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August 10, 2010

The System of Systems

If you're a mainframe professional and you read this blog with some regularity, you likely are not only familiar with the mainframe's storied past, you understand that the platform has a solid future. But on the off chance you need further evidence that the mainframe isn't dead, along comes the "System of Systems."

The IBM zEnterprise System 196 (z196) -- aka, the "System of Systems” -- is a new hardware platform that aims to address the complexities of managing today's multi-architected (and often inefficiently designed) data centers.

The z196 is revolutionary because it allows you to integrate and unify IBM System z, Power Systems and System x resources as one complete system. Imagine an organization with applications running end-to-end on multiple hardware and software platforms. Maybe the customer portal uses WebSphere Application Server on IBM System p AIX, which accesses the customer data stored in DB2 on z/OS. Each layer of connection from one platform to the other adds to the complexity of diagnosing performance and failures at each of these points.

The z196 brings integration to these types of environments, thanks to the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager. This allows you to install, monitor, manage, optimize, diagnose and service resources and workloads from a single point of control. Another key component of the z196 is the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX). This tightly coupled blade system includes a high-speed private network running POWER7 or, eventually, System x blades. (IBM has stated that Windows will be supported, but a timeframe hasn't been given.)