IBM mainframes will soon be able to manage Windows applications, bridging one of the last major divides in data centers.

IBM had already announced that it intended to deliver that capability with its zEnterprise 196 mainframe, but it recently said the Windows management function will be available on Dec. 16.

There are many Windows-based applications, including ones made by IBM, inside most data centers; they typically interact with mainframes to access data. Historically, all Windows software has had to be managed separately.

But now, IBM has promised, the security and speed of mainframe environments that include Windows systems will be improved. It will be possible to connect systems on a private network, thus avoiding some network hops and enabling the use of integrated management tools.

Joe Clabby, an analyst at Clabby Analytics, said the new features should reduce the labor required to run mainframe environments that have multiple operating systems. Moreover, he added, "if you can manage this as a single architecture, it saves money."

Greg Lotko, business line executive in IBM's System z division, said the addition of Windows support "is really recognizing that the world is heterogeneous."

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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