Mainframe servers: not just for big business

Think mainframe computing and you tend to think governments and large corporations, but a new mainframe server from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) aims to bring the benefits of mainframe down-market to mid-sized companies and emerging markets.

IBM’s new zEnterprise 114 is the mid-market version of the vendor’s IBM zEnterprise System, which launched in July for governments and large corporations, such as banks and insurance companies.

According to IBM, the z114 costs 25 per cent less and offers 25 per cent more performance than its predecessor, the System z10 BC server. With a starting price under $75,000, it’s designed to consolidate workloads from hundreds of z86 servers and has the ability to manage workloads on select System x blades.

“The zEnterprise was the first hybrid platform to allow organizations to leverage the power of a mainframe combined with the ability to manage workloads running on different platforms,” said Yannick Barel, program director for global System Z sales with IBM Corp. “We’ve seen double-digit growth in the last year driven by traditional mainframe clients, and an acceleration of new clients moving to the platform.”

The z114 brings that hybrid capability to the mid-market, and is aimed as customers such as second-tier banks, retailers and other mid-sized companies with the need to consolidate workloads across different systems and manage a server farm, said Barel. The offering launches in September and will be sold through IBM’s channel partners.

“We’ve been driving channel enablement efforts and teaming with our solution providers around the launch,” said Barel. “(The z114) allows our solution providers and system integrators to accelerate their ability to fulfill the needs of their customers for business transformation. Not only performance, but the ability to provision a system in a way that will be faster, safer and cheaper.”

Barel said IBM is already seeing significant interest from the channel, particularly around the hybrid model for running different workloads. He added enhanced support for blades running Linux and Windows is coming soon.

Through IBM Global Financing, the vendor is offering financing options to clients looking to upgrade from an existing IBM system or those currently running select HP or Oracle servers.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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