Security First on New IBM Mainframe

The System z9 was three years and $1.2 billion in the making.
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unveiled the latest line of its mainframe computers Tuesday, pressing its case as the leader of the fast-growing server market.

The technology stalwart spent $1.2 billion in the last three years to develop the System z9 mainframe, a machine that it said will help businesses collaborate more efficiently with each other to fend off all known security threats.

IBM said the z9 mainframe has twice the processing power as its predecessor, the T-Rex mainframe, and twice the memory.

Along with the new system, the company introduced a new technology called Virtualization Engine 2.0 that it said would allow customers to use a console to pool, manage and optimize their IT resources across servers, networking gear and storage to increase efficiency.

It also announced a new organization called, a collaboration with a slew of other technology companies aimed at spurring development of blade technology -- now the fastest growing server market. Recent data from research firm IDC showed that IBM grew its blade server revenue by 103% in the first quarter.

IBM partnered with


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in 2002 to create its BladeCenter Alliance of software and hardware partners working toward a de facto industry blade standard. Since then, more than 350 technology and solution partners have become part of BladeCenter Alliance.

Now companies like




Nortel Networks



Cisco Systems

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Brocade Communications Systems




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have teamed up with IBM to form, an "open and collaborative community" that will allow technology vendors to work together to create custom solutions for their clients.

At a presentation in New York Tuesday, IBM senior vice president Bill Zeitler said these steps would allow IBM to serve governments, medical care providers, retailers and financial institutions.

"Infrastructure complexity is one of the key cost-drivers for information technology departments," Zeitler said. "Our solutions can provide efficiency and security for our clients in a way that will give them an immediate return on investment."

IBM has gained share in the server market for 16 quarters in a row now after losing market share in the late 1990s. It expects its new strategy to add to its momentum in the $85 billion systems marketplace.