New IBM Z mainframe takes on encryption

IBM Z mainframe heralds a new era of highly-encrypted data security

IBM Z mainframe ushers in a new era of data protection with pervasive encryption

Big Blue has launched its latest, newest, biggest, baddest mainframe, the z14 system. IBM said the Z represents the "most significant system overhaul" in more than 15 years.

IBM will debut the newest in its decades-long series of mainframe computers for mainstream transaction processing Monday, this time focusing in particular on better protection of more data wherever it resides. The Z also has three times the memory for faster response times and analytics performance and three times faster data movement. The result is a sevenfold increase in cryptographic performance over the z13 mainframe, he said.

The ability to run Java workloads 50% faster than x86 alternatives.

These solutions work with pervasive encryption to provide comprehensive data security capabilities to protect your information.

The new encryption engine is capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions every day.

Encrypting everything, and restricting access to the keys, is one way to reduce the risk and impact of data breaches. The bulk encryption approach is touted as delivering seven-fold increase in cryptographic performance over its previous Z Systems generation. It supports 2,000,000 Docker containers and 1,000 concurrent NoSQL databases. The capability can be extended to other devices such as storage systems and servers in the cloud. "It's like a security blanket across the entire system - database, applications, data at rest, data in flight, APIs, etc. - that can just be turned on, rather than manually picking and choosing what to encrypt, which typically has led to much [data] remaining unencrypted", he explained. Mainframes are still widely used in financial services.

As more stringent data protection rules enter into force, increasing enterprise requirements for encryption, IBM is stepping into the breach with an encryption engine based on its Z Systems mainframe aimed at locking down data across applications, cloud platforms and databases.

"The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very hard and expensive to do at scale", stated Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Z. Solitaire modeled the cost of running a business on IBM's z14 and compared it with data from thousands of businesses using x86 systems of different sizes to selectively encrypt data.

"We think this will be broadly adopted across financial services, government, retail and travel and transportation", said Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z. "We have created a data protection engine for the cloud era that we believe will have a significant and immediate impact on global data security".

As for pricing, IBM unveiled three container pricing models.

IBM Z, as it's called, means that firms don't have to pick, choose and manage which data is encrypted. The pervasive encryption should encourage security-conscious CIOS to keep mainframe apps on the mainframe and in-house, helping to stem the dykes walling off the X86 server and public cloud seas threatening to breach its proprietary mainframe profit centre.

For one, IBM has been steadily improving its encryption algorithms in recent years.

Mauri said the core of the system-software, hardware and firmware-is usually in development about 3 years.

Computer hardware in general and large mainframe-style computers have taken a big hit in the dawning era of cloud computing.

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