Banking

The new IBM Z and IBM DS8880: Mainstays in financial services data centers

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Deep changes are sweeping the financial services industry. Lofty expectations by millennials, FinTech upstarts, stinging memories of the financial meltdown, and a growing body of stringent regulations are just a few causes for industry-wide upheaval. Despite the changes, though, there are some constants; look at the data foundations at financial institutions and you’ll find that things are rather stable.

For decades, two foundational systems, the IBM Z Mainframe and its steadfast storage companion, the IBM DS8000 System, have run the lion’s share of mission critical applications across the industry. Enhanced regularly, the systems enable financial firms to stay ahead of challenges and leverage new opportunities. The recent announcements bear testimony to the two systems’ leadership and constant progression in financial services.

Long-standing leadership


Like the Dynamic Duo, IBM Z and the IBM DS8000 run deep with synergies. They have, in fact, been the server/storage gold standard for the industry, winning customer trust with the most robust levels of security, performance, reliability, and resiliency. It’s worth looking at some data points to grasp the significant role these offerings play across financial services:

  • 19 of the top 20 world banks use DS8000 and IBM Z for core banking
  • The DS8000 family is the #1 storage for Mainframe environments[1]
  • 92 of the largest 100 banks run on IBM Z
  • 10 of the 10 largest insurers run on IBM Z

So, what’s new?


IBM announced the new IBM z14 Mainframe alongside an improved all-flash DS8880. The release of both systems on the same day is symbolic, making financial services institutions even better positioned to take advantage of a new era in which data is a new source of business value and differentiation.

With the new systems, financial services companies are better placed to engage with customers and provide the agility necessary to compete in today’s challenging environment:

  • Improved customer engagement: in tandem, the systems accelerate insights and enable real-time decision making thanks to a two-fold performance improvement of the all-flash DS8880 as well as zHyperLink, new IBM Research-developed technology that reduces up to 10 times[2] the application response times compared to High Performance FICON.
  • Enhanced agility and cost takeout: financial institutions can move aged data to lower cost targets whether on-premises (e.g, tape, IBM Cloud Object Storage), or off-premises to the cloud with Transparent Cloud Tiering (e.g., Amazon Web Services); and they can do so directly from the Mainframe or from the DS8880. The latter, moving data from storage, enables over 50% savings[3] in server-side CPU utilization, allowing users to deploy cognitive and analytics applications which can improve customer engagement.

And what’s not so new?

The enhancements are heaped on top of the highest levels of security, availability, reliability, and performance – all proven in the field. The new Mainframe and DS8880 will stay the course as leading offerings for the financial services industry, providing 99.9999% availability, advanced encryption technologies, and industry-leading disaster recovery.

IBM’s development approach for these two systems will also remain unchanged. In this context, it’s noteworthy that IBM storage and mainframe teams work closely to design, develop, and test the systems to ensure they deliver business value to customers months to years ahead of the competition. In addition, the teams co-developed the systems with large banks, receiving input that can be acted upon in real-time.

Want to learn more about the new systems’ synergies and how they can improve customer engagement and cut costs in your data center?  Register for this July 25 webinar.

[1] Based on data from IDC WW Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker file, March 2, 2017

[2] The projection was based on IBM z14 and zHyperlink results with DS8886 and IBM z13 measurements that provided results for I/O interrupts and dispatching.

[3] Results are based on preliminary internal IBM data measurements on an IBM zEnterprise EC12 model when migrating data sets exceeding 6000 3390 tracks in size. Results will vary by customer based on particular workloads, onfigurations, software levels and the quantity and size of data sets being migrated.

Read this blog by Ian Hurst about the IBM announcement of the new IBM z14 Mainframe, “From selective encryption to pervasive encryption: how IBM z will protect data with just one click“.

Marketing Manager, Financial Services IBM Storage Systems and Software Defined Infrastructure

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