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IBM welcomes Windows to zEnterprise mainframe family

As promised, IBM will support Windows Server as part of its zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension, or zBX.

As expected, IBM added Windows Server as a supported operating system running alongside its zEnterprise mainfr...


Windows Server 2008 R2 joins Linux and AIX as an operating system that can run on IBM’s zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX). IBM introduced zBX in 2010 as part of the zEnterprise launch. ZBX comprises an IBM BladeCenter running x86 or Power blades, and is managed by IBM’s zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager.

Customers will officially be able to run Windows under zBX on December 16. Doris Conti, director of marketing for System z, said this capability has two main benefits: manageability and reduced latency.

ZEnterprise Unified Resource Manager provides such functions as service automation, discovery, and monitoring and provisioning across both zEnterprise and zBX resources, Conti said. At the same time, running separate but related workloads on zEnterprise and zBX on a private network speeds up communications, thereby avoiding additional network hops.

For Huub Meertens, head of the support engineering section at Eurocontrol, an air traffic management organization in the Netherlands, the appeal of zBX is largely management.  The organization is deploying Linux on zBX to go along with its six-year-old zLinux deployment.

“Otherwise, we would have had another Linux island on two different platforms, and that means different management stations,” Meertens said. “We’re trying to get rid of all these silos, which is something we have suffered from for many years now.”

The more management interfaces you have, the more staff you need to run the environment, which increases costs, Meertens said.

While Meertens hopes to have Linux on zBX in production by January, there are no guarantees for Windows applications. The firm’s Exchange environment, for example, is already virtualized on VMware, which is not yet a supported environment on zBX. “Technically, the x86 blades are definitely capable of running Windows. Whether we will do that – it’s too early to say.”

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, Executive Editor at, or follow @aebarrett on twitter.

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