IBM Has Launched A Smartphone-Era Mainframe

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IBM’s z13 mainframe can handle 2.5 billion mobile transactions a day

IBM has launched a mainframe which has been designed to cope with the enormous amounts of data generated by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The z13 cost IBM almost $1bn in investment over its five-year development cycle, and the machine is able to process 2.5 billion transactions a day – that’s the equivalent of 100 Cyber Mondays every day of the year, boasts IBM.

The z13 mainframe allows for real-time encryption

One of the z13’s specific design features allows for real-time encryption of mobile transactions to protect data and increase response times. The mainframe actually has 500 new patents which include encryption technologies orientated towards mobile transactions.

“The z13 is designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior VP, IBM Systems.

“Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smart phone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment.  Only the IBM mainframe can put the power of the world’s most secure datacenters in the palm of your hand.”

The z13 was made in collaboration with 60 IBM clients, and has embedded analytics providing real-time insights on all transactions. IBM says this capability can help guarantee the ability of the client to run real-time fraud detection on 100 percent of their business transactions by delivering ‘on the fly’ analytic insights that are 17X faster than compared competitive systems at a fraction of the cost.

IBM’s mainframe business alone only accounts for around 3 percent of IBM’s sales, but with the company’s ongoing cloud shift, keeping up with the times with the z13 is crucial. IBM’s mainframes are only one weapon in the armoury which also includes services, storage, and mainframe software.

‘Starburst effect’

As mobile adoption grows, consumers are driving exponentially larger numbers of mobile transactions. Each of these mobile transactions triggers a cascade of events across computing systems. These events include comparisons to past purchases, data encryption and decryption, bank-to-bank reconciliations, and customer loyalty discounts. This cascade of events causes aIBM mainframe so-called “starburst effect” – where a single transaction can trigger as few as four or as many as 100 additional system interactions.

The z13 includes new support for Hadoop, enabling unstructured data to be analysed in the system. Other analytics advances include faster acceleration of queries by adding DB2 BLU for Linux providing an in-memory database, enhancements to the IBM DB2 analytics accelerator, and vastly improved performance for mathematically intense analytics workloads.

IBM claims that the z13 is perfect for hybrid cloud architecture, an area which is the focus point of IBM’s efforts in 2015.

“The z13 is the ideal private or hybrid cloud architecture, legendary for its ability to scale and reliably and securely handle multiple workloads. In a scale-out model, it is capable of running up to 8,000 virtual servers — more than 50 virtual servers per core, helping to lower software, energy and facilities costs,” IBM said in a press release.

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