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For the First Time, IBM Brings Together Mainframe and Windows

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Support for Windows in the IBM zEnterprise environment begins December 16 and is expected to help clients reduce both cost and complexity. 

IBM announced this week that technology allowing IBM zEnterprise System users to integrate Microsoft Windows applications into the mainframe environment--an industry first--will become available on December 16. The new capability allows clients with multi-tier applications--for example, Windows applications connected to mainframe data--to be integrated and consolidated on the same system. This first-ever bringing together of the mainframe and distributed computing worlds is designed to ease the cost and complexity of large corporate data centers and improve management of workloads spanning mainframe and distributed environments.

"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," said Huub Meertens, head of the Support Engineering Section at EUROCONTROL, the European air traffic management organization in the Netherlands.

"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 Meertens.

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, notes IBM. 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.

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.

Today's 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.

Clients are demanding more efficient, easier-to-manage infrastructures so they can invest their limited resources to advance their strategic IT initiatives, such as cloud computing and business analytics.

The announcement also represents another example of the mainframe's continued vitality in a highly competitive and dynamic server marketplace.  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.  Backed by $1.5 billion in research and development and years of direct client input, IBM's zEnterprise demonstrates the company's ongoing mission to innovate and address key challenges, the company says.

IBM has continued to see mainframe momentum since shipping its new System zEnterprise 196 last July with new clients and system upgrades worldwide.  Since July 2010, IBM has added more than 80 new mainframe clients worldwide with more than 30 percent of these in growth markets.

Yi Lian Zhong Information Technology (YLZ), a leading provider of information services in China, recently announced its selection of System z to build a cloud computing platform that will improve the life of more than 300 million citizens in China via an online portal for a variety of social services.

Ales Levstek, chief information officer of NLB (Nova Ljubljanska Bank), a large bank in Slovenia, says, "The IBM DB2 for z/OS is a secure and highly available repository for the bank's data. High-performance specialty processors have significantly improved query response times as compared to our previous solution. The new zEnterprise hybrid technology is highly scalable and flexible which means that our users are now able to access the information they need more quickly."

IBM's System z support for Windows means that clients can: 

  • Gain more choice in choosing the best platform for a particular application from ERP to business analytics to transaction processing.
  • Allow front-end Windows applications to integrate with applications or data on the mainframe
  • Consolidate more workloads onto the mainframe as part of their efforts to maximize technology investments.  The financial impact of consolidation onto System z can be substantial, with savings of up to 70 percent in total cost of ownership compared to distributed platforms.1

With the System z 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, IBM said.  These options now offer a more integrated multi-platform system that combines the best of IBM's server technology, according to the company.

For more information, visit http://www.ibm.com/systems/z.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

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