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October 22, 2018

Mainframes have been toiling behind the scenes in colleges, hospitals, banks, and other medium-to-large organizations for decades. For a time, it seemed that servers would take the place of mainframes. However, with the growing need for robust security, fast performance, and big data analytics, the mainframe has only increased in importance.

Here are a few of the reasons that organizations are increasingly choosing mainframes for their compute needs today:

  1. Performance: Mainframes have the processing power to support strategic business initiatives such as big data analytics and machine learning. Many organizations rely on mainframes to run their business-critical and revenue-generating applications and workloads.
  2. Security: With robust features like pervasive security, organizations are investing in mainframes to help them meet security and compliance requirements, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), recently put into effect by the European Union (EU).
  3. Cost containment: As data volumes continue to increase exponentially, organizations are focused on traditional data infrastructure optimization to help control costs. Mainframes are a cost-effective way to manage large data sets.

As evidence of the continued interest in mainframe computing, mainframes have kept pace with other technology and are modernizing at an astonishing rate. For example, IBM recently released the z14 mainframe. Boasting a new, high-performing chipset and advanced security features, the z14 is a significant step forward from its predecessor, the z13.

In this article, we’ll examine the new features and capabilities of the IBM z14 ZR1. With significant advancements in encryption, security, and performance, the z14 may well be the most advanced business computing system in the world.

z14 Highlights

Here is a snapshot of the features and capabilities of the IBM z14 ZR1:

  • The z14 uses multiple hardware-assisted cryptography features that enable pervasive encryption.
  • It is estimated that the z14 can execute more than 140 billion instructions per second.
  • The z14 features a 10-core processor that runs at 5.2 GHz.
  • The system can have 32 TB of memory (RAIM) and 240 PU cores.
  • A new I/O link, the IBM zHyperLink Express can support up to 32 ports with link data rates up to 8 GB per second, or 64 Gb per second each.

Even with the power and advanced features of the z14 mainframe, its physical footprint is surprisingly small, roughly the size of a commercial refrigerator. The system was designed using core z strengths, such as RACF for system-managed storage and security, plus new innovations, such as the enhanced chipset. These enhancements have significantly increased performance, reducing the number of cycles needed to perform tasks, such as encryption. Depending on workload requirements, environment, and other factors, you can see as much as a 50% reduction in cycles required for encryption. This adds up to significant savings on overhead.

IBM’s goal with the z14 is to satisfy the increasing demand for analytics, cloud, and security. Applications can run in a reliable, secure, and trusted environment, which decreases business risk and improves operations.

z14 Benefits

With pervasive security, cloud integration, and high performance, there are several key benefits that organizations can gain from switching to the z14.

GDPR-Compliant Encryption

The real strength of the z14 mainframe is that it is fully integrated with built-in cryptography. Its multiple parts all work together. Data is stored encrypted at the OS level, making the z14 automatically compliant with the new GDPR, which requires all breaches be reported unless the data was anonymized or encrypted.

z14 Processor Speeds Reduce Overhead

The speed and efficiency of the new core processors in the z14 translate into overhead savings for businesses. Customers who switch to the z14 have seen a 20% to 50% reduction in encryption cycles, which means major savings in overhead costs.

If you are curious as to whether the z14 mainframe could improve your security posture and reduce your overhead, talk to a mainframe expert at PSR. We can evaluate your current environment and estimate how much efficiency you could gain by stepping up to the z14.

Contact a PSR mainframe expert today.