John Baker - 16 September 2019

Introducing the IBM z15

How do you fit a truck into a “small car only” parking spot? Introducing the IBM z15.

The z15 boasts all the horsepower you expect from IBM’s latest mainframe offering – in a 19 inch frame. If you have racks of distributed servers, now you have even less of an excuse not to park one of these beasts in the driveway.

Don’t let the size fool you.

The z15 (with a General Availability date of 9/23/2019) offers up to 190 CPU cores (vs. 170 on z14) and 40 TB of usable memory (vs. 32 on z14), in addition to processor cache and overall performance improvements.

It is widely accepted today that the days of massive CPU clock increases are behind us. This is not just a mainframe issue but is common across all processors (e.g. INTEL). To combat this, IBM has focused on getting the data to the CPU faster. This is primarily accomplished with large and efficient processor caches. Our very own Todd Havekost is a well-known expert in this space. Check out his blogs and sessions at IBM TechU and Share for more insights in this critical area.

Availability is also key with any infrastructure, and the mainframe rules supreme in that space. Nevertheless, stuff happens, and IBM has raised the bar once again with System Recovery Boost in the z15. During system shutdown and initialization (IPL), System Recovery Boost will allow GCP engines to execute at full capacity, as well as making all work eligible to execute on zIIP engines, to significantly “boost” your CPU horsepower to expedite return to normal operation.

Another key improvement is with compression. The zEDC (Enterprise Data Compression) PCI cards were welcome improvements on previous generations. However, with accelerated data growth, the latency to move data to and from the CPU chips to the PCI bus and back causes unnecessary delays. On the z15, IBM has integrated compression on to the CPU Chips. Compression/decompression is done directly on the PU chip utilizing local L3 cache and a Nest Accelerator Unit (NXU). IBM benchmarks indicate significant improvements in throughput over the zEDC PCI cards, which are no longer supported on the z15.

At IntelliMagic, we are excited about these technical advances. Existing customers can migrate their workloads to z15 and be assured that IntelliMagic Vision will continue to produce the detailed insights they trust. Regardless of your machine size or budget, talk to us. Our clients range from a few hundred MIPS to the largest datacenters in the world.

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John Baker
Senior Consultant
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