Editor’s note: A team of analysts from Technology Business Research take a detailed look at IBM’s new z14 mainframe, which was announced Monday, generating headlines worldwide. What’s beyond the hype?
If the world is a global open‐airair market, then IBM’s Z products are the tent poles — the foundation upon which we integrate global markets — and hold up the tents of security, analytics and insight over our digital economy.
Throughout its 100‐plus years of operation, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has again and again been the provider of cutting‐edge technology that changes the way business commerce occurs. IBM Z remains the backbone within this tradition.
As the digital economy evolves rapidly, data stores increase exponentially, resulting in two fundamental issues arising. The first being the integration of data from multiple sources and the second being how to protect and secure that data. IBM’s newest addition, the z14, addresses that security problem through pervasive encryption of all data on the mainframe, which is a large shift in security management. In fact, IBM stated that of the data breaches that have occurred since 2013, only 4% of the data was encrypted. This is especially true for industries including government, financial services and healthcare, where data in need of high security flows abundantly. As a result, customers increasingly demand hardware vendors provide them with answers on how to adequately address these rising concerns and the rapidly increasing masses of unstructured data they have the responsibility to protect.
IBM’s response: the z14.
IBM unveils a mainframe to address the workload demands of the future: z14
IBM designed z14 to address the concerns of the future, where securing data forms the new perimeter in IBM’s view. IBM Z provides customers with cognitive analytics to not only increase the value of the data stored on z14 but also provide an increased volume of insights at a faster pace across unstructured data originating elsewhere. IBM Z continues to facilitate reuse of the legacy application through full life‐cycle support of APIs, enabling activities such as refactoring the front end to extend the useful life of the back‐office transactions and reporting requirements that remain universal no matter how the consumer interacts with the front office.
IBM’s Z analyst preview focused on the three main pillars of its new z14 product launch — with trust as a key theme of the launch. IBM’s Z product family has historically been perceived as having a higher degree of trust among consumers than its x86 counterparts due to IBM’s long‐standing focus on developing the technological tent poles to hold up and secure mission‐critical workloads with industry‐leading security capabilities. Another one of the main themes at the analyst preview involved the ability of z14 to be leveraged in modern environments, such as the cloud, to address the demands of the future, such as analytics and connecting a customer’s cloud‐based environments with on‐premises counterparts.
Data encryption on the fly for digital business
One of the key focal points of the IBM z14 product launch was the mainframe’s high degree of encryption capabilities. The z14 can encrypt 100% of the data stored on the z14 “on the fly.” IBM Chief Information Security Officer Shamla Naidoo outlined the necessity of encrypting data as well as the unnecessary waste of manual resources often used to determine which data requires encryption. With the z14, IBM has stated that 100% of the data can be encrypted with only a minor impact on performance. Naidoo reinforced that while encrypting 100% of the data will slow performance, the performance decrease will be minimal and there will be an overall savings due to reduced labor costs.
IBM’s z14 leverages the company’s security portfolio, including QRadar, which simplifies the compliance mandate, and Guardium, which provides more granular protection, to enable customers to encrypt sensitive rows or columns of data. While TBR does not believe leveraging IBM’s related security portfolio is necessarily an advantage for the company, as vendors including Dell Technologies (NYSE: DVMT) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) also have this advantage, it does enable customers to obtain a pre‐configured solution, which is increasingly desirable in the evolving market.
Part two: Bringing apps and data to the mainframe for intelligence and insight