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IBM Bolsters z16 and LinuxONE 4 Security, Sustainability With New Configurations

IBM adds z16 and IBM LinuxONE 4 offerings that deliver 75% percent energy reduction; 67% space savings in on-premises and hybrid cloud data centers

IBM today introduced new single-frame and rack-mount configurations of its IBM z16 mainframe and IBM LinuxONE 4 solution that extend and expand their already powerful, security, sustainability and flexibility in both on-premises data centers and hybrid cloud environments.

These latest models provide corporate enterprises with more flexible, space saving and energy saving sustainable offerings. Specifically, IBM says the latest z16 and IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 offerings deliver 75% energy reduction and 67% space savings in on-premises data centers where efficiencies and economies of scale are imperative.

IBM introduced the z16 multi-frame in April 2022. It incorporated groundbreaking quantum-safe cryptography and real-time AI inferencing at scale, which makes it the most secure, reliable and high-performing mainstream server. The IBM LinuxONE Emperor 4 launched five months later in September 2022; it is designed to reduce both energy consumption and data center floor space while delivering the scale, performance and security that corporate enterprises demand. Both the z16 and the LinuxONE 4 utilize IBM’s Telum 7nm processor, which is specifically engineered enable real-time AI inferencing to handle very high transactional workloads while still maintaining high performance and reliability.

The new z16 and LinuxONE 4 single-frame and rack-mount configurations unveiled today are designed to significantly conserve physical space in on-premises data centers and the cloud while also reducing energy consumption by as much as 75%, IBM claims.  

In a prepared statement, Ross Mauri, general manager, IBM zSystems and LinuxONE says, “IBM remains at the forefront of innovation, trusted by clients to help weather storms generated by an ever-changing market … We’re protecting clients’ investments in existing infrastructure while helping them to innovate with AI and quantum-safe technologies. These new options let companies of all sizes seamlessly colocate IBM z16 and LinuxONE Rockhopper 4 with distributed infrastructure, bringing exciting capabilities to those environments.”

New Use Cases that Deliver Greater Operational and Cost Efficiencies

The newly announced rack-optimized footprint IBM zSystems and LinuxONE offerings are designed for use with client-owned, standard 19-inch racks and power distribution units. According to IBM, the new footprint opens opportunities to include systems in distributed environments with other servers, storage, SAN and switches in one rack. This reduces colocation center costs for clients and improves latency for complex computing, such as training AI models.

IBM claims that installing these configurations in the data center can create a new class of use cases, including:

  • Sustainable design: Easier integration into hot or cold aisle thermal management data center configurations with common data center power and cooling
  • Optimizing AI solutions: With on-chip AI inferencing and the newest IBM z/OS 3.1, whether rack mount, single frame or multi frame configurations, clients can train or deploy AI models very close to where data resides, allowing clients to optimize AI
  • Data privacy: Support data sovereignty for regulated industries with compliance and governance restrictions on data location, routing local transactions through local data centers with optimized rack mount efficiency
  • Edge computing: Enable more efficient rack utilization in limited rack space near manufacturing, healthcare devices or other edge devices

Customers and Analysts Applaud z16 and LinuxONE 4 Sustainability, Security Advances

IBM, industry analysts and enterprise customers all agree that organizations across every vertical industry are tasked with delivering integrated digital services while still getting the highest performance, reliability and security out of their systems.

According to a recent IBM Transformation Index report, the top three barriers to integrating workloads in a hybrid cloud are security, managing complex environments and regulatory compliance. Additionally, customers must also comply with an increasing number of stringent environmental regulatory laws. Corporations and their IT departments are also under pressure to contain costs and achieving the greatest economies of scale particularly in the face of financial volatility worldwide.

The IBM z16 and LinuxONE 4 tick all of the right boxes, customers and industry analysts say.

