March 21, 2007 12:00 ET

IBM Mainframe and Linux Can Lower Customer Costs, Independent Analyst Writes

Independent Research Firm Outlines Mainframe's "Strength of Virtualization Stack, Security, and Overall Systems Reliability"

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 21, 2007 -- The IBM (NYSE: IBM) System z mainframe is a powerful platform for consolidating distributed UNIX/Linux applications and offers users "potential cost savings, productivity gains and improved utilization rates through capabilities such as virtualization and security and systems management," according to IT analyst Forrester.

In a new report titled, "Why Choose Linux on the Mainframe," Forrester analyst Brad Day examined the cost, human resources, and capacity utilization issues that customers need to address in their distributed Linux or Unix computing infrastructures.

The report states that the mainframe can provide customers with many clear benefits as the "cost -- driven by new Linux OS images, new applications, new staffing requirements, and an ever-increasing user base -- of deploying new physical x86 servers escalates." To make this easier and help attract first-time customers, IBM introduced a new System z Business Class Mainframe, offering mainframe power and capacity at a lower cost.

"As of Q2 2006, IBM claimed some very impressive market statistics relative to Linux workload traction on System z. And now, with a much more aggressively priced System z9 Business Class 'midframe' offering ... weighing in at a similar price band to an equivalent midrange native Unix and/or Linux/RISC-based server alternative, we expect IBM to start closing footprint for new System z placement with Linux consolidation as a core reason," the report states.

Virtualization, Utilization, and Manageability

In the past twelve months, IBM has made several news announcements in the areas of virtualization, utilization and manageability. In October 2006, IBM announced a $100 million company-wide effort to make the IBM System z mainframe easier to use for a greater number of computer professionals by 2011. New software enhancements designed to enable professionals to more easily program, manage and administer a mainframe system -- as well as increasingly automate the development and deployment of applications for the mainframe environment -- were recently announced as part of this initiative.

In addition to eased manageability, IBM's System z9 mainframe offers a high utilization rate with systems typically operating at 80 to 100 percent capacity. Combined with the platform's ability to virtualize workloads through z/VM, these capabilities can help make it more cost efficient than competing platforms.

The latest z/VM release helps clients prepare for data center growth by offering support for larger memory configurations which are designed to help clients eliminate the need to spread large virtual-machine based workloads across multiple copies of z/VM. The newest version of z/VM was launched in February, following three consecutive quarters of mainframe revenue growth. Forrester described z/VM as "an ideal platform for consolidating both applications and data and Unix/Linux workloads that are currently deployed on multiple servers onto a single physical mainframe, while maintaining the same number of distinct logical server images."

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