IBM Announces 'Bigger, Badder and Bolder' Mainframe Line

IBM announced an updated mainframe server configured to meet the heightened performance demands of cloud computing, as well as providing enhanced security. The zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server also offers support for operational analytics that can help clients sift through large volumes of raw data and transform it to gain knowledge that can be used for competitive advantage.

“Since 2010, 142 new clients have put their trust in the zEnterprise for their mission-critical workloads,” Rod Adkins, senior VP of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, said at the zEC12 launch event. The EC12 is the result of an investment of over $1 billion in IBM R&D, and the work of more than 2,500 development engineers across 18 labs worldwide, he noted.

Adkins described three new innovations over previous editions of System z. “First, it is architected for the cloud. It is bigger, badder and bolder, with 25% better performance than the previous zEnterprise system. And it also adds 50% greater capacity. Second, the zEC12 can process millions of transactions per day, through predictive analytics to help avoid downtime and outages. The zEC12 helps you deliver a quality service experience. Third, it is more secure. The zEC12 has a new enhanced set of security capabilities, like Crypto Express4S. And this will help meet the specific specialty requirements for different industries.”

Crypto Express4S is a cryptographic co-processor engineered to provide privacy for transactions and sensitive data. Crypto Express4S includes new hardware and software developed with IBM Research to help meet the security requirements of different industries and geographies. For example, it can be configured to provide support for high quality digital signatures used with applications for Smart passports, national ID cards and online legal proceedings, replacing handwritten signatures as directed by the EU and the US public sector. 

zEC12 is also the first IBM mainframe to include internal solid state technology with Flash Express, a new memory technology that can help improve the performance of data intensive applications or workloads.

With operational analytics and near real-time workload monitoring and analysis, clients can use zEC12 for a variety of workloads, including hybrid clouds that can take advantage of the System's 25% more performance per core and 50% greater total system capacity than its predecessor as well as what IBM calls the world’s fastest chip – running at 5.5 GHz.

zEC12 also includes support for the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator that incorporates the Netezza data warehouse appliance, enabling clients to run complex business analytics and operational analytics on the same platform.


The new mainframe also analyzes internal system messages to provide a near real-time view of the system’s health, including any potential problems. Called IBM zAware, the technology learns from the messages to recognize patterns and quickly pinpoint any deviations, using the information to identify unusual system behavior and minimize its impact.

zEC12 is expected to offer a low total cost of acquisition for Linux consolidation of database workloads, IBM says, adding that one zEC12 could potentially encompass the capacity of an entire multi-platform data center in a single system.

“Today’s organizations are challenged by the inefficiencies of their existing IT infrastructure,” Adkins says. “They spend on average more than 70% of their IT budgets on just operations and maintenance alone. This means only one in five organizations can allocate the majority of their IT spending on innovation, which means that the other four out of five are spending just on maintaining their operations. The EC12 improves the economics of IT by consolidating both mainframe and distributed environments; and, with 50% greater capacity, the EC12 delivers more consolidated workloads, which frees up resources for new services and innovations.” 

Clients can also opt to run zEC12 without a raised datacenter floor – a first for high-end IBM mainframes. With new overhead power and cabling support, clients have more flexibility on where zEC12 is deployed. 

IBM also announced zBX Model 003, intended to help extend customer’s ability to run integrated and dynamic workloads across multiple blades and platforms. With simplified operational control and an integrated, high-performance, private and secure network, the zBX Model 003 is designed to run with zEC12. As with its predecessor, the latest zBX includes specialty processors for specific workloads such as the IBM WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliance XI50 for zEnterprise and select IBM BladeCenter servers.

For more information, visit the IBM website at