Mainframes have been evolving for four plus decades and with the IBM zEnterprise System, have re-established themselves as core processing facilities that contain much more than just legacy business applications. For many years the mainframe has epitomized reliability, availability, security, and scalability. These strengths of the mainframe computing platform are the reasons why enterprises around the world have chosen the mainframe as the deployment platform for mission-critical applications.
Server sprawl, difficult-to-manage Storage Area Network (SAN) islands, and inefficient, fragmented architectures are no longer acceptable. The era of highly distributed, non-centralized computing officially began its end with the February 2008 announcement of the IBM System z10. The System z10's improvements in processing power, performance, flexibility, and scalability were, at the time, unprecedented in the evolution of the mainframe. Perhaps most notably, all of these improvements were realized while making significant improvements in energy efficiency. The term “mainframe,” which was considered out-of-date for a decade, came back in style. In fact, IBM began using it once again in a positive light to describe the System z10.
The System z10 and the consolidation potential, energy efficiency, and architectural simplification it enabled pointed the way toward a new IT model: the New Enterprise Data Center (NEDC).The NEDC, with the System z10 as its foundation, was an evolutionary new model for efficient IT service delivery. The NEDC model was designed to address current operational challenges while maintaining the flexibility to harness emerging technologies and the freedom to drive real business innovation. This was a transformation—information, applications, infrastructure, people, and processes—that helped business achieve rapid deployment of business services accessible from anywhere in the world. The NEDC was an evolutionary model that helped reset the economics of IT and dramatically improved operational efficiency.
Let us fast forward two years and the July 2010 IBM zEnterprise System (z196)announcements. The zEnterprise is a “system of systems” and a first of a kind design that embraces multiple technology platforms including mainframe, Unix, and x86 that is integrated within a centrally managed, unified system. The subsequent July 2011 announcement of the System z114 completed the picture, enabling small to midsize environments to realize the possibility of a new, centralized, hybrid, private cloud computing infrastructure. The IBM zEnterprise System is the foundation for a centralized, high performance, hybrid, cloud computing environment. If the System z10 was evolutionary, zEnterprise is revolutionary. Distributed systems and their applications can now run on an operating system and blade server fit to their purpose, but enjoy the robust, proven management capabilities and tools the mainframe offers. IBM has stated that in their Q4 of 2011, Windows will also be supported on the zBX. Perhaps the Borg were right? In any event, this old IBM commercial appears to be more true than ever. If the era of highly distributed, non-centralized computing officially began its end with the February 2008 announcement of the System z10, the era officially came to a close in July 2011.
Smart, centralized, hybrid cloud computing is a revolutionary model that takes the NEDC too the next level. Its not just about consolidation through virtualization. We can now intelligently address and manage the complexity and inefficiencies in today’s multi-architecture data centers to dramatically improve operational efficiency. A zEnterprise System centered data center extends the strengths and capabilities of the mainframe, such as security, fault tolerance, efficiency, virtualization, and dynamic resource allocation to other systems and workloads running Unix, Windows, or Linux, fundamentally changing the way the 21st century data center can be managed. Its a smarter, revolutionary way to do things that focuses on the data. I like to call it the Smarter Enterprise Data Center or SEDC.
An SEDC is centered on zEnterprise, with a networking infrastructure built on Brocade’s latest cloud optimized high performance storage and data networking platforms such as the DCX 8510 and the MLX,networking hardware. An SEDC enables the end user to take optimal advantage of the zEnterprise’s performance, hybrid computing capabilities, and robust management tools while running on a cloud optimized high performance storage and data network. In the SEDC, Information Technology (IT) should not be considered merely a cost of doing business. IT should align with and compliment the business strategy. To achieve this, organizations must architect flexible and resilient infrastructure designed to anticipate and respond to shifting business requirements. The SEDC, with the IBM zEnterprise System and Brocade cloud optimized networking equipment at its heart, allows for massive scalability and dynamic responsiveness while simultaneously providing an energy-efficient, resilient infrastructure.