IBM makes its zEnterprise 196 mainframe friendlier

The company continues to roll out new capabilities for its latest mainframe

IBM's latest mainframe, the zEnterprise 196, was released last summer as a cross-platform management system that could work in mixed processor and operating system environments. In pursuit of that goal, the company continues to roll out new components.

IBM this week announced the DataPower XI50z, which is the blade version of IBM's DataPower appliance. This blade has been designed to work with the zBX blade system, which was specifically built for the zEnterprise.

David Gelardi, vice president of IBM's systems & technology sales support, said the DataPower blade is designed for users who are implementing WebSphere application environments on the mainframe. It will provide workload optimized integration for users who might, for instance, have elements of the application running on Power Blades as well the zOS mainframe operating system.

DataPower's path to the mainframe began for IBM in 2005 when it acquired DataPower Technology Inc., which made a technology to optimize business transactions in SOA environments.

Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, said that for years IBM's approach emphasized purpose-built computing, which is the idea that certain kinds of workloads and applications were more appropriate to run on certain kinds of hardware.

But now, "we are seeing IBM coming out with more of a hybrid approach to enterprise computing, where they recognize that certain kinds of systems can work very well together," said King. "And I think this new DataPower is just the latest iteration of that."

IBM announced a number of other products along with DataPower, including what it calls IBM Storwize Rapid Application Storage (RAS), which creates an integrated offering around Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager. It combines with the IBM Storwize V7000 mid-range storage system.

For networking, IBM is releasing a new switch from Blade Network Technologies, a firm it acquired in October. It includes a new top-of-rack Ethernet switch that can reach 40Gbit/sec.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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