Mainframes

Making IBM magic with “Sword Art Online The Movie”

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Check out one of the scenes from Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale opening in US theaters today:

server from Sword Art Online The Movie

Does the server in the image look familiar? It should — it’s inspired by and modeled after one of the world’s fastest and most secure enterprise servers — the IBM z13 mainframe from IBM z Systems.

z13 server from z Systems

Taking place in the near future, the Sword Art Online film is based on a hugely popular Japanese anime novel series. Written by Reki Kawahara, it takes us inside a virtual reality world of pure fantasy based on massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Well, mostly fantasy, that is, since our server practically makes a cameo!

We asked Kawahara why our server served as a muse for this production. He says there’s a certain romance to the mainframe that deepened for him when he first saw IBM’s z13. He described it as a technology providing the infrastructure that supports society, was fascinated by the mainframe’s evolution over the last five decades, and says he was pleased he could incorporate the z13 into his movie.

It’s not surprising that Kawahara was struck by how vital this mainframe system is — now more affordable than ever, the z13 offers unprecedented capacity, processing power, and real-time insights. Don’t believe us? See if you can go 5 minutes without a mainframe:

The film follows the events of the second season of the anime series. It opened #1 at the Japanese box office last month, but will have a more limited release here in the US. Reality blurs with the virtual world as characters Kirito, Asuna and others find themselves battling virtual monsters.

And of course, the real z13 is not the server that appears in the movie. But just like the z13 helps to support most large businesses, this mythical server also supports a VR game with epic results.

If you’d like to learn more, click here and here.

And you can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #SAOmovieUS, #SwordArtOnline, #SAOmovie and #IBMz.

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