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Submission + - IBM's Surprise: New World's Fastest CPU

BBCWatcher writes: This month a new world's fastest microprocessor was revealed at the Hot Chips conference in the final presentation slot, and it's a shocker. IBM starts shipping their z196 servers, and (surprise!) the fastest microprocessor is exclusively inside their latest mainframe. As chip designers slam hard into the physical limits of Moore's Law, get used to a new world of mainframe performance dominance. For decades mainframes have excelled in delivering high throughput for multiple concurrent applications (i.e. cloud computing), but you would have had to look elsewhere (to a supercomputer, to Intel or to IBM's POWER) to find the world's fastest computational performance. Not this time: Mainframe and Supercomputer have combined their DNA. The quad-core z196 CPU design is clocked at a world record 5.2 GHz (with no "burst" cheats), but the clock speed only partly explains why the z196 screams. The z196 has out-of-order execution, a first for IBM mainframes, and insane amounts of cache, including on-chip DRAM, spread across a record number of levels. There are also hardware instructions that accelerate advanced cryptography, precision decimal floating point operations, compression, and other complex tasks. (This is CISC design in all its glory.) Unfortunately the "press" gets a lot of details wrong (ahem, Fox News), but that's sometimes what happens with unexpected technical news.

Submission + - New IBM Mainframe: World's Fastest Microprocessor (fpsnewswire.com)

BBCWatcher writes: So what's the world's fastest microprocessor? Intel's latest X86? No, maybe later. AMD? No. Itanium? Heck no, never. SPARC? Goodness no, are they still around? IBM's POWER7? Closest... but not at the moment. Today it's IBM's zEnterprise 196, i.e. the newest mainframe model. A mainframe holding the honor of world's fastest microprocessor? Yes, and it's time to get used to it. IBM's engineers have just rocked the server world by taking the world's fastest microprocessor, clocked at a constant and unsurpassed 5.2 GHz (!) with new out-of-order instruction execution (while keeping mainframe instruction result verification and on-the-fly fault recovery and core fail-over), putting 96 cores of them into a single machine, surrounding them with 4 (!) levels of cache memory (each far larger than anything else), providing 3 TB (usable) of the world's first and only RAIM-protected fast memory (that's RAID for RAM), giving them scores of dedicated assist processors, accelerating the already famous mainframe I/O... and, to top it all off, adding in mainframe-managed closely attached blade servers to mop up the data center floor. IBM says more than 100,000 virtual servers can run on a single zEnterprise System with zEnterprise BladeCenter Expansion feature. And of course it's built to keep your important applications running continuously, no excuses, with no interruptions for either hardware or software changes.
....I want one.

IT

Submission + - New IBM Mainframe Swallows A Blade Server (eweekeurope.co.uk)

judgecorp writes: IBM's new zEnterprise mainframe is not taking a back seat to blade servers. It includes a chassis for blades, bringing them under the control of a new fast 5000 MIPS server built with 5.2Ghz chips. Other vendors aim to replace mainframes, and HP says IBM is pushing them like heroin, while the US Justice Department is investigating IBM's monopoly, but IBM says users need mainframes for reliability, and is backing zEnterprise witha claimed figure of $5 billion of R and D money
IBM

Submission + - IBM's new mainframe clusters with blades (itnews.com.au)

littlekorea writes: IBM has released its latest mainframe — a machine Big Blue claims to be the biggest change in its architecture for 20 years. The killer detail — the zEnterprise integrates with smaller form factor servers to create a unified system. It only works, of course, if every new server you buy wears an IBM badge. So like Cisco's UCS, this solution might not wash well with those that have already invested in Dell or HP blade farms.

Submission + - Report: Mainframe is a Perfect Functional Superset (uni-tuebingen.de) 1

BBCWatcher writes: Germany's Wilhelm Schickard Institut fur Informatik has just published a paper on "System z and z/OS Unique Characteristics," and here's its thought-provoking opener: "Many people still associate mainframes with obsolete technology. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Mainframes feature many hardware, software, and system integration technologies that are either not at all, or only in an elementary form, available on other server platforms. On the other hand, we know of no advanced server features which are not available on mainframes." The report provides comparisons (to the extent possible) between 40+ mainframe capabilities and other servers' capabilities, with lots of references. Although quite technical, the paper is approachable. (Sun's mainframe-critical ad reprinted in the report is especially amusing given recent history.) There's also this closing prediction: "We assume that present [mainframe] technologies...will become available on other server platforms within the next 10 years. We also assume mainframes will have introduced new not yet identified technologies [during] this time, and that the size of the technology gap will remain roughly the same. During the last 30-40 years this has been the case, and the driving forces have not changed." IBM says there's a new mainframe model coming this year, so we'll see more of the leading edge soon.

