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IBM Extends Modern Mainframe Capabilities With the zBC12

Introducing the zBC12

The 2012 launch of IBM zEnterprise EC12 (zEC12) sparked great momentum in the market. IBM is now extending the capabilities of the modern mainframe to organizations of all sizes with the introduction of the IBM zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12). Combined with the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 003 and IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager, 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—allowing organizations to quickly and cost-effectively embrace new cloud, analytics and mobile opportunities.

Announced on July 23, 2013, the zBC12 is powered by microprocessors running at 4.2 GHz. It provides up to a 36 percent boost in per core capacity, up to a 58 percent increase in total system capacity for z/OS and up to a 62 percent increase in total capacity—as compared to its predecessor, the zEnterprise 114 (z114). (All performance metrics are based on IBM internal testing; specific results may vary.)

The zBC12 features up to 13 cores that can be configured as either general-purpose processors or a variety of specialty engines. It offers up to 156 capacity settings, providing the freedom to choose the right capacity setting for one’s needs and the flexibility to scale, on demand, as workload demands increase. This represents a 20 percent improvement over the z114 and IBM System z10 BC (z10BC), offering a pay-as-you-grow approach. It’s available in two models:

  1. A single central processor complex (CPC) drawer model, the H06
  2. A CPC two-drawer model, the H13, which offers additional flexibility for I/O and coupling expansion, specialty engine scalability and memory scalability up to 496 GB

Data Developments

New features of the latest version of z/OS, version 2.1, include IBM zEnterprise Data Compression (zEDC) and Shared Memory Communications—Remote Direct Memory Access (SMC-R). Both features provide data performance benefits and are supported on the zBC12 with new I/O adapter cards—zEDC Express and 10GbE RoCE Express, respectively. zEDC offers an industry standard compression for cross platform data distribution. It also provides disk savings by allowing better utilization of storage capacity. SMC-R optimizes server-to-server communications by helping to reduce latency and CPU resource consumption over using traditional TCP/IP communications. Furthermore, any TCP sockets-based workloads can seamlessly use SMC-R without requiring any application changes.

The zBC12 offers many of the same innovations introduced with the IBM zEC12 in August 2012. The IBM System z Advanced Workload Analysis Reporter (IBM zAware) is a self-learning, firmware-based solution that helps to quickly identify anomalies using z/OS message logs. Flash Express improves response time and throughput compared to disk for morning transitions and can help provide faster, less-disruptive diagnostics.

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. Business analytics are more critical than ever before. Having the right insight allows decision makers, regardless of industry, to act smarter and faster, driving better business outcomes.

Bargav Balakrishnan works in the IBM System z Product Portfolio organization in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., focusing on System z hardware and security product development.

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