IBM pins hope on new mainframes

IBM today [22/7] launched a new family of mainframe computers, which it hopes will reverse or at least halt a decline in sales that saw its second quarter mainframe revenue fall 24 per cent year on year.

The zEnterprise mainframe is designed to provide more power and energy efficiency than its predecessor, the system z series, running up to 60 per cent faster depending on workloads and underlying operating system.

IBM says it can reduce data centre labour costs by up to 70 per cent by automatically managing processing workloads across different systems from a central point.

IBM has more than 90 per cent of the global mainframe market since its acquisition of rival PSI in 2008, but most new software is being written for x86 servers leaving mainframe vendors with a shrinking opportunity.

The company’s market dominance is generally seen as bad news for customers facing vendor lock-in, and many are keen to avoid being over charged for proprietary software and maintenance contracts by switching to x86 based Wintel servers where a larger number of hardware makers supporting open software applications compete on a more level playing field.

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