IBM Announces Z Mainframe With Comprehensive End-to-End Data Encryption For Enterprise

IBM Z Mainframe

In an era where high profile data breaches are becoming far too common, IBM has a solution that could help. The company on Monday unveiled IBM Z, a next generation mainframe that is is billing as the world's most powerful transaction system. Just as importantly, it offers pervasive encryption so that all data is encrypted all of the time, whether it is part of an application, cloud service, or chunks of bits in a database.

"The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very difficult and expensive to do at scale," said Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM Z. "We created a data protection engine for the cloud era to have a significant and immediate impact on global data security."

IBM Z Mainframe Open

Using a breakthrough encryption engine, the IBM Z is capable of running a dizzying number of encrypted transactions—more than 12 billion per day, IBM says. The mainframe and encryption engine are direct responses the growing number of data breaches, which as become a global epidemic in recent years. According to IBM, over 9 billion data records have been either lost or stolen since 2013, and of those just 4 percent were encrypted. That leaves the vast majority of compromised data vulnerable to organized cybercrime rings and other nefarious groups and individuals.

IBM's pervasive encryption engine makes it possible to encrypt data associated with an entire applications, cloud service, or database in flight or at rest with a single click. This bulk encryption would not be feasible if not for a ginormous seven-fold increase in cryptographic performance over the previous generation IBM z13, which IBM says is driven by a 4x increase in silicon dedicated to cryptographic algorithms. The result is a mainframe that is 18x faster than a x86 system that is focused on only limited chunks of data.

"The pervasive encryption that is built into, and is designed 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," said Peter Rutten, analyst at IDC’s Servers and Compute Platforms Group.

This is a massively powerful mainframe featuring the industry's fastest microprocessor clocked at 5.2GHz and a new scalable system architecture that delivers up a 35 percent capacity increase for both traditional workloads and Linux workloads, compared to  the z13. It also has three times the memory at 32TB. What that translates into is being able to encrypt up to 13GB of data per second per chip, with there being around 24 chips per mainframe.

Well done, IBM.