IBM z16: a mainframe built for AI, hybrid cloud, security and open source

IBM z16: a mainframe built for AI, hybrid cloud, security and open source

Today’s announcement of new IBM z16 mainframes promises a system that meets business needs including support for AI, security, hybrid cloud and future open source efforts.

The new, more powerful and feature-rich Big Iron features an AI accelerator built into its Telum core processor that can do 300 billion deep learning inferences per day with one-millisecond latency and includes what IBM calls a secure quantum system to protect organizations from anticipated quantum-based security threats.

The system’s dual-processor IBM Telum chip has 16 cores and runs at 5.2 GHz. IBM says the z16 comes with up to 200 configurable cores in a single model, Model A01, and includes 40TB of independent redundant memory array. (RAIM) per system.

But while the z16 family, available May 31, is more powerful, the system also promises to accelerate IBM’s other core strategies of growing hybrid computing and open source-based enterprise systems. And it is particularly suitable for processing artificial intelligence applications, the company said.

“I think the world of AI just changed with the introduction of this system,” said Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z. “Whether it’s to reduce costs, reduce fraud risk, or generate more revenue in a completely new. It will open up a set of possibilities with AI in the z16 system that couldn’t be considered before.”

The AI ​​accelerator on the Tellum processor uses an AI inference model that analyzes the details of massive transaction processes occurring within the mainframe to detect trends and make intelligent predictions.

“AI has broad applicability across a broad set of use cases in a variety of different industries, from banking and finance to insurance, health care and many others,” said Elipida Tzortzatos, IBM distinguished engineer and architect. Z. “But if you look at what’s happening in the world today, things like instant payments, increasingly stringent regulations requiring anti-money laundering (AML), and a dramatic increase in online transactions have increased. vastly the amount of fraud.”

That’s where embedded AI comes in because it can handle massive amounts of transactions and critical workloads in real time and at scale, Tzortzatos said.

The AI ​​accelerator is a game changer, according to Patrick Moorhead, founder, CEO and chief analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “According to IBM, the z16 with z/OS has a 20x faster response time with 19x better performance when performing inferences compared to a comparable x86 cloud server with an average network latency of 60ms.”

The AI ​​capabilities enabled by the new Telum processors should greatly improve the way businesses detect and address fraudulent purchases and will also reduce the amount of network traffic produced by AI applications, said Charles King, founder and president of the company. Pund-IT consultancy.

“Since AI inference is done on-chip, the z16 can perform those complex functions without moving data to/from an AI or analytics device, as solutions from many other vendors do,” King said. “That could be very beneficial in situations like the large-scale transactional environments that the z16 is designed for.”

While the z16’s AI capabilities will generate business interest, experts say, the performance and scalability of the new systems will also enable greater use of the Big Iron in hybrid cloud environments.

For example, the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack, announced in February, offers industry-standard tools for modernizing z/OS applications on a pay-per-use basis. The service includes support for z/OS Connect, which uses a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) interface to connect and link with existing applications to make Z applications and data part of a hybrid cloud strategy. It also includes z/OS Cloud Broker, which integrates z/OS-based services and resources into Red Hat OpenShift to support the creation, modernization, deployment, and management of applications, data, and infrastructure.

Future z/OS container use cases are planned to promote application modernization, new application development and API creation with tight integration with core z/OS applications, IBM said.

IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack is the first set of capabilities offered through the recently announced IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center, which offers tools, training, resources and ecosystem partners to help IBM Z customers accelerate modernization of applications, data, and processes to work with hybrid cloud architectures.

“We’re making it easy to access data on the mainframe and then, with OpenShift coming on the platform, running containerized microservice workloads on the mainframe,” Mauri said. “We embrace open source technology on the IBM z systems platform, and establish a common developer experience across the hybrid cloud and the z16 with its increased capacity and power will better handle modern workloads.”

The z16 reflects the company’s strategic focus on maximizing hybrid cloud services and solutions, King said. z16 servers running z/OS support 20 times lower response time and up to 19 times higher throughput than comparable x86 cloud servers, he said. The z16’s encryption capabilities and capabilities also allow customers to securely run mission-critical applications and processes while taking advantage of public cloud services, he said, “an important point for enterprises affected by sovereign regulations.” data and data residency”.

Security is also an important part of the z16. Specifically, the z16 supports the Crypto Express8S adapter to offer secure quantum APIs that will allow enterprises to start developing secure quantum crypto alongside classical crypto and modernize existing applications and create new applications, Mauri said.

“The z16 is protected with quantum security technology through multiple layers of firmware during the boot process. It is the first system in the industry to support secure quantum safe boot. When the system boots, you have to be sure that the firmware loaded on that system is authentic,” said Moorhead.

“In nefarious hands, quantum computers can break some of the cryptographic technologies that we’ve used for many years. That’s the fear,” Moorhead said. Preparation for quantum attacks may already have begun with the “harvest now decrypt later” attack scenario, where attackers steal encrypted data and wait until a quantum computer can decrypt it.

Another IBM z16 capability called IBM Z Flexible Capacity for Cyber ​​Resiliency enables capacity and production workloads to be switched between IBM z16 systems at different sites on demand and to remain at those alternate sites for up to a year. This can help companies comply with regulations that require the ability to shift production to alternate sites for extended periods, IBM said.

This capability is also designed to help prevent outages from unplanned events. For example, it enables workloads to be moved to avoid interruptions from impending natural disasters, as well as enabling facility maintenance, IBM said.

z16s also supports network-based enhancements, including:

  • FICON Express32S supports 32 Gbps link data rate and auto-negotiation to 16 Gbps and 8 Gbps backwards compatibility with existing switches, directors, and storage devices. With support for native FICON, High Performance FICON for z Systems (zHPF), and Fiber Channel protocol, the IBM z16 server is designed to enable an end-to-end 32 Gbps infrastructure to provide lower latency and higher network requirements. application bandwidth. FICON adapters are primarily used to link mainframes with peripheral devices.
  • IBM z16 will support a new long range open system adapter called OSA-Express7S 1.2 25GbE LR that provides direct mainframe connectivity to LAN devices. OSA-Express7S adapters support a variety of Ethernet links including 1000BASE-T Ethernet for copper environments along with 25GbE SR, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet over single-mode and multimode fiber.

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