IBM is upping its game in enterprise analytics with the newly announced zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server, which the company claims is the result of some $1 billion in research and development efforts.
With a 5.5 GHz six-core processor, 3TB of memory, and 101 cores, zEnterprise EC12 supposedly boasts significantly better performance than its zEnterprise predecessor. IBM claims the new system can deliver a 30 percent performance boost to analytic workloads, complemented by support for the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator, which incorporates the Netezza data warehouse appliance. The server also includes baked-in virtualization capabilities for any organization that wants to use it as a foundation for a private cloud environment.
IBM also claims that the zEnterprise EC12 is its first mainframe to include internal solid state technology with Flash Express, designed for improved availability during periods of high system activity, and thus useful for data-intensive applications and workloads.
On top of that, IBM has integrated more analytics technology from its research division into the server, including a diagnostics application called IBM zAware. The latter detects patterns in internal system messages to determine any deviations from the norm.
On the security front, zEnterprise EC12 includes a cryptographic co-processor (IBM claims it’s tamper-resistant) known as Crypto Express4S for transactions and sensitive data. It can be customized to support security measure such as digital signatures.
“We continue to drive innovation on System z, allowing a broader set of clients to apply its leadership capabilities in security and resiliency to the current demands of their business, be they from analytics, cloud or mobile computing,” Doug Balog, general manager IBM System z, wrote in an Aug. 28 statement.
IBM’s second-quarter 2012 earnings included a 13 percent rise in business-analytics revenue in the first half of 2012. Cloud-related revenue also rose, despite a decline in overall services revenue. Those results suggest that analytics and the cloud are gaining strength as revenue-drivers, despite softness in some traditional lines of business.
IBM’s recent focus on analytics includes the release of tools such as the Analytical Decision Management platform, designed to deliver insights to business workers in a matter of seconds; in addition, it integrates social-networking data into its larger predictive models.
IBM’s emphasis on analytics and the cloud isn’t happening in a vacuum; competitors such as SAP and Oracle have been pushing aggressively into both areas.