IBM pitches mainframes at SMEs

IBM is keen to push its new breed of mainframe into the small and medium sized enterprises as it launches a new security software application to support its Z9 mainframe.

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IBM is keen to push its new breed of mainframe into the small and medium sized enterprises as it launches a new security software application to support its Z9 mainframe.

The company created the new version of the ZSecure application with technology from its acquisition last December of Consul Risk Management.

That purchase was part of IBM's strategy to spend $100m (£50m) simplifying its mainframe platform by 2011, and it hopes to persuade businesses to buy its System Z9 mainframe computers instead of high-end servers. IBM sells both an enterprise version of the Z9 and an SME version.

Jim Stallings, general manager System Z at IBM's systems and technology group, said: "The biggest reason customers are drawn to the mainframe, a trend we've seen for more than 10 years now, is power. Servers running on the faster chips and greater numbers of chips draw an enormous amount of power, and our smaller customers can't get that power. I'm talking about basic electricity."

The streamlined architecture of the mainframe made it attractive to customers who needed to process large amounts of information, such as financial services firms and hedge funds.

"SMB customers are realising that they cannot afford to change their infrastructure every two years because it's too expensive. The cost comes not so much in the hardware as in training people to administer it," Stallings said. "Our customers came to us and said: 'We want to migrate more work to the mainframe because of the economics'."

Analyst house Gartner recently announced that IBM led the global server market in the first quarter, partly helped by increased sales of System Z technology.

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