Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
ComputerWorld magazine recently talked to Jim Stallings, the new GM of our System z mainframe division. Stallings has been on the job for a couple of months, and in the interview discusses a variety of z-related topics, including the z9 zSeries (announced last September), growth of the mainframe market in China (and other emerging markets) and the SMB marketplace, and using z mainframes and the Advanced Encryption Standard to centrally manage corporate security.[Read More]
As seen on CNN this AM: One Steven Martinez was scuba diving for golf balls in Boynton Beach, Florida, earlier this week when he was attacked by a 9-foot alligator.
Apparently, the alligator went directly after Mr. Martinez's air supply by attacking his scuba tank, although I imagine what the gator was really after were the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls stuffed away in his scuba bag of goodies (a box of Pro V1s has an MSRP of $58, according to a recent visit to the Titleist Web site.)
Fortunately for Mr. Martinez, he survived and was treated for minor injuries. The alligator, however, was not quite so fortunate -- it was slated to be sent packing to those Great Everglades in the sky, sans the V1s.
Me, I'll stick with my Top Flites, and try to avoid mixing the diving and driving.
Champagne or Orange Juice?
Meanwhile, let me bring to your attention yesterday's announcement of IBM's System z9 Business Class (z9 BC, for short) mainframe computers.
Designed to help smaller companies do more work with less computers at higher rates of IT utilization, these babies can do what it used to take tens or hundreds of servers to do. Yes, there's a server utilization efficiency story there, but as oil hovers around $70 a barrel, it can also help save on energy costs and floor space (not to mention the nightmare of trying to manage and keep track of all those servers named after characters from obscure science fiction novels.)
You can read here what some analysts have said about travelling via z9 Business Class -- and mind you, while quotes about mainframe computing aren't the most pithy and quotable around, this one stood out: "...[it] should help IBM extend its reach into new markets running new workloads." Simple and pithy, don't you think?
Now, would you like a hot towel before dinner?[Read More]
Check out this story about the "hardware hacker."
This guy's a man after my own heart. His name's Michael Ross, and he's a Scotsman who splits his home between Mamoroneck, NY, and the Scottish Highlands, and who collects old IBM computer systems...as in, really old...and really big.
According to the article, Mr. Ross's collection of old IBM systems weighs about 15 tons and "could fill a 10-car garage." It includes an IBM System/3, System/32, IBM System/34, System/36, System/38, the game-changing System/360, and many, many more. You can see his collection online at The Corestore.
I have my own collection of old computers, although I don't have nearly as many as I wish I had kept (My Kaypro luggable, my Sord Laptop, or my Compaq "Luggable," for instance). However I do still have my first IBM laptop...anyone care to guess what model that might be??? (Hint: It predates the ThinkPad line!)
Mainframes at Your Service
Speaking of old computers, the so-called IBM mainframe "dinosaurs" seem to keep coming out of their near extinction to find new raisons d'etre. By way of example, InformationWeek highlights how many companies are utilizing mainframes as the hubs for their service-oriented architectures. And Steve Lohr with The New York Times observes that the falling price point of mainframe MIPS (millions of computing instructions per second) is "growing at a healthy clip." And powering about 80 billion transaction per day's worth, according to the InformationWeek article.
Me, I'm thinking about getting a System z for my new work machine. Don't get me wrong, I love my ThinkPad T40, but I tend to be a power user (where do you think the "Turbo" came from?), and I could use a little more horsepower. I suspect that while building PowerPoints on one of our new "Business Class" mainframes might be overkill, it would make for a great Christmas Card picture: Me, wearing my Snoopy goggles and scarf, blowing down the Information Superhighway spouting off our latest TPC results, not a care in the world!
Okay, so it's only a dream. But you never know...one day in the future you might just find a pic of me in Michael Ross' online computer collection![Read More]
The bears are chasing the bulls down Wall Street today, with the Shanghai index losing 8.8% in value overnight before the NYSE starting its own downward trend to the point trading curbs were put into effect.
I, however, like to accentuate the positive, including IDC's report yesterday that IBM continued holding its number one position in worldwide server revenue, with 32.8 percent share in 2006. This included strong growth in the IBM System z mainframe business.
So much for the "mainframe as dinosaur" theory. Perhaps a branding exercise could be in the works? Serverus z Tyrannosaurus, anyone?
Not satisfied with resting on our market share leading laurels, there ain't no flies stickin' to our research team, either, which just announced a new advancement in computer-based simulations to help drive increased chip performance.
The announcement focuses on a new material, hafnium dioxide, a material key to our high-k metal gate technology.
Get the full skinny here, and know there's plenty of red meat in the press release for you physics buffs. Me, all I need to know is that apples fall when you drop them from trees, and this breakthrough's likely gonna make our chips faster.
Finally, speaking of more and faster, a new Pew Internet study is out on wi-fi usage. The verdict?
In these United States, roughly 34 percent of Internet users have gone online wirelessly, with wi-fi home use accounting for 19 percent of Internet users, and 17 percent at work.
You can read more about the study here. Just don't forget your WEP key.
Virtual reality is getting a reality check in its need for more computing power.
The "Cell" microprocessor, developed jointly by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, is about to become core to what we're calling the "Cell Broadband Engine" ("Cell/B.E.") .
The Cell/B.E. will integrate the power of the Cell chip with the security capabilities and unique networking architecture of the System z mainframe to help customers shift demanding 3D Internet applications into overdrive.
