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Uncertain Times Call for Certain Computing

Resiliency, availability and serviceability underscore the relevance of IBM Z

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Many people are uninformed about the IBM Z® platform’s relevance, and ask “Why the mainframe?” But in this era of uncertain economic times, we need to be asking a different question: “Why not the mainframe?” Do you want the best in resiliency, availability and serviceability? The mainframe has that. What about the ability to run open source, like Linux®? Yes, the mainframe has that, too. And are you at all concerned about security? The mainframe has remarkable resiliency, continuity, data privacy and security capabilities built in.

Data Centers Must Be Resilient and Secure

Recent years have certainly taught us that our data centers must be both resilient and secure. And the mainframe meets these requirements like no other platform.  

Let’s start with resiliency. IT resiliency is the ability to adapt to planned or unplanned events, while keeping services and operations running continuously. IBM Z solutions are designed for 99.99999% availability. Couple that with the ability to process high-volume transactions with the utmost security and you’ve got the perfect machine suited for new technologies such as AI, machine learning and high-performance computing.  

Now let’s talk about security. We’ve all seen the unfortunate growth of cyberattacks. The IBM LinuxONE™ has you covered with built-in secure execution, a hardware-based security technology that creates isolated trusted execution environments that restrict access to business-critical or sensitive data, but still allow administrators and developers to perform their jobs. Secure execution can also help mitigate potential internal dangers, ensuring the integrity of all data and applications and helping your business meet compliance regulations.  

The IBM Z platform also has built-in pervasive encryption, which enables extensive encryption of all data, whether it’s at-rest or in-flight. The result is robust security at the hardware level, which substantially simplifies the encryption of data. Why is this important? It enables you to meet compliance requirements without making
application or database changes.  

Now more than ever, you need to protect your valuable data, keep your system up and running, and maintain compliance. Secure mainframes can help you protect your enterprise, detect threats, comply with policy and regulations, and reduce costs.

COVID-19 Research and the Mainframe

IBM Z is well suited for AI, machine learning and high-performance computing. For the same reasons, it’s well suited for medical research regarding COVID-19.  

Medical researchers are using AI to reduce drug development timelines to mere months or weeks. This is very good news for the development of both a COVID-19 vaccine and/or treatment. From streamlining the search for data to aiding in the hunt for treatment, researchers are being aided by AI-powered technologies that will run on the mainframe.

Machine learning algorithms are also being used to optimize the allocation of personnel and resources. The solutions use predictive insights based on accessible data, such as confirmed cases, test results, population density, medical resources and more.  

The bottom line is that mainframes are up to this task because they can handle multiple bulk transactions simultaneously, excel at number crunching and are capable of handling big data and analytics. The combination of AI, machine learning and mainframes has allowed scientists to come together to use the power of data for good. 

The Power of Many

Mainframe has always had a strong community. Now, with the ability to run open source (including Linux) on the mainframe, this community has grown and become even more attractive to developer mindsets.  

The Open Mainframe Project (OMP) is intended to serve as a focal point for deployment and the use of Linux and open source in an IBM Z environment. OMP is an open-source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources. To that end, the OMP is key to driving the growth of a number of open-source projects to keep the mainframe relevant. Two of these projects include: 

  1. Zowe™ which, like MacOS® or Microsoft® Windows®, comes with a set of APIs and OS capabilities that applications build on. It allows modern interfaces to interact with IBM z/OS® and facilitates working with z/OS in a way that’s similar to what one would experience on cloud platforms today. 
  2. Feilong, an IBM z/VM® cloud connector project that accelerates z/VM adoption, extending its ecosystem and its user experience. It enables management of the VM lifecycle dynamically and automatically through REST API without the need to manually provision, manage and destroy guests. Feilong also provides a software development kit to make it easy to develop system management tools.

Why Mainframes?

With the number of transactional workloads continuing to rise, the mainframe’s value continues to increase. And with the modern mainframe, you get data privacy, security and resiliency all on an industry-leading computing platform.

Additionally, emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, high performance computing and blockchain are already taking advantage of the vast processing power of today’s modern mainframe systems.  

For that reason, the future of the mainframe continues to look bright. According to a 2019 Mainframe Survey1 of more than 1,100 executives and IT professionals across industries:

  • 93% believe in the combined long-term and new workload strength of the platform, the highest level of confidence since 2013
  • 52% believe the mainframe will support growth in new workloads, a significant increase from past years and a sign of IT and business confidence
  • 59% of executives recognize the mainframe as a platform for growth, an increase from 51% in 2018

Organizations and workers worldwide are planning for the future, and they know they can count on the continuity, resiliency, data privacy and security capabilities that define IBM Z. 

1 2019 BMC Mainframe Survey 


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