IBM has introduced a faster, smaller mainframe computer – zEnterprise EC12, which boasts of better security and data analytics tools as compared to the older models.
The $1 billion (£633 million) machine has processing cores that are 25% more powerful than the previous models. IBM said its zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server is designed to help clients to sift through massive amounts of data safely and quickly, meeting the demands of retail and other clients in the age of “Big Data.”
Running at 5.5 GHz, IBM said the microprocessor that powers the mainframe is the fastest chip in the world. Mainframes are used by corporate clients ranging from banks to chain stores. The new mainframe includes a tamper-resistant cryptographic co-processor to provide privacy for confidential transactions.
IBM says the new model could be used by retailers to manage online transactions and analyse clients’ buying habits and then use the information to create a “more customized shopping experience,” such as a custom coupon issued during a transaction.
The launch comes at a time when the mainframe market is experiencing a long-term decline, as most retailers prefer to rely on banks of cheap PC-based servers for their complex calculations. IBM plans to begin shipping of zEnterprise EC12 computers to customers in September.
IBM has shifted its focus on its software and services divisions, which are more profitable than selling the mainframe computers that made the company famous decades ago. But the sales of those mainframes help feed demand for IBM services.