|The new z10 mainframe is designed to save money on energy and better handle the flood of Internet information. (Feature Photo Service)|
SAN FRANCISCO - IBM Corp. rolls out a new mainframe computer today that boasts a 50 percent performance boost and dramatically lower energy costs than its predecessor.
The System z10, starting at about $1 million, comes as IBM focuses on lowering the price for running its storied line of data-crunching workhorses.
IBM said it designed the new machine to help companies and government agencies that rely on mainframes save money on energy bills and better handle a flood of Internet information.
The company spent five years and $1.5 billion developing the new mainframe, underscoring its commitment to the long-term viability of the mainframe and its efforts to continue adapting the decades-old product line to the Internet age.
For years, some IT experts have predicted the demise of the mainframe, but IBM says mainframe revenue rose in five of its last seven quarters, thanks in part to interest from emerging markets like Brazil, China, India, and Russia.
IBM incorporated a number of upgrades to appeal to cost-conscious companies looking to consolidate their data centers.
The z10's capacity is equivalent to 1,500 servers based on the popular x86 design, IBM says, though it has 85 percent lower energy costs and takes up 85 percent less space than the batch of x86 servers.
The new machines also boast more processing horsepower, using 64 processors compared to the 54 used in its predecessor, the z9.
Those chips are better at multitasking - the new machine is IBM's first mainframe to use so-called quad-core chips, or microprocessors with four computing engines on a single slice of silicon. Adding cores to chips improves their ability to handle multiple tasks at once.
Analysts said IBM's advances in chip technology and software are helping the mainframe stay competitive against lower-cost competitors. But they caution that because of price IBM still faces challenges in luring in new customers.
While the high-end z10 starts at about $1 million, IBM notes it has mid-range mainframes that start around $100,000.