Submission + - Korean Bank Dumps Unix Boxen for Mainframes (theregister.co.uk) 1

BBCWatcher writes: The Register's headline is a little misleading (mainframes are also UNIX machines), but the basic facts are these: BC Card, Korea's largest credit card company, is ejecting its many HP and Sun UNIX servers, and Oracle databases, and replacing them with (undoubtedly fewer) IBM System z10 servers (a.k.a. "mainframes") running z/OS, CICS Transaction Server, DB2 for z/OS, WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, Java, C/C++, Tivoli and InfoSphere software, etc., for its next generation credit card processing applications. IBM dropped the bombshell before Christmas, but the (stunned? vacationing?) Western IT press is only now waking up to recognize its significance. Sayeth BC Card's CIO, JeongKyu Lee: "We chose System z for its continuous operation, service quality made available through IBM's mainframe software solutions, and economic returns for the years ahead." Likely translation: "People expect their cards to work, we deal with serious Won every minute, this z stuff is the best damn tech for the mission, and IBM wanted our business." BC Card, founded in 1982, has never had a mainframe before.
Idle

Submission + - HP Webcam is Racist (csmonitor.com) 3

An anonymous reader writes: Man can't get facial-tracking recognition to work, until his white friend moves into the picture...

Submission + - SPAM: Eating Soy Can Decrease Fertility

cheeka writes: According to a study involving humans, a content that is found in soybeans called genistein was able to damage the health of the sperm when they were swimming toward the egg cell (ovum). Even in small doses, if the content is found in the female urinary tract, it is enough to destroy the sperm when it swims into archegonium..
Link to Original Source
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun Microsystems to cut 3,000 jobs (cnn.com)

afgun writes: Once great tech leader Sun will shed 3,000 jobs due to the delays in the Oracle acquisition; is this the first cry of the death-spiral?
Media

Submission + - Americans are Not Responsible for Saving News (openmarket.org) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Creative destruction is never easy for an economy to digest, especially when the industry involved has an exceptionally loud megaphone to amplify its screaming. In a report released on Monday, former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie Jr. (with co-author Michael Schudson) insists that Americans take “collective responsibility” for fostering journalism and news reporting (saving unprofitable, poorly-managed news outfits). Of course, Downie doesn’t directly ask citizens for money — that would be uncouth. Instead, he suggests that universities and nonprofits, internet service providers and telecoms, and (of course) the government cough up the dough.
Microsoft

Submission + - SPAM: Microsoft Posts Dreadful Quarterly Earnings

BBCWatcher writes: After the U.S. markets closed on Thursday, Microsoft posted grim news: revenues down 17% for the just finished quarter (year to year) and profits down 29% despite $1B in cost cutting. The results shocked Wall Street analysts and unsettled the whole market. The quarter capped the first full year revenue decline since MSFT stock started trading publicly in 1986. Nothing worked for the company, with the possible exception of ~$10 XP sales to netbook OEMs. Everything fell, including Windows, Office, servers, Xbox, and Web advertising. Moreover, the advertising, Xbox, Zune, and mobile phone businesses were all deep in the red. Microsoft blamed the economy. However, while Nokia and Dell reported bad results, other tech stalwarts like Apple, Intel (to some extent), Google, and IBM have prospered. Of course, Microsoft remains profitable, though (amazingly) less profitable in the quarter than IBM.
Windows

Submission + - London Stock Exchange to Abandon Windows

BBCWatcher writes: Computerworld's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that the London Stock Exchange is abandoning its Microsoft Windows-based trading platform: "Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation had their face slapped this September when the LSE's Windows-based TradElect system brought the market to a standstill for almost an entire day.... Sources at the LSE tell me to this day that the problem was with TradElect.... Sources...tell me that TradElect's failure was the final straw for [the ex-CEO's] tenure. The new CEO, Xavier Rolet, is reported to have immediately decided to put an end to TradElect. TradElect runs on HP ProLiant servers running, in turn, Windows Server 2003. The TradElect software itself is a custom blend of C# and .NET programs, which was created by Microsoft and Accenture, the global consulting firm. On the back-end, it relied on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Its goal was to maintain sub-ten millisecond response times, real-time system speeds, for stock trades. It never, ever came close to achieving these performance goals."
Privacy

Submission + - Migrating to a Freer Country? 2

puroresu writes: I currently reside in the UK. In recent years I've seen privacy, free expression and civil liberties steadily eroded, and I can't see anything changing for the better any time soon. With people being banned from the UK for expressing (admittedly reprehensible) opinions, the continuing efforts to implement mandatory ID cards and the prospect of a Conservative government in the near future, I'm seriously considering migrating to a less restrictive country.

Which countries would Slashdotters recommend in terms of freedom and privacy? Distance is not an issue, however a reasonable level of stability and provision of public services would be a bonus.
Microsoft

Submission + - WSJ: Microsoft Says IBM is Anticompetitive

BBCWatcher writes: Microsoft has long claimed that the mainframe is dead, slain by the company's Windows monopoly. Yet, apparently without any mirror nearby, Microsoft is now complaining through the Microsoft-funded Computer & Communications Industry Association that not only are mainframes not dead, but IBM is so anticompetitive that governments should intervene in the hyper-competitive server market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is worried that the trend toward cloud computing is introducing competition to the Windows franchise, favoring better positioned companies including IBM and Cisco. HP now talks about almost nothing but the IBM mainframe, with no Tukwila CPUs to sell until 2010. The global recession is encouraging more mainframe adoption as businesses slash IT costs, dominated by labor costs, and improve business execution. In 2008, IBM mainframe revenues rose 12.5% even whilst mainframe prices fell. (IBM shipped 25% more mainframe capacity than in 2007. Other server sales reports are not so good.) IBM mainframes can run multiple operating systems concurrently including Linux and, more recently, OpenSolaris.

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