Who says the mainframe is extinct?

After three years of effort costing $1.2 billion, IBM unveiled its new z9 mainframe computer at a news conference in New York on Tuesday.

Robers.com titled the z9 as IBM’s “Billion Dollar Baby”. They will sell for around $1 million, according to media reports.

The z9 is design to act as a hub for collaborative computing efforts with a special emphasis on security and encryption. IBM is positioning the z9 as an alternative to clustering of smallering computers. Big Blue remains the largest seller of mainframes in the world followed by HP.

The design effort included more than 5,000 people, according to IBM. It supports five operating systems, including Linux.

The z9 packs twice the performance of the older model z990 mainframe nicknamed T-Rex. It can process 1 billion transactions a day, IBM said.

The encryption application is designed to protect data during transport and is intended to help prevent the kinds of recent hacker attacks in which corporate networks were penetraded.

“It really does attack the practical issues with an enterprise using encryption as their standard,” George Walsh, an IBM executive who led the development project, said, according to The Associated Press.

The z9 can also handle 6,000 secure online transactions per second, some three times the capacity of older models.

“The new security and encryption offerings in the System z9 are designed to provide an enterprise-wide solution to help companies secure their customers’ data, both within company walls as well as when it leaves their direct control,” said Erich Clementi, general manager of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, in a statement.

“Centralized key management helps simplify our customers’ security solutions, and is designed to provide a long-term capability for protecting data,” he added. “We are working closely with technology partners and a group of leading customers in the financial world to extend our security strategy to cover all aspects of our system environment, with a goal of providing the most comprehensive solutions in the industry.”

For more information see: www.ibm.com/systems/systemz9