Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

New IBM mainframe encrypts everything

New IBM mainframe encrypts everything

Big Blue is saying that this mainframe is "ushering in a new era of data protection" due to its ability to encrypt data, all the time, and at any scale.

The system encrypts data at rest or in flight wherever it is located, and can be encrypted in bulk rather than in small chunks as is usual today.

To demonstrate the use of Z for encryption on cloud services, IBM announced it has opened six new blockchain global data centers in NY, the U.K., Frankfurt, Tokyo, Toronto and Brazil.

They include four times more silicon dedicated to cryptographic algorithms over the previous z13 mainframe.

IBM is betting big on pervasive encryption with a new mainframe dubbed IBM Z that may land new workloads amid data breaches. While traditionally auditors manually inspect and validate the security of databases, applications and systems, IBM Z allows significantly reducing the complexity and cost of compliance for auditors.

"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", Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z, said in the release. 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. This group includes government agencies and numerous world's largest financial institutions, retailers, healthcare organizations, and insurance firms - in other words, primary targets for professional hackers.

The new platform can also "self-destruct" encryption keys the moment there's any tampering, and quickly encrypts the programming interfaces that tie apps and services together.

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In a statement provided by IBM, International Data Corp. analyst Peter Rutten called the Z "the first system with an all-encompassing solution to the security threats and breaches we've been witnessing in the past 24 months".

IBM has launched a new mainframe system capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, in a bid to wade further into the financial cybersecurity market.

"The pervasive encryption that is built into, and is created to extend beyond, the new IBM Z really makes this the first system with an all-encompassing solution to the security threats and breaches we've been witnessing in the past 24 months", says Peter Rutten, analyst at IDC's Servers and Compute Platforms Group.

The tamper-responding encryption keys is hardware that makes keys invalid if any sign of intrusion is detected, but can be restored safely.

Organisations can now immediately demonstrate that data within of scope of compliance is protected and the keys are secure. It also has three times the memory at 32TB. At the time we wrote it was grunty enough to do "real time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale" up to a claimed 2.5 billion transactions a day.

The IBM Z, the next generation of IBM's industry-leading CMOS mainframe technology, features the industry's fastest microprocessor, running at 5.2GHz, and a new scalable system structure that delivers up to a 35 percent capacity increase for traditional workloads and up to a 35% capacity increase for Linux workloads compared to the previous generation IBM z13.

All that said, it's probably going to take more than total encryption for a company to spring for a mainframe unless it's core to their business, according to analyst Roger L. Kay from the firm, Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc. It supports 2,000,000 Docker containers and 1,000 concurrent NoSQL databases. IBM also integrates with IBM Blockchain services, the release said, and IBM has announced new container pricing as part of the IBM Z debut.

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