Monday, April 30, 2007

IBM Mainframe Strengths and Values - for Gaming?

There's a new IBM Redbook out that's worth a read by those (probably many) pf you not too familiar with the IBM mainframe world: IBM System z Strengths and Values

I've talked about mainframes before. See, for example, Mainframes - the "dinosaurs" are thriving. There are some good arguments for using mainframes to consolidate workloads, simplifying systems administration (including virtualization, which IBM mastered around three decades ago), and reduce overall power consumption.

For a few years now, IBM has been reinvigorating its mainframe program, starting with a Mainframe Charter in 2003.

This Redbook covers such aspects of IBM's System z mainframe range as:
  • A business view
  • System z architecture and HW platform
  • System z software
  • Security
  • Resiliency
  • System Management
  • Consolidation
  • Enterprise hub for SOA: integrating and extending assets
  • Enterprise hub for data
All very fine, if not just a little conventional. ... But who would have predicted IBM's latest nimble move:
Cell Broadband Engine Project Aims to Supercharge IBM Mainframe for Virtual Worlds (Press Release)

IBM Collaboration With Brazilian Game Developer, Hoplon Infotainment, Looks to Hybrid Platform for Advanced 3D Simulations; Unique Mainframe Architecture Speeds Integration With Cell/B.E.

ARMONK, NY & FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL - 26 Apr 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today disclosed a cross-company project to integrate the Cell Broadband Engine™ (Cell/B.E.) with the IBM mainframe for the purpose of creating a hybrid that is blazingly fast and powerful, with security features designed to handle a new generation of "virtual world" applications, such as the 3D Internet.

The project capitalizes on the mainframe's ability to accelerate work via "specialty processors," as well as its unique networking architecture, which enables the kind of ultra-fast communication needed to create virtual worlds with large numbers of simultaneous users sharing a single environment.

Drawing on IBM's research, software and hardware expertise, the project is being undertaken in cooperation with with Hoplon Infotainment, a Brazilian online game company whose software is a key component of testing the capabilities of the new environment.

"As online environments increasingly incorporate aspects of virtual reality -- including 3D graphics and lifelike, real-time interaction among many simultaneous users -- companies of all types will need a computing platform that can handle a broad spectrum of demanding performance and security requirements," said Jim Stallings, general manager, IBM System z. "To serve this market, the Cell/B.E. processor is the perfect complement to the mainframe, the only server designed to handle millions of simultaneous users."


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