Keeping the pace of innovation for mainframe

By | 4 minute read | April 10, 2018

New MainframeBusiness demands for trusted digital experiences and greater agility are two of the strongest currents driving business transformation and modernization these days, especially in the mainframe arena. This week, IBM is announcing a single-frame IBM Z built on an industry-standard 19” form factor, designed to create a low-cost, secure cloud infrastructure and capitalize on new opportunities through digital experiences.  This same week, IBM is also announcing new DS8880 storage capabilities, specially designed in collaboration with the IBM Z team, to maximize the benefits provided by mainframe environments.

Accelerating adoption of mainframe processors, new generation applications such as real-time analytics and artificial intelligence are driving a surge in mainframe popularity and usage[1]. This means that data storage designed specifically to provide lower latency, greater throughput and increased agility to mainframe environments is now more important than ever.

It’s a tall order for most storage systems, but right in the sweet spot of IBM DS8880F data systems. Now, the DS8880F family is upping the ante even further by providing additional IBM zHyperLink coverage and 10-gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

”Critical business operations continue to run on the mainframe in the 21st century,” notes Randy Kerns, analyst at the Evaluator Group.  “Getting more work done, enabled by the extreme low-latency zHyperLink connection on all DS8880 models, brings more value from the elements in the mainframe environment – applications, storage, and processing. Greater performance draws new generation workloads to the economics of the mainframe. Economic improvements continue with the release of faster networking for Transparent Cloud Tiering – now with 10-gigabit Ethernet. Effectively exploiting multi-cloud capability with the mainframe adds to the overall economic gains.”

To address the need for even higher mainframe processing performance, last year IBM announced zHyperLink, the result of an IBM research project created to provide ultra-low latency links between IBM mainframes and their storage. zHyperLink is the first new mainframe input/output (I/O) channel link technology since FICON.[2]

Originally, zHyperLink was only available on the DS8886F model; but now, the DS8880F family offers this ultra-low latency connectivity across all models. The technology provides less than 20 microseconds application response time, which represents a 10x latency reduction compared to High Performance FICON3, enabling the lowest application response times for IBM Z in the market.

Along with increased zHyperLink coverage, the DS8880F data systems also now offer 10-gigabit Ethernet adapters to move more data, faster.4 Transparent Cloud Tiering (TCT) helps to automate the movement of data to and from the cloud. Larger volumes of more complex data have put an emphasis on archiving tasks in IBM Z environments, which in turn consumes more mainframe resources. TCT technology offloads much of the management workload for moving data to and from the cloud to the DS8880 array itself, reducing mainframe CPU utilization for these tasks by up to 50 percent in certain cases when archiving large data sets.5 The new 10-gigabit Ethernet cards allow greater data throughput between the cloud and IBM Z platforms, increasing overall system performance and helping the cloud become an even more attractive resource for mainframe environments.

New MainframeIBM mainframe customers and storage business partners are already recognizing the value of lowering system latency and increasing throughput across IBM Z infrastructures.

“Our customers who have deployed mainframe processors are moving more and more work onto these systems. They need storage that can keep pace,” states, Bob Elliott, Vice President of Storage Sales for Mainline Information Systems, an IBM Business Partner. “The latest announcements from IBM Storage give our customers even greater confidence that their DS8880 systems can provide the performance and cloud connectivity they need to move at the speed of 21st-century business.”

In order to keep pace with digital transformation and the accelerated mainframe activity driven by 21st-century business, storage solutions must provide faster performance and simplified cloud connectivity. IBM DS8880F data systems are answering the call. Maybe it’s time that you made a call to your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner to learn more about how to accelerate your business.

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[1] Compuware: Inside Tech Talk: New BMC Survey: Digital Business Impacts Mainframe, Is Here to Stay, November 2016 (

[2] IBM developerWorks: IBM DS8880 zHyperLinks gives low latency access to storage, April 2017 (

[3] zHyperLink Express is designed for up to 10x lower read latency than High Performance FICON. The projection is based on z14 and zHyperLink test results conducted by IBM.

[4] Based on internal laboratory tests performed by IBM. Data is moved faster when using a 10 Gigabit card as compared with the use of a 1 Gigabit Ethernet card

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