“I count on IBM’s ongoing innovations in the areas that matter the most to our business: security, sustainability and of course, high performance and reliability,” notes a VP of IT at a nationwide bank which is a longtime IBM Z mainframe customer. “Every one of IBM’s technology improvements translates into higher performance to support the ever-increasing demands for high transactional processing,” he says, adding, “The security and reliability of IBM systems [with the quantum-safe cryptography] are near-flawless. The latest sustainability and cost savings measures with the new single frame and rack mount configurations will lower our total cost of ownership and make it easier to upgrade without having to change or modify our physical infrastructure,” the VP of IT added.  

Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group—a Eugene, Oregon-based consulting firm—concurs. He says the availability of new IBM z16 and LinuxONE single frame and rack mount configurations will encourage existing organizations—especially those customers in banking and finance and healthcare, to remain loyal to zSystems and LinuxONE family of solutions.

“The new IBM z16 and the LinuxONE offerings enable customers to easily drop the systems into their on-premises data centers and cloud environments. They’re easy for IT managers to install and that, in turn, removes the overall cost of implementation, which is oftentimes a deal breaker for companies,” Enderle observes.

Andrew Baker, CTO of Rainelle, West Virginia-based Brainwave Consulting—which specializes in infrastructure, application and security deployments for midsize enterprises—says that IBM “is the only server vendor that is truly innovating in major ways. Competing server and infrastructure vendors are focused on the cloud almost to the exclusion of new features and capabilities in the underlying hardware.” He notes, “By contrast, IBM is taking a very broad-based approach that starts with the core foundational server infrastructure and scales to the cloud.” The result, according to Baker, is that IBM will be able to successfully leverage its already broad appeal of the IBM z16 and LinuxONE4 during the next upgrade and migration cycle in on-premises and cloud environments.

“Going forward, all the investments that IBM is making now in innovation—AI on-chip inferencing, quantum-safe security, reliability and the flexible new single frame and rack mount configurations—will pay off in a big way in the next 18 to 24 months when we see the next big wave of upgrades,” Baker says. He also lauds IBM for continuing its aggressive pursuit of openness. “IBM is making all the right moves to address customers’ concerns around revenue, reliability, security and cost of ownership. It will deliver big dividends for IBM and its customers,” he says.

IBM z16 and LinuxONE Provide Highest Security and Reliability

For critical industries like healthcare, financial services, government and insurance, a secure, available IT environment is key to delivering high quality service to customers. IBM z16 and LinuxONE 4 are engineered to provide the highest levels of resiliency in the industry. According to the ITIC 2022-2023 Global Server Hardware, Server OS Reliability survey, the IBM z16 and LinuxONE deliver “eight nines” of availability (99.999999%) to support mission-critical workloads as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.

The ITIC independent survey, which polled more than 1,600 organizations worldwide, found that the IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE delivered the best across-the-board uptime ratings among 18 mainstream distributions and the most robust security for the last four years. A 96% majority of IBM Z and LinuxONE system customers recorded 99.999999% of true fault tolerant reliability and availability, recording a near-imperceptible 3.15 milliseconds of unplanned per server downtime annually. In monetary terms, this means that corporations are spending less than the cost of a latte and biscotti to manage and maintain the uptime of IBM Z and LinuxONE systems.

IBM says that for consumers, these high availability levels ensure they always have access to their bank accounts, medical records and personal data, even in the face of more pervasive and pernicious security hacks and data breaches. The new class of targeted, emerging threats require new standards of protection. The new IBM single frame and rack mount configurations offer security capabilities that include confidential computing, centralized key management and quantum-safe cryptography to thwart bad actors planning to “harvest now, decrypt later.”

“The IBM z16 and LinuxONE security is as good as it gets and their uptime is absolute—no one else is even close,” Enderle says. The new single-frame and rack-mount configurations, he says, solidify IBM’s claim as the most secure reliable server vendor and make the systems more affordable and easier to install than ever. “It’s a win-win for IBM and it’s crucial for customers, especially for those in key verticals like the banking, finance, government and healthcare industries.”