The truth about the mainframe is not what you think it is. The IBM Z-series and LinuxONE platforms don’t look much like the mainframes of yore. Nevertheless, these machines offer the highest levels of reliability, predictable performance, and linear scalability available on the market. What might surprise you is that the IBM Z-series and LinuxONE platforms also offer one of the best durability stories of any computing architecture available today. In addition, IBM is now making this durability more accessible with new rack configurations suitable for data centers.
Sustainability is a crucial topic for IBM. Marcel Mitran, IBM Fellow and CTO for IBM zSystems and LinuxONE, told us that “reducing data center power consumption is a tangible way to reduce environmental impact, and key architectural benefits allow to distinguish both IBM z16 and LinuxONE for durability., especially when consolidating x86 workloads in the data center. »
LinuxONE Rockhopper 4
IBM’s LinuxONE is, as its name suggests, a Linux-only variant of IBM’s mainframe technology. IBM released its LinuxONE Emperor 4 last September. The new IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper 4, announced on April 4, repackages Emperor 4 technology in a more flexible standard rackmount configuration. It can be deployed in an IBM rack or a customer-supplied rack.
Sustainability comes in many forms, and one of the key metrics is consolidation. The LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 can be equipped with up to 68 IFL processors, each clocked at 4.6 GHz, and can contain up to 16 TB of DRAM. According to IBM, this allows a single Rockhopper 4 system to replace, at a minimum, 36 traditional x86-based servers. This results in a 75% decrease in energy consumption while reducing the physical footprint by 67%. It’s impressive.
IBM equips the system with an HMC environmental dashboard with system-level and partition-level power monitoring to allow IT administrators to measure and control machine load. IBM also offers a TCO and CO2 calculator so you can see the emissions differences between IBM LinuxONE and an equivalent number of x86 servers.
Optimized footprint for the Z16 rack
The IBM Z16, based on IBM’s new 7nm Telum processor, was introduced almost a year ago in a multi-frame configuration. One of the key features of the Telum processor used in the Z16 is its on-chip AI inference accelerator.
Modern analytical workloads increasingly rely on AI inference. Inference is used in everything from fraud detection to speech recognition. Its use cases are seemingly growing daily. IBM’s Telum processor inference engine enables power-efficient inference with predictable latencies for transaction-heavy workloads. For example, IBM demonstrated fraud detection with the Z16 processing 300 billion inference requests per day with just one millisecond of latency.
Bringing this capability directly into the enterprise data center with IBM’s new rack-optimized footprint allows the Z16 to be directly collocated with rack-mounted servers, storage and networking equipment. standard rack. This reduces latency in a distributed processing environment. It also contributes to the larger sustainability story by consolidating power and cooling.
The analyst’s point of view
There is a popular belief among IT people that the mainframe is obsolete. Testing this theory, I asked IBM if they were selling LinuxONE to new customers and not just upgrading existing users. The answer was a resounding “yes”. The consolidation and seamless scalability offered by this class of machine is unmatched.
In an environment where IT sustainability is a core part of nearly every company’s ESG goals, and where we see sustainability metrics written into RFPs, the LinuxONE and Z16 stories are compelling. However, even without durability as a goal, LinuxONE’s nearly 40:1 consolidation ratio to x86-based servers is unbeatable by any other solution.
New rackmount and rack-compatible options only reduce friction for LinuxONE and Z16 customers. Reducing friction is good for IT, allowing IT organizations to focus on the digital transformation business. And nothing handles the AI-driven workloads intrinsic to modern digital transformation better than an IBM LinuxONE system.
Disclosure: Steve McDowell is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analysis firm, which engages or has engaged in research, analysis and advisory services with numerous companies technologies, which may include those mentioned in this article. Mr. McDowell has no ownership interests in the companies mentioned in this article.