RESEARCH NOTE

September 13, 2012

IBM zEnterprise EC12 Servers Deliver Near-Flawless Reliability, Security
Audience

ITIC Position
IBM’s latest zEnterprise EC12 multiplatform mainframe systems provide current and prospective Big Blue customers with the processing power, performance and near-flawless reliability and security necessary for the most demanding workloads. The new zEnterprise EC12 multiplatform servers solidify and extend IBM’s stake in high-end enterprises.

CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, VPs of IT, Network Administrators/Managers

Relevance
Crucial for any firm considering new server purchases requiring high reliability to handle real time operational analytics, transactional workloads and Business intelligence

IBM zEnterprise EC12 Servers Boost Performance, Capacity
IBM latest System z solutions, the zEnterprise EC12 family of hybrid multiplatform mainframe systems are optimized to deliver the highest levels of reliability, performance and security in heavy, intensely demanding transactional workload, real time operational analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) environments. IBM is second to none in its experience in building powerful, resilient systems to handle even the most computationally intensive workloads, operational analytics and BI. All of this is very much in evidence in the enhancements, new features and attention to detail of all of the zEnterprise servers. The flagship model – the z196 – introduced in July 2010, was hailed as first multiplatform computer/ mainframe hybrid and distributed with single management. The new zEnterprise EC 12 line of servers consists of five models: the HA20, H43, H66, H89 and HA1. IBM’s over-arching slogan “Tuned to the task” focuses on delivering better overall enterprise class performance and superior economics compared to rivals like Oracle and HP. The new so-called zEC12 systems reaffirm Big Blue’s commitment to multiplatform mainframe solutions, and tangibly expand the scope of their capabilities. IBM has enhanced virtually every component of the zEnterprise EC12 family -- from the core semiconductor chipset to the middleware applications -- to boost reliability, performance and security compared to prior offerings.

IBM ID # ZSL03202-USEN-00 © 2012 Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) All rights reserved.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

Laura DiDio Principal Analyst ldidio@itic-corp.com

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These new features include:           A 25% performance improvement compared to the z196 Up to 50% system capacity performance improvement over z196 80-way systems New PCIe Flash Express to handle paging workload spikes boosting availability and uptime An extremely fast superscalar chip with each core delivering 5.5 GHz A minimum of 32GB of RAIM A maximum of 3TB of RAIM per system and up to 1TB per LPAR 8 GBps I/O interconnects IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) to deploy business analytics on the same platform as operational applications The ability to run analytics and online transactional processing (OLTP) as the same workload Energy and cooling enhancements such as Power Save modes for processor. Although the IBM System z Servers already incorporated some power save capabilities, it can further extend the capabilities with the inclusion of Systems Director which can then access the APIs. IBM has not yet disclosed all the details but more detailed information on Power Save mode are available on IBM’s Website. An new integrated radiator-based air cooling system and optional water cooling (for example, water cooling can offer about 9% additional data center energy savings) and DC power as well as an optional non-raised floor and overhead cabling options for both I/O and power The result is noticeably improved I/O throughput, more processing power, near 100% system availability and bullet-proof security. IBM’s self-described intent is to “deliver the world’s fastest, most scalable and secure enterprise system with the ability to integrate resources for:  Operational analytics across the enterprise  Trusted resilience to provide hardened security and the highest levels of availability  Efficiency at scale to deliver services via a private cloud

Analysis
Enterprise demand for increased transactional and processing power, as well as greater efficiencies and economies of scale has never been greater. This is crucial in order for enterprises to effectively support core business applications and transactions. These criteria individually and collectively play to IBM’s zEnterprise EC12 family’s strength as one of the most highly reliable hardware systems currently available. IBM’s latest zEnterprise servers and strategy are well defined and well thought-out from both the technology and business standpoints. IBM clearly has addressed all of the major issues and potential challenges that their enterprise customers face in transitioning to more compute intensive and demanding workloads. The latest ITIC 2012 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey statistics supports IBM’s claims of 99.999% and 99.9999% (“five and six nines”) of system availability for System z solutions. The independent Web-based survey polled over 500 organizations worldwide in August and September 2012.
IBM ID # ZSL03202-USEN-00 © 2012 Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) All rights reserved.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

