IBM’s new expensive mainframe computer improves data-center energy costs and security protection, but it is debatable whether it is cost-effective. The $1 million System z10 has an all-in-one computing framework able to process

large volumes of data for customers such as banks, insurers and retailers, making them 50% faster and improving computing capacity by 70%. IBM says they are also more energy efficient than a network of smaller computers and have improved security. Though they are large (refrigerator-sized), they have the computing power of 1,500 standard mainframe computers, making them 85% more energy efficient than such a computer cluster. Those seem like great numbers, but do they outweigh the $1 million price tag?

Its biggest competitors, HP, Dell, and Sun Micro offer smaller mainframe computers at a quarter of the price and perform many of the same functions as the cumbersome z10. It is no wonder, then, that IBM has shifted from their once-reliable source of revenue in mainframe computers to higher-profit technologies and software—I guess size does matter. If the size doesn’t intimidate companies out of buying it, the heavy price tag just might. With competitors’ prices at around $250,000, IBM is relying on computing efficiency reducing the cost to companies over time to sell the metal beasts. With such a timetable and expected slow sales until the second quarter, it will be a while before we know whether the computers are worth it.

Detailed information on System z benefits and available resources on:

By Danny Scuderi
L’Atelier North America
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