IBM has released the locks on the z16, the newest member of the Series Z core family, focused on the financial services industry with a processor featuring built-in AI acceleration for real-time fraud detection. The z16 is the successor to the z15 launched in 2019, and IBM hopes to replicate the success of this system that many banks have adopted. A new mainframe computer typically generates higher revenue for IBM, as many customers rely on this type of system as an essential part of their business and are eager to upgrade.
When you think of center frames, you likely have a mental image of an old movie, with punch cards and a computer taking up an entire large room. But the mainframe is still around, and it’s a viable product at IBM. Today, it’s more elegant and powerful, powering data-intensive workloads for the world’s largest industries, with use cases that may not be quite cloud ready.
IBM has unveiled the last mainframe computer in its long history, the z16. It runs on IBM’s own Telum processor, which the company launched last summer. The chip is optimized to run massive workloads, processing 300 billion high-value financial transactions per day with latency of just milliseconds, according to the company.
It is intended for customers who have an urgent need for speed and large volume. The primary use case the company sells for this brutal machine is real-time fraud prevention. Financial institutions in particular are the target customers, but Rick Lewis, senior vice president of IBM Systems, says it’s for any company that handles a large number of critical transactions.
The new IBM z16 platform brings artificial intelligence and cyber resilience to your hybrid cloud using on-chip AI model inference and industry-first quantum security technologies. With hybrid cloud developments making upgrading less risky, it is an essential platform for any digital transformation. Accelerate the decision-making process and gain flexibility to move your business forward.
These are always banking, insurance, public sector, government, healthcare and retail, where there is high transaction throughput, where there is a need for security, reliability and best transaction processing in the world,” said Lewis. According to data provided by IBM, they are the largest companies in the world, Including two-thirds of the Fortune 100, 45 of the world’s 50 largest banks, eight of the ten largest insurers, seven of the ten largest global retailers and eight of the ten largest telecommunications companies, which use mainframe computers.The majority of these devices come from IBM.
The cool thing about this latest announcement, Lewis said, is that we’ve now integrated AI heuristics that are specifically optimized for real-time fraud detection within the chip. The difference is that there is usually a time lag between fraud detection and the moment a consumer becomes aware of it. IBM wants to change that with the z16. Now, this group of customers can access the data [de fraude ventuelle] Real time inside the slide. This is all made possible thanks to our very own VLSI chip called Telum, which we announced last year, but this will be the first system to be shipped with this chip.
Lewis says that while cloud has been great for the industry, he believes there is a whole class of businesses and applications for which cloud is not a viable option, and for a certain percentage of them, a powerful mainframe like the z16 could be the answer.
There was a time when people said that everything would end up in the cloud, and I think what you’re seeing lately is people think that data is everywhere. Not all of them will be in the cloud. “The evolution of the entire IT landscape is moving more towards specialized infrastructure,” he said.
continuity of compliance
The IBM z16 contains new capabilities to make compliance with PCI-DSS regulatory guidelines easier and more productive. Review preparation times can be significantly reduced and require fewer staff to carry out. IBM z16 is integrated with IBM Z Security and Compliance Center to monitor and log system, network, and application data.
An easy-to-use dashboard allows infrastructure personnel to easily and quickly create the reports that auditors need and ensure an ongoing compliance setting that reduces compliance risks and regulatory penalties.
IBM z16 for Hybrid Cloud
IBM zSystems continues to deliver new and improved capabilities for cloud computing on the platform. We empower developers across the enterprise by embracing a wide range of open, industry-standard tools including the Intelligent DevOps methodology for modernization acceleration. Now, we’ve taken another big leap forward in our IBM zSystems update technologies with IBM z16 and Cloud Modernization Stack, IBM says.
It is a flexible, integrated platform to support cloud-native development, applications, and data on z/OS based on cloud-native development, application and data modernization, and infrastructure automation.
The z16’s new AI capabilities could find applications in other areas, according to IBM, which cited examples such as speeding up loan approvals and identifying potentially high-risk transactions or operations early.
Chuba said that IBM has done a very good job crafting other use cases for the AI accelerator for business applications in other sectors, such as insurance, healthcare, algorithmic trading, etc. It can also be used in a z16 environment to anticipate potential failures or improve operations. So it is a great addition to the mainframe architecture.
Meanwhile, IBM also claims that the z16 is the industry’s first quantum-secure system. This means that the computer has mitigating measures against the threat posed by quantum computers, which in the future may be able to crack existing encryption algorithms used to secure sensitive information.
In this case, the attenuation procedure is based on network-based encryption [PDF], which has already been touted by researchers at sites like NIST as a technology that can withstand quantum attack. IBM claims that the z16 with its new Crypto Express 8S adapter card provides quantum secure APIs and access to quantum secure algorithms that were selected as final candidates during the PQC standardization process conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
However, this statement also comes with a caveat, because it is impossible to know what might happen to quantum computers in the future. While many experts believe that truly useful quantum computers won’t be available for another decade, criminals may now intercept and store potentially harmful data if it can be decrypted by a quantum computer in five or ten years.
“Who knows what the world of the possible will be in the next 10-25-50 years,” Chuba said. However, he believes that IBM deserves fame for trying to solve this problem for its customers now. I think IBM’s message that the bad guys can harvest now and decrypt later is an interesting point, because stolen sensitive data that may not be available today can be exploited years from now. If the bad guys can steal now and break my 18-year-old’s Social Security number five or 15 years from now, it would be worth avoiding.
IBM also said it has spent the past three years making significant investments in open source technology on the IBM zSystems platform to create a joint developer experience across the hybrid cloud for customers. These investments are designed to help customers leverage investments in existing IT infrastructure, cloud, and applications, while giving them the flexibility to run, build, manage, and upgrade cloud-native workloads on the go, IBM said.
IBM’s commitment to its highly profitable mainframe contrasts with that of Fujitsu, which announced a roadmap last month to stop manufacturing and selling its mainframe systems by the end of the decade, as support services ceased after five years. As Wall Street analyst Bernstein noted in January, IBM is still benefiting from major computer update cycles and the most recent could add $600-800 million in revenue in 2022, with pre-tax earnings as high as $120-200 million.
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