Evangelizing Mainframe
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Lotko Clarifies Roles of zEnterprise and PureSystems in Hybrid Computing

Greg Lotko, vice president and business line executive for IBM System z, sought to bring greater clarity to IBM’s vision of hybrid computing for a smarter planet Tuesday during his session, “zEnterprise Update and Positioning with PureSystems,” at the SHARE User Group Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

With the introduction of IBM PureSystems recently, some clients and analysts have reached the erroneous conclusion that the PureSystems platform will replace the zEnterprise System as IBM's hybrid platform, Lotko said.

Actually, Lotko explained, they are complementary technologies, designed to address different needs and two specific management paradigms for clients.

“Many thought when we launched PureSystems, it would replace zBX [zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension],” he said. “That’s not the case. zBX and zManager [zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager] are alive and well!"

“Hybrid computing is more than just the idea of zEnterprise,” he noted. “When we launched zEnterprise, we were working on PureSystems in the background.”

For functional (and sometimes political) reasons, “every workload can’t run on the mainframe,” Lotko noted. “You already knew that.” So clients need to run the right workloads on the right platforms. In some instances, a mainframe with a zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) meets an organization’s hybrid computing needs, while other might require a PureApplication System, or both.

The difference with zEnterprise involves tying some of those workloads to the mainframe on the zBX, so that they benefit from the proximity to the mainframe. The zEnterprise System is about three major things:

1. The core technology of the z196 and z114
2. The BladeCenter Extension, which has been built out with Power, System x blades, and the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator
3. The Unified Resources Manager, which Lotko calls “the secret sauce”

This hardware paradigm—the zBX as it’s seen in today’s z196—will definitely be brought forward with the next generation of zEnterprise and beyond. "For any media or analysts in the room, you can paraphrase me on that,” Lotko quipped.

He went on to explain that the PureSystems platform is about distributed environments. You can co-locate hardware, storage, etc., on the same rack. “Many clients are finding that attractive," he said. "That’s what the client form factor is targeting.” The PureApplication System, however, is not only about the hardware elements, but also preconfigured software that can be loaded on the device. Ultimately, it provides distributed, management across distributed platforms, but not the same level of management as zEnterprise.

“If what the client is looking for is looser elements with co-location and interoperablity, they’ll go with a PureSystems form factor,” Lotko said. “If they want a tight coupling connected to the mainframe, they want the zEnterprise.

“There is a place for both,” he added. “We will continue to invest in both of these platforms.”

Mike Westholder is site editor for Destination z.

Posted: 8/7/2012 4:34:46 PM by Mike Westholder

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