September 03, 2010

In a rare public display of affection for hardware, Citi's managing director of enterprise systems infrastructure Martin Kennedy, has divulged to InformationWeek's Bob Evans his admiration and high hopes for IBM's new water-cooled z196 mainframe, one of which the bank recently purchased.

"Citigroup is already expecting the new machine, powered by the world's fastest and most powerful chips, to drive down overall IT costs, trigger large-system consolidation, improve data quality, strengthen disaster-recovery preparedness, and help Citigroup become more responsive to customer needs and demands," Evans writes.

The bank hopes to collapse multiple existing large systems into the new z196, which will help it shift dollars away from internal operations and maintenance and toward customer-facing efforts, Kennedy told Evans.

"We'll be running many of our core applications on this machine and looking closely at reliability characteristics, which have always been a strength of mainframes," Kennedy said in a Wednesday phone conversation. "If we can reduce the number of copies of data that have to be made, that means less CPU cycles needed to push that around, and a lot less need to back up multiple instances of data. If we can attack that, we'll find some substantial gains in disk and network storage."

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