IBM unveils powerful new encryption mainframe

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IBM unveils powerful new encryption mainframe

IBM has trumpeted what it's calling a huge breakthrough in data encryption and the battle against cybercriminals, with a next-gen mainframe computer driven by a powerful CPU which is capable of encrypting all of a company's data, all the time.

Big Blue also said it plans to build six IBM Cloud Blockchain data centers with IBM Z as the encryption engine.

"The powerful combination of IBM Z encryption and secure containers differentiates IBM Blockchain services on the cloud by supporting the trust models new blockchain networks require", said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain.

They include four times more silicon dedicated to cryptographic algorithms over the previous z13 mainframe.

With close to 70 percent of the world's largest businesses - including those in banking, health care, insurance and retail - running on mainframes, IBM z not only increases power and speed to handle enormous transactions, but also introduces pervasive encryption to dramatically improve data protection and regulatory compliance.

While much of the IT infrastructure conversation today revolves around cloud, mainframes are still a $3 to $4 billion business for IBM, according to the market research firm IDC.

"The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very hard and expensive to do at scale", Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z, said in the release.

Cybersecurity has become a top priority for IBM's mainframe customers in recent years.

Data is encrypted at rest and in flight wherever it resides.

With its latest mainframe, IBM is taking on the challenges with encrypting data associated with applications, cloud services and databases.

"The pervasive encryption that is built into, and is created to extend beyond, the new IBM Z really makes this the first system with an all-encompassing solution to the security threats and breaches we've been witnessing in the past 24 months", Peter Rutten, analyst at IDC, said in a statement on Monday.

The ability to run Java workloads 50% faster than x86 alternatives.

IBM Z pervasive encryption reflects a call to action on data protection articulated by chief information security officers and data security experts worldwide, and more than 150 IBM clients around the world who participated and provided feedback in IBM Z's system design over three years. Its memory footprint is 32TB, which is three times the size of the previous generation. At the time we wrote it was grunty enough to do "real time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale" up to a claimed 2.5 billion transactions a day. A single system can support more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day. The system runs at 5.2GHz and can support up to 2 million Docker containers or 1,000 concurrent NoSQL databases. It protects encryption keys with so-called tamper responding hardware which invalidates keys at any sign, and IBM says they can be restored in safety.

An analysis from Toni Sacconaghi Jr for Bernstein Research says IBM's hardware business is in secular decline, and, while mainframe hardware contributes just 3 per cent of Big Blue's revenues, the overall mainframe platform accounted for almost a quarter of total IBM revenues and an estimated 40 per cent of profits in 2016.

The overall mainframe platform revenues come from IBM's base and not from new hardware sales.

As for pricing, IBM unveiled three container pricing models.

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