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Friday, 23 July 2010 08:37

IBM releases new supercomputer

Written by Nick Farell

All abuzz for the zEnterprise
IBM has shown off a a new mainframe computer called "zEnterprise," which it said was the most powerful mainframe ever and is more cost-efficient.

The move comes as Biggish Blue seeks to secure its market leadership in mainframes over the likes of HP and Oracle. The big three are targeting corporate data centres, which are using supercomputers as central number crunchers..

IBM said its zEnterprise is 40 percent to 60 percent faster than its predecessor, System z10, but uses about the same amount of electricity. No word on price of the product, but said its price relative to capacity would be lower than for the z10.

Big Blue said that it spent $1.5 billion on research and development for the zEnterprise system in a 4-year project involving over 5,000 of its employees. The core server in the zEnterprise system uses 5.2GHz chips.

Nick Farell

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+3 #1 Naterm 2010-07-23 10:23
You are aware that there is a difference between a mainframe and a supercomputer, right?

A supercomputer is designed for raw floating point performance and generally runs all it's processors in a single system image. Their performance is measured in FLOPS. A serious supercomputer has hundreds to thousands of processor cores (usually x86).

A mainframe, including the new Z from IBM, are meant more for consolidation of thousands of VMs, databases, transaction processing, ect. They have a handful of processors along with in various other processors for different workloads. In the case of IBM's newest, you can attach x86 and POWER7 blades to it for additional performance and flexibility. Mainframe performance is measured in MIPS.
+2 #2 Naterm 2010-07-23 10:26
Oh, and you'll be waiting awhile for a price. IBM never releases prices for it's mainframes. Best guess is that it's serious money, ~$100k, per mainframe engine. The zIIP and zAAP co-processors and additional x86 and POWER7 blades for it are all considerably less expensive.
-1 #3 kebabbert 2010-07-24 10:59
Is the new z11 IBM Mainframe 60% faster than the old z10? That is hilarious. The z10 is dog slow, in terms of CPU performance.

Any modern x86 is 5-10x faster than a Mainframe CPU. You can emulate a IBM Mainframe in software on a laptop, via the software "TurboHercules".
-1 #4 kebabbert 2010-07-24 11:00
The biggest z10 comes with 64 cpus and gives 28.000 MIPS. An PC with eight Intel Nehalem-EX gives 3.200 MIPS under software emulation. But emulation is 5-10x slower than running native code. If you port Mainframe software to x86, then the PC will run the code 5-10x faster, that is: 16.000-32.000 MIPS. Ergo, you need eight intel Nehalem-EX to match one IBM Mainframe with 64 cpus.
-1 #5 kebabbert 2010-07-24 11:01
Also, an independent Linux expert that ported Linux to IBM Mainframes, says that 1 MIPS == 4 MHz 86. That comparison is from 2003, when Pentium4 ruled the earth. A new Nehalem is at least 4 times faster than P4, clock for clock. So, it is safe to say that 1 MIPS == 1 MHz x86. This means that an eight core Nehalem-EX at 2 GHz, has in total: 16.000 Mhz in aggregate Hz. So that would correspond to 16.000 MIPS. Again, we see that you need just a few Intel Nehalem-EX to match a z10 with 64 cpus.
0 #6 kebabbert 2010-07-24 11:01
But, the z10 probably costs more than 10 million. And the z11 is only 60% faster. That is dog slow. When we talk about CPU performance. Just add another few Nehalem-EX and you get more CPU power than a shit load expensive IBM Mainframe. You could actually consolidate several Mainframes on a few Nehalem-EX. Not the other way around. The Nehalem-EX has far more processing power than any Mainframe.
0 #7 blandead 2010-07-24 11:36
you know what would be even more interesting a dual core AMD motherboard with two of their 12 core processors... thats 24 cores @ 2.2ghz at a cheaper price then ur silly nehelam-ex setup. okay nehalem is a little faster clock per clock so lets say @2.2 its just as fast as a 2ghz nehalam either way according to you thats 24 mips for how much cheaper.... 8000$ for 2 intel chips or 2600$ hm.... i wonder what i would do with a faster server and still have 5400$ left over oh i know! wait for a quad CPU motherboard to come out and for 5200$ you can have 48mips or 48 cores. these are just processor pricing. If you're not getting the picture here... well just keep pretending AMD doesn't exist and pay 3x more money for only 1/2 the amount of cores. im sure hyperthreading will work it all out right
0 #8 Naterm 2010-07-25 10:31
First off, the Nehalem-EX doesn't have RAS features like a mainframe. Can you 'RAID' the memory on a Nehalem-EX? Nope, sure can't. Not to mention that the z10/z11 mainframe engines are basically POWER6 CPUs, which while not as quick as the POWER7 are still far from the snails you pretend them to be.

You're probably thinking of the performance of the old bipolar logic 31-bit address/32-bit data mainframes.

Not to mention with the zEnterprise you'll be able to add in blade chassis supporting either POWER7 or (most likely) Nehalem-EX processors. For some reason I don't think IBM will use the cheaper Westmere-EP CPUs for this.
0 #9 Naterm 2010-07-25 10:32
Forgot to add if Nehalem-EX's RAS features pale in comparison to a mainframe, then the Opteron 6100s don't even need apply. They really don't have much in the way of RAS.
+1 #10 kebabbert 2010-07-25 21:51
I do not compare RAS on Intel and on the Mainframe. I just talk about CPU power. And I showed with two independent links, that a 8-way PC with Nehalem-EX is faster than the previous z10.

Yes I know the AMD Opteron also crushes the IBM Mainframe z10. The reason I talked about Nehalem-EX is because the founder of Hercules compares it to a Mainframe (in one of my links above)

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