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IBM mainframes un use up to now have been 32-bit class machines that are backwards compatible to the System/360. The new z/ extends the mainrame to have 64-bit addressing. The IBM eServer zSeries 900 will be available on December 18, 2000.

IBM today unveiled the IBM eServer zSeries 900, the first mainframe built from scratch with e-business as its primary function. The reinvented mainframe is built to handle the unpredictable demands of e-business, allowing thousands of servers to operate within one box. Along with the new design, IBM is also introducing its new 64-bit operating system, z/OS, as well as new software pricing. Software fees will be based on need rather than total system capacity, providing customers the flexibility to pay for what they use in an e-business world that is characterized by highly volatile swings in demand.

The z900 and z/OS are the result of a $1 billion, two-year effort to specifically address the needs of businesses in the age of e-commerce. The first in a new class of e-business servers, the system, which works hand-in-hand with z/OS — the z900’s flagship operating system — is designed for high speed connectivity to the network and to storage systems, scalability in the face of unpredictable spikes in workload or traffic, and near zero downtime when clustered. The z900 will allow customers to push performance and connectivity to the outer limits without any concessions to reliability and security.

The new software licensing capabilities of the z900 and z/OS are receiving support from such industry leaders as BMC Software, Candle, Computer Associates, Compuware, Isogon, SAGA and Software AG, as well as many other independent software vendors. These capabilities allow customers the ability to add system capacity and grow without necessarily being charged more. Instead software can be licensed based on need.

The heart of the z900 is the IBM multichip module (MCM) — the densest, most advanced semiconductor and packaging technology in the world. The 5″ x 5″ x 1/4″ module contains 35 chips mounted on 101 layers of ceramic glass connected to 4,226 I/0 pins by 1 kilometer of wire. The module uses IBM’s leading-edge copper technology and contains 2.5 billion transistors. Designed and manufactured by IBM’s world-class chip developers, this leading-edge technology provides significant advantages in performance, power consumption and reliability.

Most applciations will be restricted to running in a 2GB address space. Java is not restriced and applications can be as large as needed. Traditionally IBM Mainframe memory has been byte-addressable. This kind of memory is termed “Central Storage”. IBM Mainframe processors through much of the 1980s and 1990s supported another kind of memory: Expanded Storage. Expanded Storage is 4KB-page addressable. When an application wants to access data in Expanded Storage it must first be moved into Central Storage. Similarly, data movement from Central Storage to Expanded Storage is done in multiples of 4KB pages. Initially page movement was performed using relatively expensive instructions, by paging subsystem code. The overhead of moving single and groups of pages between Central and Expanded Storage was reduced with the introduction of the MVPG (Move Page) instruction and the ADMF (Asynchronous Data Mover Facility) capability.

The eServer zSeries (900, 800, 990, 890) are the models in the press release. The new machines are much more powerful and they can run several jobs together. IBM delivered the PCI Cryptographic Coprocessor with the new machines. IBM suggested more hardware improvements are in the works.

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