Tuesday, 28 August 2012 16:40

IBM launches 'most secure' zEC12 - the billion dollar mainframe


IBM's zEC12 is the latest generation of the mainframe family that has been at the heart of enterprise computing for almost half a century.

IBM has invested more than $1 billion in R&D to produce the zEnterprise EC12, which company officials say is the most powerful and technologically advanced member of the z family, as well as being one of the most secure enterprise systems ever.

It is the only commercial server to achieve Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification, they said.

Data is protected at rest and in-flight, partly through the use of the Crypto Express4S tamper-resistant cryptographic co-processor developed by IBM.

Applications include handling "high quality digital signatures" as required by public sector initiatives such as passports, national ID cards and online legal proceedings.

Other features include internal Flash Express memory technology to improve the performance of data-intensive applications and to better handle peak loads, transactional memory technology (to improve performance where concurrent operations are performed on a shared set of data), and provision for overhead power and cabling (eliminating the need for a raised floor).

The zEC12 is said to be suited for a wide variety of workloads, and delivers 25% more performance per core and 50% greater total system capacity than its predecessor.

Company officials claim "thousands" of distributed systems can be consolidated onto a zEC12, for example in a private cloud environment.

Analytic workloads are said to enjoy a 30% performance improvement, and the zEC12 can be used with the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator to speed complex business and operational analytics.

The zEC12 is also 'self aware' in that it runs IBM's zAware software to analyse its own system messages to identify unusual system behaviour and minimise its impact.

"We continue to drive innovation on System z, allowing a broader set of clients to apply its leadership capabilities in security and resiliency to the current demands of their business, be they from analytics, cloud or mobile computing," said Doug Balog, general manager IBM System z.

"Our end-to-end design approach for smarter computing - from processors to systems to software optimisation - is targeted to handle complicated business challenges associated with managing, protecting and analysing a client's most critical information. It's what makes the mainframe the ultimate enterprise system."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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