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Mainframe system z9 zIIP to launch this year

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When the mainframe first began to be used in business it quickly became the platform on which many business applications were run. It has managed to maintain its place at the heart of mission critical systems and last week's announcement of new developments by IBM will ensure that not only will the System z9 platform maintain its central role, but it should also bring major new workloads to the system.

At the core of the announcement is a new mainframe speciality engine, the System z9 Integrated Information Processor (to be known as zIIP), designed to run certain key database workloads. zIIP is the third such specialty engine on the mainframe and follows on from the zAAP processor that handles Java workloads. Customers making use of zIIP processors free up capacity in their System z9's general computing resources by effectively pushing eligible database oriented workloads (such as business intelligence, ERP and CRM) onto the dedicated zIIP engines instead of running on the main System z9 processors.

While each zIIP engine needs to be purchased in addition to the System z9 processors, IBM has chosen not to impose any software charges on zIIP capacity. This licensing decision should save customers a sizeable amount of money compared with the standard licensing models operating on the mainframe today. In addition, it is expected that the use of zIIP engines will also considerably enhance the performance of business applications, while ensuring costs are controlled.

zIIP, like previous speciality engines (zAAP for Java workloads) utilises the System z9 operating system, z/OS, to direct workloads between the general processor and the zIIP. zIIP has been built to allow programs without the need for direct changes to applications. It is expected that IBM DB2 for z/OS version 8 (available now) will be the first IBM software fully capable of exploiting zIIP (due later in 2006). In particular, it is expected that workloads using select query processing (e.g. BI, ERP or CRM network-connected applications and business intelligence applications) utilising the DB2 star-schema parallel query capabilities along with specific functions of DB2 utilities that perform index maintenance structures, will benefit the most.

There is every likelihood that zIIP will be at least as successful in attracting customers as has been its predecessors zAAP and IFL. It is almost certain that every organisation seeking to optimise the efficiency of DB2 applications running on z9 will make use of zIIP. Equally, the economic and processing advantages of hosting business critical DB2 workloads on the System z9 will receive a major boost to add to the undeniable security benefits associated with System z9 operations. These advantages could well combine to attract significant new DB2 workloads to the System z9 mainframe. Indeed, major DB2 data warehousing projects may once again find the mainframe System z9 plus zIIP engines to be an ideal host.

The System z9 platform coupled with DB2 is an impressively secure, highly scalable and exceedingly robust platform that will ensure the mainframe continues to be the heart of many essential business operations. And, with the inclusion of zIIP, zAAP and IFL speciality offload engines, will succeed in attracting new workloads to the heart of the IT and business enterprise where they can be securely and effectively managed.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

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