Big Iron never dies. Forty-six years after the first IBM mainframe models were introduced, our company is launching a new generation of the machines today in New York City. The zEnterprise series offers the kinds of performance you’d expect: The top-of-the line machine is equipped with 96 powerful processors running at a blazing-fast 5.2Ghz, together capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second. In an era when PC servers run tens of applications simultaneously in virtualization mode, this model can run run more than 100,000. It’s like a computing cloud in a box.
A key element of the launch is IBM Unified Resource Manager, a software innovation built into the systems that integrates a mainframe with Unix and PC blade servers as if they’re a single machine, with all of the security and reliably of the mainframe. We believe that in the not-too-distant future, the modern data center will no longer be a vast array of different types of devices and chunks of software but, instead, will be best understood as a single computing system, encompassing processing, memory, storage, networking, and all of the software and services that go with it. Conceptually and operationally, it will be one large machine. Unified Resource Manager is an important step in that direction.
This isn’t just some fancy technology trick that we’re doing because we can. The world of business computing is in the midst of a profound shift, driven by a convergence of forces. Digital intelligence is being injected into the world’s physical systems through pervasive instrumentation and global interconnectivity. That’s generating an exponential increase in the volume, quality, and speed of data. At the same time, doing business is growing in complexity and the pace of business has quickened. Companies are under intense pressure to respond to the expectations of a new generation of young people raised on the Internet, the rapid emergence of new markets, and intensifying competition.
To deal with all of these developments, enterprises need to become smarter–gathering more and better information, making sense of it, and acting wisely and immediately on what they learn.
The problem is, computing, the world’s most important amplifier of human intelligence, isn’t as smart as it needs to be to handle today’s challenges and opportunities. Data centers cost too much to provision and operate. They’re overly complex, caused, in part, by the fact that even though all the various machines and software programs occupy the same physical space, they aren’t very well integrated with one another. And, finally, they don’t provide businesses with the information and capabilities they need in the form they need it quickly enough. This represents a crisis of IT complexity and inefficiency–and it will only get worse.
What’s required is a better approach to corporate computing. First, because the work of business is rapidly evolving, computing systems must be deployed that fit the new tasks at hand. Second, because new technologies are constantly being invented, systems should be designed to manage all of that diversity and to adapt to changes as they come along. And, lastly, because businesses demand speed and convenience, computing services should be designed and delivered in ways that make them more easily accessible and consumable.
Over its six decades in existence, the computer industry has shown a remarkable ability to innovate and to respond to changes in commerce and society. We’re confident that, with sound principles like these as guides and machines like zEnterprise, today’s challenges will be overcome and the march of progress will continue.