IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has shipped the first two generally available IBM zEnterprise 196 mainframe systems to Swiss Re, one of the world's largest reinsurers.
The zEnterprise 196, which was announced on July 22 and became generally available on September 10, 2010, has already been selected by a range of financial services companies, retailers and manufacturers around the world, including in the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Japan, Brazil and Canada.
The zEnterprise System represents one of the most significant updates in nearly 50 years of IBM mainframes, incorporating new technology that enables it to manage workloads running across System z, and select POWER7 and System x servers.
IBM mainframe servers have long been a computing cornerstone for large banks, insurance companies, governments and others with a need for world-class reliability, security and ability to process huge volumes of transactions. Now, with its ability to manage other IBM Power and System x servers, the IBM zEnterprise System is attacking an urgent need for more efficiency in data centers beset by information silos and energy waste.
Swiss Re was founded in Zurich 147 years ago and operates in more than 20 countries. It is one of the world's largest and most diversified reinsurers, providing its clients with financially sound risk transfer solutions in all lines of business.
The two new zEnterprise 196's are expected to help Swiss Re to an increased flexibility and transparency in its accounting systems, and to achieve higher data volume processing through a more detailed calculation of the pricing allocations.
Each new zEnterprise 196 is fully configured with 96 processors, including speciality processors for running Linux as well as processors for Java and data specific workloads. The system also include the maximum three terabytes of memory.
"The overall performance increase of the z196 is extremely impressive," said Markus Schmid, Swiss Re CIO. "However, the key benefit of the zEnterprise System will be the ability to integrate and manage workloads running on multiple servers as multiple servers as a single system."
The zEnterprise 196
The IBM zEnterprise System represents an investment of more than $1.5 billion in IBM research and development, as well as more than three years of collaboration with some of IBM's top clients around the world.
From a performance standpoint, the zEnterprise System is the most powerful IBM system ever. The core server in the zEnterprise System -- called zEnterprise 196 -- contains 96 of the world's fastest, most powerful microprocessors running at 5.2Ghz, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.
This new IBM microprocessor technology has new software to optimize performance of data-heavy workloads, including up to a 60% improvement in data intensive(1) and Java workloads(2). Increased levels of system performance in turn increases software performance, which can reduce software license costs.
The new system offers 60% more capacity than its predecessor, the System z10, and uses about the same amount of electricity. For clients selecting Linux on System z, a single virtualized server can be created and deployed for less than $1 per day.(3) It costs 74% less to run comparative Oracle workloads on the zEnterprise 196 compared to x86 systems.(4)
Energy efficiencies were achieved through advances in microprocessor design, 45nm silicon technology, more efficient power conversion and distribution, as well as advanced sensors and cooling control firmware that monitors and makes adjustments based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels and even air density.
A water cooling option is also available for the z196 that can reduce energy use by up to 12%.5 In a normal data center environment, water cooling reduces the required system air flow by more than 20%, while removing more than 70% of the system air heat load. This can be particularly beneficial for data centers with hot spots, or limited power and cooling capacity. Water cooling on the z196 is designed to connect directly to typical data center chilled water systems and does not require an external water conditioning unit.
"The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a bold move to fundamentally change how data centers are managed," said Tom Rosamilia, General Manager, IBM System z and Power. "The new mainframe is the fastest enterprise server in the world and represents a giant leap forward in performance. Later this year we will start to ship capabilities that extend mainframe governance to POWER7 and System x blades integrated into the zEnterprise System architecture."