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IBM ships next-gen mainframe

Z9 from outer space?

Application security programs and practises

IBM started shipping the new z9 mainframe on Friday, squarely aiming the machines at larger enterprises.

The z9, the cunningly-named ninth generation of the z-series of mainframe, is built specifically with security in mind. It boasts intrusion detection systems, encryption key management and a cryptography accelerator that can perform up to 6,000 SSL handshakes a second.

IBM says companies want mainframes to help them manage complex corporate issues, like protecting customer data, and complying with an increasingly stringent regulatory climate.

"There's a groundswell of interest from businesses and governments around what the new class of mainframes can do," said Erich Clementi, general manager, IBM System z9. "From a technical perspective, the mainframe's deep commitment to Java, Linux, virtualization and SOA are driving adoption."

The machine is capable of a billion transactions every day, IBM boasts, and at the top end, a z9 would come decked out with 54 chips and 18 billion transistors. Expect to pay a cool million dollars for an entry-level version.

Analysts suggest that the z9 will start to have a positive impact on revenue by Q4 this year. Bob Djurdjevic of Phoenix-based Annex Research told Reuters that customers have been putting off buying IBM's mainframes for a while, in anticipation of the new generation machine. ®

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