Saturday, 22 July 2017
Latest news
Main » IBM launches IBM Z, a revamped mainframe with pervasive data encryption

IBM launches IBM Z, a revamped mainframe with pervasive data encryption

17 July 2017

The company's Z mainframe system is powerful enough to automatically encrypt all of the data that passes through it. IBM Z differs from traditional mainframes that only encrypt small slices of information due to their lack of power.

Ross Mauri, general manager IBM Z, gave out an (unencrypted) canned quote saying: "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". As Mauri said, even if hackers could somehow get through all of these defenses, the encryption would render the data useless.

An analysis from Toni Sacconaghi Jr for Bernstein Research says IBM's hardware business is in secular decline, and, while mainframe hardware contributes just 3 per cent of Big Blue's revenues, the overall mainframe platform accounted for almost a quarter of total IBM revenues and an estimated 40 per cent of profits in 2016.

Container pricing for IBM Z is planned to be available by year-end 2017 and enabled in z/OS V2.2 and z/OS V2.3. "Where the platform embraced Linux and open source software, IBM Z now dramatically expands the protective cryptographic umbrella of the world's most advanced encryption technology and key protection".

Computer hardware in general and large mainframe-style computers have taken a big hit in the dawning era of cloud computing. As a result, encryption performance is seven times faster than on IBM's previous-generation z13 mainframe and, according to IBM, 18 times faster than systems powered by Intel Corp.'s x86 chips.

To further beef up security, IBM has also encrypted APIs and encryption keys.

Along with compliance with data governance rules, IBM is also targeting its encryption engine at emerging application such as blockchains, the distributed databases for digital transactions.

Citigroup Inc 2Q 2017, Wells Fargo & Co 2Q 2017 Earnings Reported
BidaskClub upgraded shares of Wells Fargo & Co from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. Despite only Citigroup , Wells Fargo and JPMorgan releasing earnings, much of the wider banking sector is falling.

The IBM Z (pictured, with IBM distinguished engineer Karl Casserly, left, and hardware engineer Rhonda Sundlof) features what the company calls "pervasive encryption", providing the ability to encrypt all data in an application, database or cloud service.

Pund-IT analyst Charles King says, however, that the container pricing approach has the potential to be more cost-effective in the long run than earlier mainframe pricing schemes.

The mainframe can support 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, two million Docker containers and 1,000 concurrent NoSQL databases, supported by three times the memory of its predecessor, the z13, and three times the I/O and transaction processing capabilities.

"There are six that we've built and more in the future", said Mauri.

Applications that do need to decrypt the data will run under a special user ID that can access the decryption key - but such user IDs typically cannot be used to log in to the system, making it harder for hackers to both grab a file and decrypt it. "We located them around the world for latency and more for regulations and data locality". "Encryption is the flawless defense because it brings the [security] back to the data itself". The mainframe offers "tamper responding" hardware that invalidates encryption keys as soon as a sign of intrusion is detected, and can then restore them safely.

Encrypted application programming interfaces so developers can build applications and services.

These pricing models are scalable within and across logical partitions (LPARs) and provide better metering, capping and billing.

IBM launches IBM Z, a revamped mainframe with pervasive data encryption