z10: the billion-dollar mainframe

$1.8 billion went into its development

Compared to its predecessor, the z9, the new mainframe has a lot more horsepower. Every box can be fitted with up to 64 cores for running applications, improving processor performance by 50%, according to IBM.

The support for Infiniband also increases internal bandwidth by a factor of two, from 2.7GB/s to 6GB/s.

IBM says the z10 goes hand-in-hand with both green IT and consolidation. A single System z10 is the equivalent of nearly 1,500 distributed servers, according to IBM, with up to an 85% smaller footprint, and 85% lower energy costs.

IBM spent US$1.5 billion (NZ$1.8 billion) and five years on the development of the z10.

"It's still a relevant platform and IBM has done a pretty good job of keeping it that way," says Gartner analyst Adrian O'Connell.

Last year, sales of IBM's mainframe platform fell almost 10%, according to Gartner.

"Sales are usually cyclical. We think it will pick up this year, but we don't see growth at the expense of other platforms," says O'Connell.

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