support for operational analytics that can help clients efficiently sift through large volumes of raw data and transform it to gain knowledge that can be used for competitive advantage. For example, a retailer managing online transactions on zEC12 can gain insights from client information that will enable it to provide clients with a more customized shopping experience.
The IBM zEC12 enterprise system is the result of an investment by IBM Systems and Technology Group of more than $1 billion in IBM research and development primarily in Poughkeepsie, New York as well as 17 other IBM labs around the world and in collaboration with some of IBM's top clients.
IBM System z is a leading platform for secure data serving and the only commercial server to achieve Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification, providing clients the confidence to run many different applications containing confidential data on a single mainframe. The new zEC12 builds on this with innovative security and privacy features to help protect data at rest or in flight - a critical capability in the age of Internet banking and mobile devices.
zEC12 includes a state-of-the-art, tamper-resistant cryptographic co-processor called Crypto Express4S that provides privacy for transactions and sensitive data. Crypto Express4S includes new hardware and software developed with IBM Research to help meet the security requirements of different industries and geographies. For example, it can be configured to provide support for high quality digital signatures used with applications for Smart passports, national ID cards and online legal proceedings, replacing handwritten signatures as directed by the EU and the public sector.
SC Data Center Inc. provides services to Colony Brands Inc., one of the world’s largest and most successful catalog companies, and uses encryption technology on zEnterprise to protect its call center applications when it services customers and takes orders, protecting its e-commerce platform that relies on System z for all sales and credit transactions and moves sensitive data safely to other platforms for processing.
zEC12 advances performance for analytics, increasing performance of analytic workloads by 30% compared to its IBM predecessor. In addition, support for the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator that incorporates the Netezza data warehouse appliance into zEC12 enables clients to run complex business analytics and operational analytics on the same platform.
The new mainframe also offers IT systems analytics capabilities based on technology from IBM Research. It analyzes internal system messages to provide a near real-time view of the system’s health, including any potential problems. Called IBM zAware, the technology learns from the messages to recognize patterns and quickly pinpoint any deviations, using the information to identify unusual system behavior and minimize its impact. IBM STG Lab Services will offer services to help with planning, configuration and implementation of IBM zAware.
The mainframe’s leading virtualization capabilities make it well suited to support private cloud environments. Clients can consolidate thousands of distributed systems on to Linux on zEC12, lowering IT operating expenses associated with energy use, floor space and software licensing.
zEC12 is expected to offer a low total cost of acquisition for Linux consolidation of database workloads . One zEC12 can encompass the capacity of an entire multi-platform data center in a single system.
As one of the world's most secure systems, with features designed to meet the security and compliance requirements of different industries, the new mainframe also enables clients to run traditional IT and private cloud applications on one system.
zEC12 is the first IBM mainframe to include internal solid state technology with Flash Express, a new memory technology that can help improve the performance of data intensive applications or workloads where optimal service levels are vital such as customer facing or service applications used by banks, public sector companies and retailers. It’s designed to provide improved availability during bursts of system activity experienced at transitional periods such as when financial markets open or holiday periods when online retail transactions are heavy.
Clients can also opt to run zEC12 without a raised datacenter floor - a first for high-end IBM mainframes. With new overhead power and cabling support, clients have more flexibility on where zEC12 is deployed. This can increase the appeal of System z for enterprise clients in growth markets, where System z revenue was up 11% year to year in the second quarter of 2012, per IBM earnings.
zEC12 is the first general purpose IBM server to incorporate transactional memory technology, first used commercially to help make the IBM Blue Gene/Q-based “Sequoia” system at Lawrence Livermore National Lab the fastest supercomputer in the world. In zEC12, IBM adapted this technology to enable software to better support concurrent operations that use a shared set of data such as financial institutions processing transactions against the same set of accounts.
“We continue to drive innovation on System z, allowing a broader set of clients to apply its leadership capabilities in security and resiliency to the current demands of their business, be they from analytics, cloud or mobile computing. Our end-to-end design approach for smarter computing -- from processors to systems to software optimization -- is targeted to handle complicated business challenges associated with managing, protecting and analyzing a client's most critical information. It’s what makes the mainframe the ultimate enterprise system,” said Doug Balog, general manager IBM System z.