IBM presents z16: The mainframe gets real-time AI

It's a historic day for IBM and its customers, said Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Systems, on the occasion of the presentation of the new mainframe. Thousands of IBM developers from the hardware and software departments worked on the z16 mainframe together with more than 70 customers. Mauri spoke of a collaborative and customer-centric approach, which should also be used in the development of the next generation of mainframes. The new z16 mainframes should be available from the end of May 2022.
For IBM, it's about keeping its mainframe customers loyal and making the bolides from the 1960s socially acceptable for modern IT infrastructures. The mainframe platform should be fit for the cloud age and current workload requirements.
IBM has integrated a number of new functions into the z16 family for this purpose. The most important innovation is in the processor. With "Telum" IBM has built a new mainframe processor. The chip contains a special AI accelerator and, according to the manufacturer, is optimized to solve AI tasks with particularly high performance and computing requirements – for example when it comes to analyzing large amounts of transactional data in real time, drawing insights from it and directly to derive actions from the results.
Such scenarios exist in the banking environment, for example, when IT systems are supposed to recognize and block attempts at fraud in financial transactions. According to IBM, it was previously difficult to apply deep learning models with acceptable latency times and sufficient security to large volumes of data if the applications based on them required extremely short response times. The z16 machines could process 300 billion interference requests per day with a latency of one millisecond, claim IBM managers, citing their own tests.
Around the new mainframe processor, IBM has introduced a number of additional functions that are tailored to the Telum. This includes "Watson Machine Learning for IBM z/OS", with which users can obtain analysis results from operational data more quickly. This is interesting when it comes to simulating certain events and making predictions for future business development, it said.
The new database release "DB2 13 for z/OS" gets the "SQL Data Insights" feature. It is intended to give users better analytics options and is designed to quickly identify patterns and anomalies in large databases. Overall, IBM has made its AI-based automation techniques available for the z16 mainframes. In this way, users should be able to keep a better eye on their application performance and reduce the risk of failure.
In addition to additional AI and analytics functions, IBM has given its mainframe platform more security. "IBM is committed to helping our customers protect their data today and in the future," said Mauri. Based on quantum-safe cryptography, the manufacturer wants to offer its customers two new functions to support security and resilience strategies.
The "IBM Z Security and Compliance Center", which should be generally available from the end of May 2022, collects information and evidence in the system that can be used in an audit report. In addition, this data should be able to be compared with industry standards such as PCI-DSS. According to IBM, this can speed up audit preparation and help customers simplify their compliance management.
With "IBM Z Flexible Capacity for Cyber Resiliency", customers should be able to react more quickly to operational security requirements. For example, z16 production systems should be able to be backed up completely automatically in different backup systems at different locations.
With its security functions for the mainframe, IBM builds on its own technologies such as "Pervasive Encryption" and "Confidential Computing". The z16 systems, for example, use so-called grid-based cryptography for Secure Boot. This is to prevent hackers from injecting malware into the boot process and thus hijacking the mainframe. A special co-processor, the "Krypto Express 8S", is designed to protect applications and data with the help of classic, but also quantum-safe cryptography.
IBM praises its mainframe platform as suitable for modern application requirements, especially in the business-critical environment. IBM manager Mauri advertises that it is an open, agile platform that can be integrated into hybrid cloud infrastructures. In order to take customers by the hand, IBM has put together various packages of tools, services and consulting services.
IBM is currently the only remaining mainframe systems vendor and is likely to remain so. At the end of February, competitor Fujitsu announced that it would stop selling its mainframes and Unix servers – business with global server mainframes should end in 2030, sales of Unix systems in 2029. Support for these computers should end in 2035 and 2034, respectively. The announcement relates exclusively to the Global Server (GS) line. The BS2000 systems are not affected, it said. Fujitsu will provide and serve this platform for as long as there is a need in the market. According to estimates, around 300 companies and authorities still rely on BS2000.
Fujitsu offers its customers various options and models for migrating their mainframe systems, including applications, to other platforms. For example, the Japanese have set up programs to completely convert mainframe environments to cloud infrastructures, for example from AWS or Microsoft Azure.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: