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IBM Launches z13 Mainframe – Most Powerful and Secure System Ever Built

by david.nunes

IBM Launches z13 Mainframe — Most Powerful and Secure System Ever Built

                — First system able to process 2.5 billion transactions per day, built for mobile economy
— Makes possible real-time encryption on all mobile transactions at scale
— First mainframe system with embedded analytics providing real time transaction insights 17X faster than compared competitive systems at a fraction of the cost

Armonk, NY – 13 Jan 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the z13.  One of the most sophisticated computer systems ever built, it delivers scale and economics together with real-time encryption and analytics to help meet the expectations of consumers for speed and safety for trillions of transactions in the mobile economy. The z13 system culminates a $1 billion investment, five years of development, exploits the innovation of more than 500 new patents and represents a collaboration with more than 60 clients – underscoring IBM’s singular commitment to providing higher-value, innovative technologies to clients. 

IBM’s new mainframe provides unprecedented new capabilities, including: 

  • z13 is the first system able to process 2.5 billion transactions a day – equivalent of 100 Cyber Mondays every day of the year.  z13 transactions are persistent, protected and auditable from end-to-end, adding assurance as mobile transactions grow — estimated to grow to 40 trillion mobile transactions per day by 2025. [1]
  • z13 is the first system to make practical real-time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale.  z13 speeds real-time encryption of mobile transactions to help protect the transaction data and ensure response times consistent with a positive customer experience.  The system includes 500 new patents including cryptographic encryption technologies that enable more security features for mobile initiated transactions.
  • z13 is the first mainframe system with embedded analytics providing real-time insights on all transactions. This capability can help guarantee the ability of the client to run real-time fraud detection on 100 percent of their business transactions by delivering ‘on the fly’ analytic insights that are 17X faster than compared competitive systems at a fraction of the cost. [2] 

The rapid growth of mobile applications has created consumers who expect mobile transactions to be fast and seamless – regardless of which mobile payment platform, retailer, or financial organization is providing the service. As a result, businesses are being forced to evaluate whether their IT infrastructures can support mobile applications that meet and exceed these consumer expectations — or face the potential of losing clients to competing businesses.

 “Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smart phone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment. The z13 is designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy.  Only the IBM mainframe can put the power of the world’s most secure datacenters in the palm of your hand,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems. “Consumers expect fast, easy and secure mobile transactions. The implication for business is the creation of a secure, high performance infrastructure with sophisticated analytics.”

z13 Helps with Secure, Trusted Mobile Transactions

As mobile adoption grows, consumers are driving exponentially larger numbers of mobile transactions. Each of these mobile transactions triggers a cascade of events across computing systems. These events include comparisons to past purchases, data encryption and decryption, bank-to-bank reconciliations, and customer loyalty discounts. This cascade of events causes a so-called “starburst effect” – where a single transaction can trigger as few as four or as many as 100 additional system interactions.

Consequently, the starburst effect can create security vulnerabilities at each interaction point. In fact, 71 percent of CIOs and IT managers surveyed by IBM indicated that security is their most significant mobile enterprise challenge. [3] With data and transactions under constant threat from multiple points of attack, consumers want to know that their mobile transactions are as secure as financial data held by banks. 

When combined with IBM MobileFirst solutions, the z13 delivers enhanced performance, availability, analytics and security that will drive optimal mobile user experiences.  IBM MobileFirst Platform enables organizations to deliver better, more secure apps. IBM MobileFirst Protect delivers seamless security and end-to-end management of clients’ infrastructure and all its devices, apps, content and transactions.

Providing Insight with Every Transaction

The z13 features the world’s fastest microprocessor, 2X faster than the most common server processors, 300 percent more memory, 100 percent more bandwidth and vector processing analytics to speed mobile transactions. As a result, the z13 transaction engine is capable of analyzing transactions in “real time” and will be able to help prevent fraud as it is occurring, allowing financial institutions to halt the transaction before the consumer is impacted. IBM has designed the z13 to integrate real-time scoring and guarantees this capability as a feature of the system. This scoring can be used for fraud detection on 100 percent of a client’s business transactions. [4]

In addition to assistance with fraud prevention, businesses looking to enhance their customer loyalty programs will be able to use new z13 capabilities to add more personalization by gaining a real-time view of a client’s purchasing habits to offer up-sell and cross-sell promotions before they leave the store — and in some cases before they even enter.

Businesses today don’t have the ability to analyze 100 percent of a consumer’s transaction. With the z13, businesses will be able to use IBM’s predictive analytics modeling technology, SPSS, and personalize the transaction as it occurs.

The z13 includes new support for Hadoop, enabling unstructured data to be analyzed in the system. Other analytics advances include faster acceleration of queries by adding DB2 BLU for Linux providing an in-memory database, enhancements to the IBM DB2 analytics accelerator, and vastly improved performance for mathematically intense analytics workloads.

The z13 is the ideal private or hybrid cloud architecture, legendary for its ability to scale and reliably and securely handle multiple workloads. In a scale-out model, it is capable of running up to 8,000 virtual servers — more than 50 virtual servers per core, helping to lower software, energy and facilities costs.

The z13 lowers the cost of running cloud. For compared environments, it is estimated that a z Systems cloud on a z13 will have a 32 percent lower total cost of ownership over three years than an x86 cloud and a 60 percent lower total cost of ownership over three years than a public cloud. [5] Additionally, the z13 is based on open standards, fully supporting Linux and OpenStack.

As part of today’s announcement, IBM will also unveil a preview of new z/OS software that delivers advanced analytic and data serving capabilities.  When available, this new operating system will expand the ability of z13 to process in-memory analytics and provide analysis on mobile transactions, helping clients to further extend mainframe enterprise applications to the mobile user.

This launch complements IBM’s ongoing investments to help clients drive mobile innovation across the enterprise. IBM’s 6,000 mobile specialists have been at the forefront of mobile enterprise innovation. IBM has secured more than 4,300 patents in mobile, social and security, which have been incorporated into IBM MobileFirst solutions that enable enterprise clients to streamline and accelerate mobile adoption, helping enterprises embrace mobile from the ground up.

IBM Global Financing offerings for the new model z13 include customized Fair Market Value leases with payment deferrals for credit qualified customers that want to upgrade from older models to z13, convert an owned z system to leasing while upgrading, or acquire a net new z13.

Journalists and bloggers can download video and photos at http://thenewsmarket.com/The-z13-the-Most-Powerful-and-Secure-System-Ever-Built

For more information on z13 and the IBM z Systems portfolio, visit ibm.com/systems/z

For additional content and shareable assets visit Mainframe Insights www.mainframeinsights.com


[1] – “Technology Economics of the Mainframe Part 3 — Mainframe and Mobile” – January 2015

[2] Based on IBM internal tests comparing IBM zEnterprise Analytics System 9700 with a comparably priced, comparably tuned competitor Eighth Unit configuration (version available as of 12/31/2014), executing a materially identical 10 TB BIDAY “Fixed Execution” workload in a controlled laboratory environment. Competitor configuration: Eighth Unit including competitor recommended software options and features.  IBM configuration: z13 platform with 1CP and 3 zIIPs with 128GB memory and DB2 Analytics Accelerator Full Rack (N3001-10) with 7 S-blades (140 Intel E5-2680v2 2.8GHz cores and 128 GB RAM), 2 Hosts (1 active – 1 passive) with 20 Intel E5-4650v2 2.4GHz cores each and 12 disk enclosures, each with 24 600GB SAS drives. Results may not be typical and will vary based on actual workload, configuration, applications, queries and other variables in a production environment. Users of this document should verify the applicable data for their specific environment.

[3] – http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=SA&subtype=WH&htmlfid=ENW03011USEN#loaded

  • [4] To qualify, clients will need to install a z13, the latest versions of DB2 & SPSS Scoring Adapter, and follow IBM’s capacity planning implementation instructions and processes. Guarantee will be in place for 1 year aligned with warranty period.

[5] – Performance comparison based on IBM Internal tests comparing IBM z13 cloud with one comparably configured private x86 cloud and one comparably configured public cloud running an aggregation of light, medium and heavy workloads designed to replicate typical IBM customer workload usage in the marketplace.  System configurations are based on equivalence ratios derived from IBM internal studies and are as follows: Public Cloud configuration: total of 219 instances (128 for light workloads, 64 for medium workloads and 27 for heavy workloads); x86 Cloud configuration: total of eleven x86 systems each with 24 Intel E7-8857 v2 3.0GHz cores, 512GB memory, and 7x400GB SSDs; z13 Cloud configuration: total of 32 IFLs, 3806GB memory, and Storwize v7000 with 47x400GB SSDs.  Price comparison estimates based on a 3YR Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) using publicly available U.S. prices (including a 20% discount for middleware) current as of January 1, 2015. Public Cloud TCO estimate includes costs (US East Region) of infrastructure (instances, data out, storage, support, free tier/reserved tier discounts), middleware and labor.  z13 and x86 TCO estimates include costs of infrastructure (system, memory, storage, virtualization, OS, cloud management), middleware, power, floor space and labor. Results may vary based on actual workloads, system configurations, customer applications, queries and other variables in a production environment and may produce different results. Users of this document should verify the applicable data for their specific environment. 

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