The cost savings and simplicity of consolidation with the security and scalability of the mainframe
Here at IBM, we often smile when we hear some new buzzword around virtualization. The IBM mainframe has a long history of virtualization. We were doing it before there was a name for it, and System z’s flagship virtualization product, z/VM, is nearly 40 years old. But with all the talk about consolidation plays, virtualized workloads, and private clouds, we sometimes need to point out that System z also provides a level of sophistication, flexibility, security and cost-effectiveness that is simply unmatched.
From a virtualization perspective, System z is a highly attractive platform for eliminating server sprawl. We can - and do - run flat out at near 100% utilization. And, System z can commit memory to a scale that simply can’t be achieved with a bunch of commodity level x86 boxes. System z was meant to run many diverse workloads - and balance that work - from the very beginning. You may see a piece of commodity hardware starting to fail or having service problems at 50% or 60% utilization, but with System z, that just does not happen.
Adding to the many attributes of System z is the fact that the cost-effective open source operating system Linux is fully supported on the IBM mainframe. As a result, about 35% of our mainframe customers have an IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) installed, and 30% of our total systems have Linux installed worldwide.
Using z/VM virtualization technology, clients can run hundreds to thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe running with other System z operating systems, such as z/OS, or as a large-scale Linux-only enterprise server solution. z/VM 6.2 can cluster four virtual machines and move workloads between them while production is running live. That allows customers to avoid planned downtime for patch updates – and if there is a spike in demand for one workload they can move it to where the capacity is.
The flexibility of System z is expanded with zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX), an infrastructure for bringing Power (AIX) and System x (Linux and Windows) blades under the management of System z. Sometimes described as “a system of systems,” zEnterprise closes the gap between the mainframe and distributed worlds.
Organizations, for which failure is not an option, consistently rely on the IBM mainframe. That’s the reason that System z is the platform of choice for companies and government agencies running mission-critical workloads.
For example, Nationwide Insurance has deployed two IBM System z mainframes running Linux as a cornerstone of its strategy of moving all new development to virtualization and J2EE as a means of "future-proofing" its IT environment. And, when Endress+Hauser, a Switzerland-based specialist in measurement technology for process engineering, needed to improve its disaster recovery capabilities and also reduce total cost, it also turned to System z.
The IBM mainframe’s refrigerator-size, energy-efficient footprint can consolidate huge numbers of servers into one, allowing organizations to not only save money but gain the security, flexibility, and dependability of System z at the same time.
Vice President & Business Line Executive, System z IBM Systems & Technology Group