By Gene Fuh and Ian J Mitchell, IBM, UK

Our clients are capitalizing on the opportunity in front them, embracing the mega trends around mobile, analytics and cloud to create advantage and transform their business. They are exploiting mainframe technologies today to support the growth in mobile transactions, the growth in data and to provide new insights from that data, and to run highly efficient cloud infrastructures. Now IBM z Systems is taking this to a new level, with a new generation of IBM mainframes, the IBM z13, which has been designed from the ground up for digital business to excel in these three areas.

This is the first mainframe designed for the mobile era and the application economy. Mobile is driving unprecedented growth in transactions that, in 2014, there are on average 37 transactions per day per person globally. That number is expected to grow 4 times by 2025. Besides, each of these mobile transactions triggers a cascade of related events across systems. With the world’s fastest processor, IBM’s z13 will deliver transaction response times in milliseconds. New Simultaneous multi-threading further boosts throughput for Linux and Java workloads. And with 141 of these processors in a single system, the z13 has been designed to work at unprecedented scale to handle the growth in mobile transactions and to work with today’s high-speed networks to deliver sub-second end-user response times. New large memory configurations, with up to 10 TBs available in a single system that can help significantly reduce response times, by up to 70%. We have also strengthened the whole I/O subsystem for bandwidth and speed. The z13 can have up to 320 separate channels dedicated to I/O, each now run at 16 GB per second. It also features double the cache to double the I/O bandwidth.

The z13 is the first system that makes it practical to deliver in-transaction analytics for right-time insights at the point of impact. The z13 has the ability to significantly improve performance for numerically intense, mathematical analytics workloads through our SIMD capability. The IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator is also being enhanced for new and innovative use cases, such as in-database transformation and advanced predictive analytics. The extended compression capabilities with zEDC can reduce data transfer times and storage costs for specific data types by up to 75 percent.  The support of Hadoop on z Systems also enables unstructured data to be analyzed in the system. All of these combine to make practical an integrated system for data, analytics and business transactions at the unprecedented scale required for digital business.

The z13 is designed to be the world’s most efficient and trusted cloud system, transforming the economics of IT. In a recent IBM survey of IT security officers, the majority expressed concern over cloud security. And then there’s the economics, do the economics of today’s off-premise cloud models really stack up at the scale and complexity of the enterprise data center? z13 is the ideal cloud architecture, built on a heritage of reliably and securely handling multiple workloads and, of course, able to scale. It is capable or running up to 8000 virtual servers, more than 50 virtual servers per core. Nno other architecture can get near this and this drives lower software costs, lower energy costs and lower facilities costs. We have more logical partitions, up to 85, and up to 10 TB of memory at lower cost, providing far greater flexibility in deploying very large highly virtualized infrastructures. z13 lowers the cost of running cloud on the mainframe to almost half the cost of running cloud on an x86/distributed server environment, while boosting performance by up to 30 percent. z13 is a trusted system. We have built on the extensive availability characteristics by bringing industry leading business continuity solutions to stand-alone Linux environments and also enabling IT analytics to identify potential future failures to enable corrective actions.  z13’s dedicated cryptography processors can handle up to twice as many secure transactions per second. z13 is on open platform. It fully supports Linux and OpenStack and we are a full participant in that community. We will soon introduce support for state of the art next generation virtualization with standard KVM and standard OpenStack management tooling to manage the virtual environment. 

Gene Fuh is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and the Director of z Systems WW Technical Enablement and Business Development. He holds a Ph.D degres in Computer Science, a member of IBM Academy of Technolgy, an IBM Master Inventor, and a visiting professor for multiple universities in China. He is currently taking an international assignment in China while holding the world wide missions and responsibilities with IBM z Systems. While on assignment in China, he is also taking the CTO role for the System and echnology Lab. in China. Gene's areas of expertise include Relational Database Systems, Data Warehousing, Big Data, Cloud Computing,  Business Analytics, High Availability and Active/Active Disaster Recovery, etc. He is also the founder of the System z User Group in China.

Ian J Mitchell is an IBM Distinguished Engineer with responsibility for z/OS Microservices Architecture. He has many years of mainframe experience having been responsible for the technical architecture of the CICS Product Portfolio. He has over 30 years experience as a technical leader in IBM Hursley and has been in the forefront of creating and introducing many of CICS' important innovations including Workload Management, Sysplex Support, Business Transaction Services, Java, Web Services, Event Processing and the CICS Explorer. In this role Ian has worked with many of the technical leaders across all the mainframe technology components. Ian also has close relationships with many of IBM's largest customers running critical systems using CICS and the mainframe. In 2016/7 he led the architecture for Blockchain on Z Systems and is now working on enabling Agile Application on Z with Microservices.