The Cell/B.E. project draws on IBM's research, software, and hardware expertise, and is being undertaken in cooperation with Hoplon Entertainment, a Brazilian gaming company which currently hosts its massively popular TaikoDom MMOG on an IBM System z/900 mainframe (Register to read a case study here).
A large game can have a very complex and costly, and often underutilized, infrastructure, with multiple shards running on multiple servers and thus a great deal of redundancy.
Hoplon had originally planned to devote discrete servers to the game's modules, but opted instead for an SOA approach, using the System z/900 which accommodated the game's modular design more seamlessly. It also allowed Hoplon to take full advantage of the System z platform's security, reliability, and high availability.
Building on that success, Hoplon will be able to take advantage of the Cell's distributed processors through the Cell/B.E. project. The Cell chip has a core central processing unit, but also has eight additional "specialty processors" well suited to the transactional processing orientation of mainframes (which can process Linux, Java, and data workloads, as well as encrypt and decrypt data).
This combination allows the Cell/B.E. to handle massive workloads (9,445 business transactions per second, according to a recent banking benchmark), and hence more quickly and smoothly render visually rich (but process-demanding) virtual reality and realtime gaming environments.
And you'll have never seen your avatar move so fast![Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  z10 mainframe virtualization soa green_it data_center_efficiency 4,438 Views
It's a hardware kinda day.
Apple introduced some long-rumored new Macbooks and MacBook Pros, probably overdue, but a bit of a yawn by comparison to all the fuss around the Air the last few weeks.
IBM also made a new hardware introduction with the System z10 Mainframe, designed from the ground up to help increase data center efficiency through performance and power reduction improvements. The z10 also helps drive down cooling costs and, with its new footprint, has smaller floor space requirements.
The z10 Mainframe uses Quad-Core technology and 64-processors, and was built for sharing in mind and providing virtualization capabilities that can support hundreds to hundreds of millions of users.
How'd ya like to have one of those big honkin' computers sitting in the corner of your office?
The Macbook Air is cool and all, but c'mon, this new mainframe is a computer!
Some more details: The z10 supports a broad range of workloads, including Linux, XML, Java, Websphere and increased workloads from ServiceOriented Architecture (SOA) implementations.
IBM is also working with SunMicrosystems and Sine Nomine Associates to pilot the Open Solarisoperating system on System z.
From a performance perspective, the z10 is designed is designed tobe up to 50% faster and up to 100% performance improvement for CPUintensive jobs compared to its predecessor, the z9, with up to 70% morecapacity.
The z10 also is the equivalent of nearly 1,500 x86servers, with up to an 85% smaller footprint, and up to 85% lowerenergy costs -- it can consolidate x86 software licenses at upto a 30-to-1 ratio.
So, if you happen to be looking for greater datacenter effienciency or need your organization to more efficiently share and parse out precious IT resources through virtualization and chargeback scenarios, check out the full lowdown on the z10 here.
I wanted to send out my heartfelt congratulations to the winners of this year's Ryder Cup, which ended yesterday with a handshake between Jim Furyk and Miguel Angel Jiminez.
Apparently, golf's not too popular a sport in Italy, as I couldn't find coverage one on television here in Milan. So, thank heavens for ESPN mobile, which provided regular updated scores via my Blackberry.
This was the first U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup since 1999 at Brookline, and it was a long time coming.
According to the coverage I've been able to unearth, both teams turned in some remarkable performances, including newcomer Anthony Kim, who seems to have put Sergio Garcia through the ringer yesterday.
While the U.S. was out winning on the golf course, ZDNet's Tom Steinert-Threlkeld blogged about the art of video advertising online, featuring none other than the IBM "Art of the Sale" series of videos touting IBM mainframe computers.
If you've not yet seen the video, I'd urge you to go to YouTube and see for yourself.
But, the entire series is pretty funny and definitely worth checking out.
And if you remember nothing else, remember this: It's just like a barn.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  mainframe system_z server_sales server_migration server_consolidation idc utilization 4,918 Views
It's been that kind of a day and that kind of a week, which is why I'm blogging after 6 my time on a Friday.
Let me now hold the big "L," for loser, above my forehead, but when you find yourself stuck on the phone for most of the day, on conference calls, it's kind of difficult to sit down and blog.
That said, there were some productive parts to my day. For one, I shared some insights around legal issues and social media with my wider team, and boy are there plenty of them.
I also had some good discussions on some key projects I've been involved with, and as well, some good catch up time with individual team members with whom I hadn't spoken much this week.
In the Weekly World News section of my weekly update call, I also shared some news from IDC about server sales being down 25% year over year.
On a related note, IBM announced a new Server Consolidation and Migration Services offering yesterday to help companies migrate from Sun and HP servers to IBM's System z platform, with particular help on the Linux platform.
To date, nearly 2,800 of the 5,000 unique apps available on the System z platform are Linux-based, and Linux accounted for about half of the roughly 1,000 new or updated apps produced for the IBM mainframe in 2008.
So, on System z, Linux 'R Us.
In light of this server sales drop, I would imagine there are many customers out there looking to get more work from less machines, and the System z Linux environment has proven very popular with customers looking to do workload consolidation and server maximization.
This new service is another in a long line of steps IBM has taken to help, and in fact, this past year alone IBM migrated over 150 customers across a variety of industries from competitive systems to IBM mainframes.
You could be next. : )
Check out this demo of the new migration services offering to learn more.
As for my own self, it's just about that time, so have yourself a very merry weekend.