At the Singapore launch event of IBM Z, the word on everybody’s lips was trust; businesses simply cannot operate without it. Throughout the day, expert speakers highlighted how pervasive encryption, machine learning, and an open, connected cloud approach make the IBM Z mainframe the new benchmark for delivering trusted digital experiences.
Pervasive encryption resets the bar for data protection
Up until now, businesses have faced a number of barriers to implementing encryption; for instance, selective encryption relies on companies being able to identify and classify all of their sensitive data, and the CPU overheads of other encryption solutions have been cost-prohibitive. But the global pandemic of data breaches means encryption is no longer optional; it’s estimated cyber-crime will result in global losses of up to $8 trillion by 2022, and “there’s a 26% chance of a data breach in any given organisation in the next 24 months” according to IBM Z Software Engineer Mark Moore.
“It’s not a matter of if you’re going to be compromised in your business or government — it’s a matter of when,” says Ross Mauri, General Manager of IBM Z. When designing the IBM Z, engineers took a full stack approach in order to address all of these multifaceted encryption problems. As a result, selective encryption can now been replaced by 100% encryption, which offers protection against both internal and external threats with no operational changes or SLA impact, using one single unified policy for all data.
Drawing insights from machine learning
Early use cases of big data focused on external data. But 80% of the world’s data is behind firewalls. IBM Z is designed to unleash the value of this data. It cuts data preparation time by building and managing learning behaviour models, and pairs cognitive solutions with open-source technologies such as Python.
“Data needs to be active in real time and you want it to be as current as possible,” says Dr Avijit Chatterjee, Analytics Evangelist at IBM. “Data gravity is key and IBM Z has zero downtime.” Integrating machine learning with business transactions and data makes it possible to cultivate these insights in real time.
“By having machine learning on the platform, there’s synergy between what we’re doing with pervasive encryption and what we’re doing with providing machine learning,” says Michael Jordan, Distinguished Engineer of Z Systems Security. “We can actually help simplify the overall environment… You no longer have to go to the IT guy for information, we’re creating a full self-service capability.”
Staying open and connected in the cloud
One of the fundamental principles behind the IBM Z is remaining open and connected; its scale and performance can help clients significantly accelerate innovation, and there are already thousands of open-source packages available. IBM is also working with over 1,000 clients on Blockchain application development proof-of-concepts, and has major Blockchain consortia in production in the cloud across finance, insurance, government, trade, logistics and supply chain.
Opening up the mainframe platform and making it available also has the potential to add up to $200 million in incremental revenue. According to Roger Braem, Business Unit Executive on IBM’s z/OS platform, in pretty soon “50% of B2B collaborations will be placed through APIs.” Braem foresees a whole host of different business models emerging in what he calls the “API economy,” from free APIs like those at Google, to chargeable API-as-a-service, or pay-per-use. “Developers become key in this economy,” he says. “APIs are the new products you’re offering.”
The launch of IBM Z heralds a new kind of consumption model; IBM aren’t leasing or licensing the software in the traditional way. “Everything is priced per payment,” explains Mauri. “The pricing model is completely flipping the old world on its head, and you have to decide how fast you want to move. We want to move with you, so you can take advantage of these new models and bring them into your environment.”
In fact old-world models are being rethought all over, and speakers at the IBM Z launch reaffirm that fast-paced technological change, evolving patterns of work and ever-increasing consumer and community expectation mean that the businesses willing to re-examine their culture and relationships will be the ones able to effectively weather digital transformation. As ANZ’s Frank McGrath puts it: “In essence, it’s about making technology that’s easy to use, develop, rely on, and trust.”
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