IBM spells out mainframe strategy

IBM spells out mainframe strategy

IBM has laid out a new road map for its mainframe computing platform, which over the next year will include adoption of the Common Information Model (CIM) standard allowing different systems to exchange information.

Marketing manager for the IBM zSeries mainframe, David Mastrobattista, said the goal was to extend the capabilities of the mainframe in a heterogeneous enterprise environment.

Although IBM's announcement focused on the company's overall direction, it did offer some product news. In particular, IBM said it planned to develop a 64-bit version of its z/Transaction Processing Facility on Linux, a mainframe operating system now used in the travel, finance and public-sector markets. The move to Linux and 64-bit, which should be available by the third quarter of next year, would roughly double transaction processing to 25,000 transactions per second.

CIM is a standards effort that has been undertaken by Distributed Management Task Force. The task force is a broad vendor consortium that includes IBM as well as Dell, HP, Sun and Intel.

The road map announced envisions the spread of mainframe capabilities throughout an enterprise. Those capabilities include IBM's Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS), a clustering technology for dynamically managing and mirroring critical storage, processor and network resources and for extending the technology to the Linux environment. Ultimately, IBM wants to make it possible for other platforms to use GDPS capabilities.

One zSeries user, Paul Mercurio, the senior vic- president and CIO at Mobil Travel Guide, was unfamiliar with the plan details, but said IBM's overall goal appeared to make sense.

He thought that it was inevitable that if the mainframe was going to survive as a platform, it must be part of an overall environment. Mainframes could not handle a lot of work dependably, and that's why people bought them.

Mercurio, who is running Linux on his zSeries, said many companies had plans to migrate to an open software environment, even if it was running on a mainframe.

Analyst at Illuminata, Gordon Haff, said the message IBMwas trying to send was that the mainframe was still best at doing certain types of things.

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