Feeds

The mainframe is back

So it went away, then?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

So much for the "dinosaur" label. Sales of IBM's mainframe, now referred to as the zSeries, are growing at remarkable rate, not experienced since its heyday - indeed if current mainframe growth continues, then the mainframe is emerging like a phoenix from the flames.

In its latest earnings report, IBM showed mainframe revenue growth of 44 per cent, year over year. The mainframe has delivered remarkable performance over the last four quarters to become IBM's largest hardware growth segment. So where's the growth coming from?

According to, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, it comes from the move to On Demand and server consolidation, which is anyway a precursor to implementing any kind of On Demand strategy. Sam should be pleased, given that IBM has invested over $1bn in the zSeries platform and even introduced new models.

However, there can be little doubt that the jewel in the mainframe crown is Linux in combination with the mainframe's architecture, which delivers an unmatched virtualization capability. The Linux contribution is twofold. It provides applications (and after all its applications that sell computers) and it can act as a useful capability for consolidation projects.

All in all, Linux on the mainframe has a lower TCO that Linux on anything else if you take into account the fact that managing Linux on the mainframe is easier and the vitualization capabilities enable a Linux instance to be very resource efficient. As for the virtualization capability itself, it amounts to the virtualization of everything, from CPU and memory partitioning through to the partitioning of storage and network resources.

Apropos of which, IBM recently announced a similar virtualization capability on its pSeries, which now makes it an aggressive competitor in the Unix market. The latest pSeries offerings will probably cause concern amongst the competition. It runs on the Power 5 processor, which offers awesome performance. The early crop of benchmarks indicate that the pSeries is currently well ahead of the competition. The pSeries is beginning to look very much like a Unix mainframe.

All of this has to be very encouraging for IBM. It has spent more than a decade trying to converge its server products and it has now reached the point where its convergence investments are beginning to pay dividends. The dinosaurs have evolved. They have smaller footprints, they seem to be very adaptable and they're proliferating.

© IT-Analysis.com

Related stories

IBM gives Unix servers a Power5 injection
IBM gets hot and spicy
IBM puts new DB2 up for inspection
IBM to assault users with virtualization technology
Happy birthday, Mainframe

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.