IBM unveils powerful new encryption mainframe

IBM unveils powerful new encryption mainframe

It can reduce the threat surface by 92 percent, according to research commissioned by IBM. But most large transaction systems such as credit-card processing, airline flight purchases and automatic teller machine systems still run on them.

Sacconaghi said he has seen a decline in mainframe hardware revenues from a historic $3bn - $4bn a year to $2bn in fiscal 2016, attributable to fewer new workloads or volumes moving to the mainframe, and some potential migration of Linux workloads off the mainframe.

The IBM Z key management system is created to meet Federal Information Processing Standards Level 4, where the norm for high security in the industry is Level 2. As a result, encryption performance is seven times faster than on IBM's previous-generation z13 mainframe and, according to IBM, 18 times faster than systems powered by Intel Corp.'s x86 chips.

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

"We can eliminate those classes of users from risk if their IDs get hacked or attacked", he said. This enhancement aligns with Compuware's recent announcement of Application Audit, a product that provides end-to-end visibility into privileged user behavior in order to safeguard against insider threats to mainframe applications and data. "There are companies that need that level of strength and transaction management".

All that makes it harder for hackers to get in.

Ross Mauri, general manager IBM Z, gave out an (unencrypted) canned quote saying: "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".

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What would that additional security would cost, though?

Until now, encryption has been largely absent in data and cloud centers - only 2 percent of corporate data is encrypted today - because current solutions dramatically degrade performance, and are too complex and expensive to manage. Compuware products transform the overall value of z Systems by enabling DevOps teams to efficiently control source code, work on any application even if poorly documented and eliminate development throughput and operational performance bottlenecks.

That's around 360 times more bang for the buck, albeit from a small part of the overall IT budget. There will certainly be an upgrade cycle, but what's unclear is whether IBM can expand the reach of the IBM Z with its approach to encryption. It's as if someone told you a Tesla can store away electricity much faster than all the smartphones in your company, and the electricity to run apps on its dashboard is thus way cheaper than that used by all the smartphones: It may well be true, but you'd have to seriously rethink your business's approach to mobility to profit from it.

To further beef up security, IBM has also encrypted APIs and encryption keys.

Mauri said the core of the system-software, hardware and firmware-is usually in development about 3 years.

Beyond pure encryption, customers also told IBM they wanted this capability delivered in a cost-effective way. Capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, IBM z makes it possible, for the first time, to encrypt all data associated with any application, cloud service or database, all the time.

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