IBM Ships 1000th zSeries

IBM Corp. said last week it had shipped its 1000thzSeries Mainframe, suggesting a revival of interest in the venerable platform.The zSeries mainframe launched in December 2000.

Pete McCaffrey, IBM’s program director for zSeries sayshis company is proud of its accomplishment. “In nine short months we achievedthis milestone,” he says. McCaffrey believes that the z900 server has beatenIBM’s historical rates of mainframe sales.

Boscov’s Department Stores Inc. purchased the 1000thmainframe to consolidate its Web operations. Currently, the company uses IntelCorp. servers for its web infrastructure and will move up to 44 servers on to amainframe partitions running Linux. The mainframe will host applications suchas the Websphere application server and database servers. According to IBM,Boscov’s is the largest family-owned department store in the United States.

McCaffrey says the Boscov’s deployment convenientlydemonstrates two new ways IBM is pushing the zSeries: server consolidation andLinux. IBM has aggressively pitched the mainframe as a tool for moving severaldiscrete servers onto a single machine with partitions for each application, asa way of lowering total cost of ownership. In addition, the introduction andsupport for Linux on the mainframe widens the range of applications the mainframecan run.

While Microsoft Corp. and others have deridedmainframes as “islands of automation”, McCaffrey believes that the criticismdoes not reflect the current state of mainframe technology. “Most of what we’redoing is in mixed environments,” he says. IBM has worked to make the zSeriescompatible with the majority of enterprise technologies.

Last year, IBM relaunched its entire server line,renaming the 390 series of mainframes the zSeries. Although the servers fitinto the same market niche and run a similar operating system, McCaffrey isquick to note more than the name has changed. “We redesigned the zSeries fromthe ground up,” he says. –ChristopherMcConnell