October 2, 2019 By Avrohom Gottheil 3 min read

From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders to share their opinions and insights on current technology trends to the IBM Systems IT Infrastructure blog. The opinions in these posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM.

I had the pleasure of attending the recent launch of the brand new IBM z15 mainframe. It was a very exciting event that included IBM engineers, subject matter experts, IBM clients and a team of industry thought leaders, including myself. The event included a lot of fanfare, plus an incredible 360-degree view of New York City from up on the 68th floor of the World Trade Center!

After speaking with many subject matter experts, my biggest takeaway from the event is that the benefits of the IBM z15 can be categorized into the following three pillars:

  1. Encryption everywhere
  2. Cloud native development
  3. IBM Z Instant Recovery

Let’s go through each one of these pillars.

Encryption everywhere: We are living in a time when data breaches are so common that people just accept those occurrences as a part of life. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when, something happens. In order to protect you and your ecosystem, IBM z15 has the industry’s first commercial data privacy and security enforcement solution with off-platform access revocation, called Data Privacy Passports. You can choose who accesses data, when, and at what level to revoke their access.

Let’s say for example you’re working on a joint project with a business partner. Then, one day your partner’s company gets bought out by your biggest competitor. Ordinarily, that would be a cause for immediate concern. After all, you’re working on a joint project with much of your intellectual property embedded in the workflow. Now, your biggest competitor has all of your treasured intellectual property!

The IBM z15’s Data Privacy Passport enables you to instantly revoke access to your data, so that your former partner is not able to share your company secrets with the competition. That’s a very powerful capability and the first of its kind.

Cloud-native development: Cloud-native development simplifies life for your developers as they build new applications and modernize existing ones. Let’s say, for example, that one of your core business applications is a COBOL program, which resides on a server in a back room closet and stores its data in a huge flat file. This scenario presents two inherent challenges for your digital transformation effort. The first challenge is how do you “cloud-enable” this ancient application along with its archaic flat file database? The second challenge is that for 50 years no one has had to worry about cybersecurity. The application is running on a server in a secure location, and no one has access to it. As soon as this crucial and sensitive application moves to the cloud, suddenly, you have a new problem to worry about! Is it even worth it?

This is the beauty of the IBM z15. Its inherent cloud-native development capability enables you to seamlessly integrate your legacy application into your hybrid cloud environment using a set of APIs. Encryption everywhere ensures that the application at the heart of your business stays secure.

IBM Z Instant Recovery: Instant recovery reduces the impact of planned and unplanned downtime. Mainframes are the backbone of the world’s largest organizations. We’re talking about banks, governments, service providers, and global enterprises. In today’s fast-paced world, where most of our transactions are conducted online, downtime is just not tolerated. You can’t tell a stockbroker to come back later because his financial institution’s mainframe just experienced a hiccup.

If you’ve ever heard of the term “five 9’s reliability”, then you’ll be happy to hear that IBM z15 is now equipped with seven 9’s of reliability! What this means is that on the average, your mainframe will not experience unplanned downtime for more than 3 seconds per year!

Keep in mind that all systems need some downtime for routine maintenance and security patching. However, the goal is to get the system through maintenance and back up in service as quickly as possible. The IBM z15 has a series of spare processors on reserve that are leveraged by its System Recovery Boost feature. As part of instant recovery on the IBM z15, it will help bring the system back online in a fraction of time compared to the z14. It’s like having a spare tire in your trunk in case of a flat.

In conclusion, mainframes are the backbone of our digital economy. As you’re building the fabric of your hybrid cloud environment, you should take into consideration security, data privacy, seamless migration of legacy mission-critical applications, uptime and recovery. With regards to this criteria, IBM z15 checks all of the boxes.

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