Laura DiDio Principal Analyst ldidio@itic-corp.com

Page 2 of 4 Phone: (508) 887-9814 Cell: (508) 740-1513 Fax: (508) 887-9815

The survey results showed that IBM, Stratus Technologies, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard servers (in that order) were the four most reliable platforms, achieving an average 99.99% or 99.999% uptime per server, per annum. That equates to an individual server being offline for 52 minutes (99.99%) or 5.25 minutes (99.999%) annually. The most recent ITIC poll also revealed that 14% of the over 500 respondent organizations require the highest 99.999% degree of reliability in their IT and business operations. Additionally, three percent of survey participants indicated their firms require an even more stringent “six nines” (99.9999%) uptime which translates to a mere 52 seconds of per server, per annum unplanned annual downtime. Among this latter elite user group, 56% said they had IBM System zEnterprise servers. And in first person interviews with ITIC analysts, the majority asserted the System zEnterprise servers delivered close to 99.9999% -- six nines of availability. Overall, IBM’s System z servers achieved the highest degree(s) of reliability among the one dozen competing server hardware platforms discussed in the ITIC survey. Nearly two-thirds or 63% of respondents indicated their firms experienced one to five minutes of unplanned downtime for 99.999% or better reliability. Additionally, less than one-half of one percent of those polled said they had experienced downtime of more than four hours on any of their System z servers. Reliability and by association, security are pivotal metrics which have immediate and long lasting impact and ramifications on overall network health and daily operations. Any service disruptions impact business operations and end user productivity. The trickledown effect and impact is almost instantaneous. It disrupts operations for the company’s end users, partners, suppliers and customers, causing business to grind to a halt. The consequences of a moderate Tier 2 outage of one-to-four hours or a severe Tier 3 outage of four hours or more, can cause significant business losses, damage the company’s reputation and heighten the risk of litigation. In vertical markets such as banking, finance, healthcare, government and insurance that comprise the core constituency of System zEnterprise customers, even a seemingly minor Tier 1 outage where the server is unavailable to process transactions for even five, 10 or 15 minutes could be damaging or even catastrophic. In these environments it’s not unusual for losses to amount to millions of dollars for each minute of downtime.

Users Give System zEnterprise High Marks
ITIC 2012 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey respondents were quite vocal in their assessments of IBM System zEnterprise servers’ security and reliability performance. “The only good downtime for us is no downtime,” observed the VP of IT at a large Midwestern bank. “When the server goes offline for any reason for even five minutes, our financial transactions grind to a halt. Our knowledge workers and customers feel the impact immediately and they are not shy about vocalizing their discontent,” the VP of IT said.
IBM ID # ZSL03202-USEN-00 © 2012 Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) All rights reserved.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

Laura DiDio Principal Analyst ldidio@itic-corp.com

Page 3 of 4 Phone: (508) 887-9814 Cell: (508) 740-1513 Fax: (508) 887-9815

He also noted that the IBM System z servers have proven an excellent investment for his organization for their rock solid reliability and superior security. “They offer very high performance. We were able to reduce our workload costs by about 12% last year while optimizing data throughput by roughly 10%,” he said. System stability and security are both rock solid. “The last time we had any unplanned downtime was when someone accidentally unplugged the System z server.”

Conclusions and Recommendations
ITIC advises customers to conduct a thorough audit to determine the reliability of their current server environments according to the number, length and severity of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 outages and compare them against the IBM zEnterprise EC12 family. Customers are also urged to conduct their own benchmark tests in pilots that mirror production networks and workloads as closely as possible. Organizations should also perform regular security audits of their entire server hardware and server OS infrastructure to determine and eliminate vulnerabilities and compare and contrast the security of their various platforms. The ability to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) hinges on server reliability, uptime and manageability. These are key indicators that enable organizations to determine which server hardware platform provides the business with the greatest performance, reliability and processing power to address sophisticated and demanding applications. The new IBM System zEnterprise EC12 family scores high in all of these categories.

IBM ID # ZSL03202-USEN-00 © 2012 Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) All rights reserved.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

Laura DiDio Principal Analyst ldidio@itic-corp.com

Page 4 of 4 Phone: (508) 887-9814 Cell: (508) 740-1513 Fax: (508) 887-9815

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