"The machine will come with 32 processors initially, with a 48-processor version by the end of 2003 and a 64-processor version in 2004, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. By comparison, IBM's current top-end z900 mainframe, introduced in 2000, has 16 processors.
IBM plans to announce the z990 at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, where the mainframe will share the stage with announcements from IBM's Global Services division. IBM declined to comment for this story, but the company briefed several analysts during a presentation last week.
The new z990, available in June, is expected to run Linux tasks as much as 55 percent faster than the z900. That's significant, given that 17 percent of the company's mainframe revenue in 2002 stemmed from mainframes."
IBM's mainframe business is currently facing strong competition from Unix and Windows-based servers. To this end, CNET writes that IBM is overhauling their mainframe management software support to make it more current and robust.