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Enterprise Cloud System is IBM’s First Converged Mainframe Offering

Illustration by Spooky Pooka/Début Art

Linux* on System z* is hot. As of Q4 2013, 38 percent of IBM mainframe clients have IFLs installed and 78 of the top 100 have IFLs installed. Those figures represent a 31 percent growth in installed MIPs and IFLs.

To take advantage of this trend, IBM announced the Enterprise Cloud System on April 8. The system offers clients a converged pre-integrated stack of System z hardware, IBM storage and cloud and virtualization software in one package. Basically, it’s a cloud in a box, providing everything clients need to build private and hybrid cloud infrastructures with Linux on System z.

The new system dovetails nicely with another recent announcement, IBM Wave for z/VM*. This easy-to-use interface and management toolset is designed to ease the transition to the mainframe for Linux clients coming from a VMware environment who want to take advantage of mainframe qualities of service for cloud computing.

The Business Benefits

IBM recognizes that clients looking to build private and hybrid cloud infrastructures want the high quality of service and scalability offered by System z but are challenged to get going quickly and at low cost. The Enterprise Cloud System answers all of these concerns, and what’s more—it can be as low as half the price of public cloud alternatives.

“As the industry gets comfortable with cloud, companies are moving mission-critical workloads to it,” says Jose Castano, director of System z Growth Initiatives. “As a result, clients are not only focusing on economics, but are also demanding higher levels of security, resilience and availability.”

The Enterprise Cloud System is available on the zEnterprise* Enterprise Class 12 and zEnterprise Business Class 12 systems. Storage options include the IBM DS8870* or Storwize* V7000. Software on the converged system includes z/VM, IBM Wave, IBM Cloud Management Suite and additional Tivoli* software.

A pre-installed cloud management software stack, built on OpenStack standards, helps deliver advanced cloud capabilities such as orchestration, provisioning and monitoring.

The Enterprise Cloud System offering is targeted at cloud service providers (CSPs) and managed service providers (MSPs) running Linux on x86 or other platforms, as well as corporate clients looking to build out their in-house private clouds. The goal is to bring new clients and CSPs on board the mainframe by exploiting both the leading cloud capabilities and competitive economics the platform has to offer. Simplified pricing and a flexible way to add capacity to the system help accommodate high-pace growth and cash-flow driven business models.

“We want to drive the time and cost of deployment down as much as possible so that clients can start to enjoy the benefits of the mainframe as soon as possible,” Castano says.

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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