IBM Targets Small Business with z10 Mainframe

Oct 25, 2008

Aimed at small to mid-sized businesses, the Systems z10 Business Class (BC mainframe is IBM's leaner, cheaper version of the high-end mainframe released in February.

The z10BC is the small to middle business version of the Linux mainframe z10 Enterprise Class (EC) which took over from the Series z9 in February this year. According to IBM the stripped-down model with its quad-core processor, hardware accelerator and cryptographic functions, has much of the same innovative technology as the EC version. Linux developers Red Hat and Novell worked with IBM on the project and both offer special conditions to run their Linux versions on the Systems z10.

The compact Linux delivers capacity equal to 232 x86 servers and prices begin at $100.000 with an end-price, according to configuration, between $250.000 and $500.000, says IBM. Red Hat and Novell are tempting customers with discounts for both versions of Linux.

With the dimensions 0.8 x 2 x 1.8 meters (one cabinet), the “baby” needs 3.5 square meters of service clearance area and weighs 860 KG. At a room temperature of under 28 Celsius, the four I/O decks require together 6250 watts, the mini version 3700 watts. The z10 supports from 4 GB to 120 GB real memory with an option of up to 248 GB planned in June 2009. In comparison, the EC has between 16 and 1520GB RAM and measures 1.5 x 2 x 1.8 meters (two cabinets), fills 5.7 square meters of service space and weighs around 1250KG. The z10EC consumes between 9.700 and 27.500 watts and costs somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million dollars. The performance factor in comparison to single x86 processors lies by 1.5.

A detailed PDF technical overview is available from IBM with the reference number SG24-7632 (around 230 pages), along with a link to a slimmer PDF guide on the product page.

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