The new configurations fit in standard 19-inch data center racks and reduce energy consumption while using AI and quantum-safe tech.
IBM has announced new single frame and rack mount configurations for two products: the z16 mainframe and LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 server. This brings both products into a smaller format, allowing them to be used with standard 19-inch data center racks to more easily fit into a data center and help save space and energy. The z16 and LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 will be generally available from IBM and its business partners on May 17.
Benefits of co-locating within a data center
The new footprint is tested to the same internal configurations as the IBM z16 high-availability line, but the standard size allows the systems to fit better alongside other servers and storage, IBM said. These configurations are designed to encourage co-location, meaning many workloads can fit in one area instead of split over different physical locations. It also reduces latency, which comes in handy for complex computing tasks like training artificial intelligence models.
The z16 was first introduced in April 2022, while the LinuxONE range holds the IBM mainframes that work only within the Linux operating system.
Keeping systems in distributed environments alongside other servers, storage, storage area network and switches in one rack is one way for companies using a lot of servers such as the x86s to go relatively green. The new footprint makes integration into hot or cold aisle thermal management data center configurations easier since it uses common data center power and cooling.
Keeping all of your servers in one location or near each other are also good for regulated industries that need to follow data sovereignty restrictions, IBM said. Optimized rack mount efficiency allows more local transactions to flow through local data centers while keeping the size of the footprint relatively low.
New, smaller size offers more efficient co-location
The new footprint is held to the same internal configuration standard as the IBM z16 high-availability line, but the size allows the systems to fit better alongside other servers and storage, IBM said.
These configurations are designed to encourage co-location, meaning many workloads can fit in one area instead of split over different physical locations. Keeping servers together in the same data center also reduces latency, which comes in handy for complex computing tasks like training AI models.
“Customers are looking to save energy costs. They’re looking to reduce space. They’re looking to consolidate their data centers,” said Alex Leventhal, product manager at IBM zSystems, in a video announcement.
Both IBM offerings are built with power saving in mind. To do so, the LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 was designed with clients working on reaching sustainability goals in their data centers. Both types of server can reduce energy consumption by 75% and space by 67% compared to x86 servers with similar conditions and location, IBM claimed.
The high availability in the z16 and LinuxONE 4 was built with high reliability in mind for running AI or using a hybrid cloud strategy when it comes to data storage, meaning these servers can complement clients’ current hybrid cloud environment.
SEE: Data center managers look to the cloud to plan IT infrastructure in 2023.
Both configurations built for edge, AI and security
Naturally, the need for a server with a smaller footprint also comes into play in edge devices with limited rack space, such as in manufacturing or healthcare facilities.
IBM boasts that its rack mount, single-rame or multi-frame configurations also support its hardware’s on-chip AI inferencing and the newest IBM z/OS 3.1, which can be used to train or deploy AI models close to where data resides.
As far as quantum-safe goes, this feature is part of a suite of defenses packaged with the z16 to protect it from threat actors leveraging quantum computers against victims’ security protocols. Other security capabilities include confidential computing and centralized key management.
“We’re protecting clients’ investments in existing infrastructure while helping them to innovate with AI and quantum-safe technologies,” said Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM zSystems and LinuxONE, in a press release. “These new options let companies of all sizes seamlessly co-locate IBM z16 and LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 with distributed infrastructure, bringing exciting capabilities to those environments.”
These are an appropriate choice if you’re looking for high availability and resilience for critical industries such as healthcare, financial services, government and insurance, IBM said.