IBM to push up mainframe power

The mainframe is getting a tune-up as IBM launches a new zSeries box which will be its most powerful yet

IBM is planning to make a series of announcements around its latest mainframe server late on Tuesday.

The announcement will include details of its latest, top-of-the-range zSeries machine that is expected to offer a one-third performance boost over the zSeries 990. This would make it the most powerful IBM mainframe to date.

The announcement will be part of IBM's regular series of upgrades for the system that developed out of the IBM S/390 series, which celebrated its fortieth birthday this year. Although the zSeries has long been written off as outdated in some quarters it continues to sell well, including in new markets such as China.

The key advantage of the mainframe is its reliability and security. Although it comes at some cost, with a typical mainframe costing upwards of £500,000, it has a rugged architecture which makes it very popular with banks and other institutions that particularly need to maintain both reliability and system integrity.

According to IBM, Tuesday’s announcements will focus on "systems technologies across servers, storage and networking" which suggests that IBM is aiming to broaden the mainframe's appeal outside of its traditional financial markets.