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IBM partners to make mainframes more mainstream

IBM wants to improve its mainframe business with a Linux push and introduced new mainframe servers dubbed Emperor and Rockhopper.

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IBM wants to improve its mainframe business with a Linux push and introduced new mainframe servers dubbed Emperor and Rockhopper.

Often used in business critical applications in finance, transportation and other verticals, mainframes have seen a bit of a resurgence since IBM launched the z13 in January. That was its first new mainframe in almost three years.

Building off of that success, the company wants more corporate analytics and hybrid clouds to run on its mainframes.

The Emperor is the bigger of the two, and according to IBM can handle up to 8,000 virtual machines or hundreds of thousands of containers, which wrap software in a complete file system that contains everything it needs to run. The Rockhopper is designed for enterprises that want the speed, security and availability of the mainframe but in a smaller package. Both models are shipping now, but IBM didn’t say how much they cost. It’s not uncommon though for a single mainframe to top one million dollars.

The mainframe code from IBM will be open sourced, which IBM said would enable better integration with networks and clouds.

The goal of the new project is to make Linux and mainframes a more attractive combination. That includes broadening the set of tools available for mainframe Linux development. The companies involved in the project are working with universities to make sure there will be people who can manage and program for the mainframes.