IBM is building mainframe features for security and machine learning into slimmed-down chassis that fit in standard data center racks, for a new generation of cloud applications.
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has launched two new systems as part of its mainframe line, the IBM z14 Model ZR1 and IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper II, building on pervasive encryption, cloud connectivity, and analytics capabilities launched last year in its Z14 mainframe. The systems are built into chassis that can be housed in industry-standard 19" data center racks, with standardized airflow and power capabilities, to make them easier for enterprise IT to deploy in existing infrastructure. (See IBM Brings Big Iron to the Big Cloud.)
"IBM is redefining mainframes for the cloud," Tina Tarquino, program director and offering lead for IBM Z, said in an interview. "Skinny is the size but the function and capabilities are huge."
IBM also introduced the Secure Service Container, providing a broad range of security for cloud applications -- including malware detection and and "pervasive encryption." Secure Service Containers protect against internal threats from users with elevated credentials or attackers who obtain a user's credentials, as well as external threats, with no application changes. Applications need only to be put in a Docker container for Secure Service Container deployment, managed using included Docker and Kubernetes tools. (See IBM Launches 'Continuous' Security & Kubernetes on Bare Metal.)
The Rockhopper II system builds on the Emperor II system introduced last year, with both systems designed to run Linux applications. The Rockhopper II runs Secure Service Container, to bring the reliability of the mainframe to secure Linux applications, performing encryption at scale for security and compliance.
"Mainframes are seeing new life in the cloud era as "the most stable, secure and mature environment to support IT initiatives including the proliferation of blockchains," the company says in a blog post scheduled to go live Tuesday. Mainframes process 87% of credit card transactions and nearly $8 trillion payments annually, and 29 billion ATM transactions equivalent to nearly $5 billion per day, as well as 4 billion passenger flights per year. (See Mainframe Cloud? That's Nuts! and IBM Launches 'Continuous' Security & Kubernetes on Bare Metal.)
The mainframe has been important to IBM's recent turnaround, showing revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 for the first time after 22 quarters of straight decline. (See IBM Earnings Lesson: Don't Call the Mainframe a Dinosaur.)
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— Mitch Wagner Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading