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Newest Low Cost IT and Cloud Computing Option
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By Alan Radding, Research Director, Independent Assessment
Republished from Business Finance Magazine's wiredFINANCE blog, August 1, 2013
Can a new mainframe computer be the best answer for your organization’s computing needs? Since the introduction in July of IBM’s newest mainframe, with a base starting price of $75,000, you could end up with computing capabilities for less than you are paying for the Intel-based systems you probably are using now. Less even than you can get in the cloud.
By tallying the numbers around the new machine, industry analysts calculate that you can use it to deploy virtual open source Linux servers for as little as $1 per day. With Amazon Web Services offering to run cloud-based instances of Linux applications for about a dime per hour, it doesn’t take many hours before a buck-a-day looks pretty good.
Independent IT industry analyst Joe Clabby puts it this way: “With low cost hardware combined with a variety of industry solutions, as well as with advanced management facilities and a shared-everything [no-fail] design, the mainframe represents one of the most efficient platforms in the market for Linux and cloud consolidation.” He estimates that organizations could lower their total cost of ownership by more than 50% over a five year period by switching to the new mainframe.
IBM, however, isn’t being coy about its intentions to discount this machine. The initial announcement touted a new Linux-only based version of the zBC12, the Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) as coming with a steep discount. The ELS includes hardware, the z/VM Hypervisor, and three years of maintenance at a deeply discounted packaged price. Besides over 3,000 Linux applications it includes two new capabilities that should be of particular interest, ELS for Analytics and Cloud-Ready for Linux on System z, each of which will speed the organization’s ability to deploy data analytics or capitalize on cloud computing.
The primary use for this machine is to consolidate all the other systems you have been deploying and supporting at no trivial expense in one box that is efficient to manage, rock solid secure, and highly available. Through virtualization, you could run hundreds of virtualized Linux servers on the machine.
That is exactly what ABK Systeme GmbH, the manufacturer of the business payment platform E.F.I.S (Euro Finance Information-System), the leading platform in the euro area, recently did: “We chose to consolidate our business systems onto the zBC12 –all of our servers from Intel to Sun—in order to bring our development and production to a new level,” said Armin Gerhardt, CEO. The new machine allows the company to run client work on several systems simultaneously and securely in order to keep projects moving forward while ensuring that it is in compliance with all the newest regulations. “What convinced us,” he added, “was the ability the zBC12 had to react quickly, to implement new requirements rapidly and, above all, use tools that are common.” More than 100 banks in Germany and other countries use the ABK business payment platform, primarily within the SWIFT and RTGSplus environments.
The new mainframe also is ideal for data analytics. It can be integrated with IBM’s fast, in-memory DB2 Analytics Accelerator, to perform business analytics workloads with10x better price performance and 14% lower total cost of acquisition than the closest competitor, according to IBM.
Mainframes are no longer what you thought they were. And the full costs of comparably configured competing products are no longer cheap. It’s time to take a look at the newest mainframe, the zBC12, run the numbers for yourself, consider what you can do with it, and decide which provides the best value for the money.
Alan Radding is a freelance professional writer and analyst specializing in business and technology. He writes for leading publications, research and consulting firms, and product and service companies. He is the Research Director at Independent Assessment and publishes two blogs, DancingDinosaur for data center managers and BottomlineIT, for CIOs.