IBM Extends Modern Mainframe Capabilities With the zBC12

IBM is now extending the capabilities of the modern mainframe to organizations of all sizes with the introduction of the IBM zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12).
The zBC12 offers a proven hybrid-computing design to help manage and integrate workloads on multiple architectures within a single system. It provides an optimized infrastructure that’s integrated, agile, trusted and secure – an infrastructure that allows organizations to quickly and cost-effectively embrace new cloud, analytics and mobile opportunities.
The zBC12 offers many upgrades:

  • Powered by microprocessors running at 4.2 GHz
  • Provides up to a 36% boost in per-core capacity
  • 58% increase in total system capacity for z/OS
  • Up to a 62% increase in total capacity
  • Offers up to 156 capacity settings
  • 20% improvement over the z114 and IBM System z10 BC (z10BC)

The zBC12 is available in two models:
The H06: A single central processor complex (CPC) drawer model
The H13: A CPC two-drawer model that offers additional flexibility for I/O and coupling expansion, specialty engine scalability and memory scalability up to 496 GB
[title size = 3]Data Developments[/title]
IBM zEnterprise Data Compression (zEDC)

  • Offers an industry-standard compression for cross-platform data distribution
  • Disk savings by allowing better utilization of storage capacity

Shared Memory Communications: Remote Direct Memory Access (SMC-R)

  • Optimizes server-to-server communications by helping to reduce latency and CPU resource consumption over traditional TCP/IP communications
  • Any TCP sockets-based workloads can seamlessly use SMC-R without requiring any application changes

Data analytics solutions on the zBC12 include the IBM Smart Analytics System and the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator – both of which are designed to enable organizations to efficiently store, manage, retrieve and analyze vast amounts of data for business insight.
[title size = 3]Solid Security[/title]
Cryptography is one basic technology that helps protect sensitive data. The zBC12 can help organizations come into compliance with various industry standards that facilitate the environment of enterprise-security policies that govern data privacy.
The zBC12 is designed to meet the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ (EAL5+) certification for security of logical partitions, helping to ensure the isolation of sensitive data and business transactions. The zBC12 offers high-speed cryptography that is built into each processor core.
[title size = 3]Cloud Capabilities[/title]
With z/OS, organizations can seamlessly run multiple disparate workloads concurrently with different service levels. With zBC12, Linux environments can expect a 36% performance boost per Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processor. The new IBM z/VM 6.3 provides improved economies of scale with support for 1 TB of real memory and more efficient utilization of CPU hardware resources.
For more information regarding mainframe capabilities or other TxMQ pillars of expertise, contact Miles Roty at (716) 636-0070 ext 228 or [email protected].

zEnterprise vs Intel Server Farms

I’m reposting an interesting blog that was shared with us from a Partner organization. Please read and enjoy!
How many Intel x86 servers do you need to match the performance of a zEnterprise and at what cost for a given workload? That is the central question every IT manager has to answer.
It is a question that deserves some thought and analysis. Yet often IT managers jump to their decision based on series of gut assumptions that on close analysis are wrong. And the resulting decision more often than not is for the Intel server although an honest assessment of the data in many instances should point the other way. DancingDinosaur has periodically looks at comparative assessments done by IBM. You can find a previous one, lessons from Eagle studies, here.
The first assumption is that the Intel server is cheaper. But is it? IBM benchmarked a database workload on SQL Server running on Intel x86 and compared it to DB2 on z/OS.  To support 23,000 users, the Intel system required 128 database cores on four HP servers.  The hardware cost $0.34 million and the software cost $1.64 million for a 3-year TCA of $1.98 million. The DB2 system required just 5 cores at a hardware/software combined 3-year TCA of $1.4 million
What should have killed the Intel deal was the software cost, which has to be licensed based on the number of cores. Sure, the commodity hardware was cheap, but the cost of the database licensing drove up the Intel cost. Do IT managers wonder why they need so many Intel cores to support the same number of users they can support with far fewer z cores? Obviously many don’t.
Another area many IT managers overlook is I/O performance and its associated costs. This becomes particularly important as an organization deploys virtual machines.  Increasing the I/O demand on an Intel system uses more of the x86 core for I/O processing, effectively reducing the number of virtual machines that can be deployed per server and raising hardware costs.
The zEnterprise handles I/O differently. It provides 4-16 dedicated system assist processors for the offloading of I/O requests and an I/O subsystem bus speed of 8 GBps.
The z also does well with z/VM for Linux guest workloads. In this case IBM tested three OLTP database production workloads (4 server nodes per cluster), each supporting 6,000 trans/sec, Oracle Enterprise Edition, and Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) running on 12 HP DL580 servers (192 cores). This was compared to three Oracle RAC clusters of 4 nodes per cluster with each node as a Linux guest under z/VM . The zEC12 had 27 IFLs. Here the Oracle HP system cost $13.2 million, about twice as much as on the zEC12, $5.7 million. Again, the biggest cost savings came from the need for fewer Oracle licenses due to fewer cores.
The z also does beats Intel servers when running mixed high- and low- priority workloads on the same box. In one example, IBM compared high priority online banking transaction workloads with low priority discretionary workloads.  The workloads running across 3 Intel servers with 40 cores each (120 cores total) cost $13.7 million compared to z/VM on an zEC12 running 32 IFLs, which cost $5.77 million (58% less).
Another comparison demonstrates that core proliferation between Intel and the z is the killer. One large workload test required sixteen 32-way HP Superdome App. Production/Dev/ Test servers and eight 48-way HP Superdome DB Production/Dev/Test for a total of 896 cores. The 5-year TCA came to $180 million. The comparable workload running on a zEC12 41-way production/dev/test system used 41 general purpose processors (38,270 MIPS) with a 5-year TCA of $111 million.
When you look at the things a z can do to keep concurrent operations running that Intel cannot you’d hope non-mainframe IT managers might start to worry. For example, the z handles core sparing transparently; Intel must bring the server down.  The z handles microcode updates while running; Intel can update OS-level drivers but not firmware drivers. Similarly, the z handles memory and bus adapter replacements while running; Intel servers must be brought down to replace either.
Not sure what it will take for the current generation of IT managers to look beyond Intel. Maybe a new business class version of the zEC12 at a stunningly low price. You tell me.
You can see the original posting here.