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IBM's T-REX mainframe just got bigger

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IBM's dinosaur just got bigger with the addition of two new mainframe models to the z990 line.

The z990 - code-named TREX - was released in May in two different flavors - an 8 processor machine and a 16 processor machine. Now IBM is adding a 24 processor box and a 32 processor box to the mix. The z990 now tops out out at 9000 MIPS (million of instructions per second).

Along with the new hardware, IBM has rolled a few bits of added mainframe technology. Big Blue is extending its capacity on demand technology that allows customers to buy extra horsepower if they are running Linux on an IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) engine. Retail customers could, for example, turn on an extra IFL engine during the holiday shopping season. IBM's Linux on the mainframe customers can now also tap into high-end storage systems via Fibre Channel. In addition, IBM has beefed up the Parallel Sysplex tools for mainframe systems to better link data centers over long distances, along with improving the mainframes' crypto functions.

IBM needs to pick up the pace with mainframe sales. Despite trying to make the systems attractive via Linux links and adding new features, the venerable systems had a rough recent quarter. Mainframe sales dropped 7 percent, while Intel and Unix sales rose 10 percent.

To help try and move things along, IBM has decided to grow the mainframe services team. The company, however, picked rather odd wording to get this across.

"IBM is training resources to assist  customers in designing, developing, and deploying a simplified  infrastructure," the company said in a statement.

We've yet to see a properly trained resource, but if IBM brings one by, please let us know.

IBM did use a bit clearer diction in describing the new IBM Systems Architects that will go from top account to top account trying to save the day. They will show customers how to get the most out of their mainframe and even solve some problems at no charge.

If that's enough to tempt you to stick with the mainframe, IBM will cough up a $250,000 credit to users willing to compliment their T-REX with blade servers, select storage systems and WebSphere software. If you weren't locked into IBM yet, the company has $250,000 that says you can be. ®

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