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IBM’s new mainframe headed for the clouds

by on12 April 2018


Capable of processing 850 million fully encrypted transactions per day per day


Big Blue has been showing off two new mainframe systems which are widely seen as its latest attempt to get its hardware into cloud data centres.

The idea of using a mainframe-based datacentre was pushed by IBM in July last year when it launched its z14. A mainframe-based datacentre has a lot to offer as a concept. It can process 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, along with full-scale data encryption thanks to the dedicated cryptographic hardware it is also somewhat more secure. But integrating mainframes into datacentres proved to be problematic.

Now IBM wants to fix this issue with the z14 Model ZR1 and the LinuxONE Rockhopper II. Both systems come in a 19-inch single-frame design, so they can easily be placed into any cloud data centre or private cloud environment. IBM calls the mainframes a "data centre in a box" and could bring the mainframe back in vogue.

The systems, which take up 40 percent less floor space than the full-size z14 and while they have only 30 processor cores (the z14 had 170 cores) they churn up a fraction of the supported by the z14. Both new systems can handle around 850 million fully encrypted transactions at a fraction of the z14's power.

The ZR1 can run IBM's z/OS operating system or Linux, while the Rockhopper II is focused solely on Linux.

IBM will deploy these single-frame mainframes in its public cloud datacentres, so it is eating its own dogfood.

Last modified on 12 April 2018
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