IBM z16: Built to Enable Modernization and Hybrid Cloud Adoption

IBM zSystems serve as the backbone for today’s mission-critical business processes—running over 70% of business transactions, 90% of modern credit card transactions, and backing 72% of customer-facing workloads.

With this in mind, IBM is dedicated to continuously enhancing the mainframe to support evolving business needs—and the latest IBM z16 release is no exception.

The New IBM z16

The IBM z16 release was centered around four central pillars:

  • Decision velocity: The z16 offers a first-of-its-kind on-chip AI accelerator—allowing mainframe organizations to perform scoring on 100% of their transactions at the time that transaction enters their mainframe system.
  • Quantum-safe protection: The IBM z16 is the first server to be protected through quantum-safe technology at the firmware level, right out of the box. The z16 also provides a set of hardware assisted quantum-safe algorithms and associated APIs, allowing customers to protect data from bad actors who might attempt to harvest your encrypted data now for later decryption when quantum computing matures.
  • zSystems and cloud experience: IBM’s latest zSystems and cloud announcements build from Wazi as-a-Service (Wazi aaS)—a z/OS development and test-as-a-service public cloud offering. The z16 announcement also centers around one key fact: Red Hat OpenShift is IBM’s hybrid cloud platform approach.
  • Flexible infrastructure, including:
    • Continuous compliance through IBM’s new zSystem Security Compliance Center to enable security operations to better understand and quickly demonstrate risk and compliance posture for mainframe platforms
    • Flexible capacity through a new Flexible Capacity for Cyber Resiliency offering, built to support disaster recovery test, frictionless compliance, facility maintenance, and proactive avoidance use cases
    • Sustainability, representing IBM’s continued focus on the environment
    • System Recovery Boost, specifically a set of new Recovery Process boosts for IBM’s System Recovery Boost capability—working to reduce disruption, minimize business impact, and accelerate return to steady-state operations

As you can see, the z16 announcement is revolutionary in its own right—bringing key features and functionalities to clients to meet ever-changing business needs. You can learn more about the z16 in “IBM z16—An Evolving Solutions Perspective Part 1: Pillar One.”

How IBM z16 Supports Modernization

Meeting evolving needs also means transforming the business. As a result, organizations all around the world—across every industry—are investing in digital transformation. Not only is the rate and pace of digital transformation accelerating; its priority within the business is also rising significantly.

But “digital transformation” can mean many things—from complete rip and replace approaches, to modernizing on existing platforms. Evolving Solutions recommends the latter.

I’ve seen many organizations go down the path of migrating to a new platform entirely—spending millions of dollars in modernization. But with this method, schedules can slip, budgets get busted, and it can be difficult to keep gaining traction.

This is why Evolving Solutions emphasizes the importance of reinvesting in what you have and refreshing it. We work with clients to get current—including the operating system, the middleware and application-level testing, and beyond.

IBM z16 is built to support this kind of thoughtful modernization. The new model—specifically the AI inference engine—enables clients to embrace digital transformation with technologies that can help them apply insights at speed and scale. This creates exponential value in every customer interaction.

Because zSystems are built to fully participate and integrate with hybrid cloud, the z16 also empowers developers to speed up modernization of existing workloads. In other words, organizations can build and modernize zSystems quickly, at an optimal cost, while integrating with existing co-located on-prem workloads—all with consistent monitoring under a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

z16: Coexisting in the Cloud

While I am on the subject of cloud, it is important to examine how the z16 is engineered to keep up—and thrive within—an increasingly hybrid cloud world.

Much like digital transformation, the cloud can mean many things to different people. It could refer to application development and how that is obtained. Or, it might mean exposing as microservices a base functionality that is on the mainframe, but consumed elsewhere.

Regardless of what cloud means to your organization, the z16 release emphasizes the fact that zSystems and the cloud are complementary toward one another. In other words, IBM has made it clear that zSystems is going to coexist in the cloud—not be replaced by it. This can be particularly seen through:

  • The z16 announcement’s emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift as IBM’s hybrid cloud platform approach, and Red Hat OpenShift support for IBM’s latest CryptoExpress-8S cards
  • Containers and their role on the IBM z16 server; for example, you can take an x86 Linux workload deployed in a container, and recompile it to run in a container on IBM’s z16 under Linux
  • IBM’s new resource centers, including the zSystems and Cloud Modernization Center and the IBM Cloud Infrastructure Center

While there is no one-size-fits-all hybrid cloud strategy, you can examine your organization’s business needs and goals closely to create a strategy that works best for you. Evolving Solutions is positioned to help you make these decisions—and the IBM z16 is designed to streamline and help your organization embrace hybrid cloud.

Leveraging Evolving Solutions’ Expertise and the IBM z16

All of this leads me to two main points. First, Evolving Solutions truly believes in the power of modernizing what you have to meet digital transformation needs for your business. The z16 is built to enable this kind of digital transformation, and as an IBM business partner, we are poised to help you through the process from start to finish.

Secondly, although the world is moving toward hybrid cloud, the mainframe remains more relevant than ever. The z16 server is engineered to coexist in the cloud and leveraging a hybrid cloud approach to gain the strengths of both the mainframe platform, and cloud strategy, is a wise business choice. Leveraging Evolving Solutions’ expertise, along with the latest IBM z16 server can help you find a hybrid cloud strategy fit for your organization.

Jim Fyffe

Senior Solution Architect

Jim is a Senior Solution Architect at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2016. Connect with Jim on LinkedIn here.

Photo of Jim Fyffe

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