May 26, 2022

When you think of mainframes, you probably picture an old movie with punched cards and a huge room. But the mainframe is still alive and is a viable IBM product. Today, it’s much more streamlined and powerful, helping to manage data-intensive workloads in the world’s largest industries with use cases that may not yet be ready for the cloud.

IBM today introduced the z16, the latest mainframe in its history. It runs on an IBM Telm processor that the company released last summer. According to the company, the chip is optimized to handle heavy workloads and processes 300 billion large financial transactions per day with a latency of just a millisecond.

This is for clients who have a serious need for high volume speed. The main purpose of this sample machine, which the company sells, is to prevent fraud in real time. Financial institutions, in particular, are targeted customers, but Rick Lewis, senior vice president of IBM Systems, says that almost every company processes many business-critical transactions.

“It’s still banking, insurance, public sector, government, healthcare, retail—wherever you have really high transaction throughput, where you need security, reliability, and the world’s best transaction processing,” Lewis said.

It brings together the world’s largest companies, including two-thirds of the Fortune 100, 45 of the world’s top 50 banks, eight of the top 10 insurance companies, seven of the top 10 global retailers, and eight of the top 10 telecom companies. According to data provided by IBM, who owns the mainframe. Most of these machines are manufactured by IBM.

1950s computer room with mainframe and punch card machine.

Circa 1955, an office worker is sorting out punched cards while two men are talking near the console of a 1950s IBM 705 III mainframe owned by the US Army. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

“What’s great about this latest announcement is that we’ve now optimized AI scoring specifically for real-time chip detection of fraud,” he said. The difference here is that there is usually a delay in detecting the fraud and notifying the consumer about it. IBM wants to replace it with the z16. “Now this customer group has access to the data [that fraud could be occurring] Chip in real time. All of this runs on our own VLSI chip called Telm, which we recently announced. [year]But it will be the first system to ship with this chip.”

Lewis says that while the cloud is great for the industry, he believes there is a whole class of businesses and applications for which the cloud is simply not a viable option, and for a certain percentage of them, a z16 mainframe like Powerful could be the answer. .

“There was a time when people said that everything would end up in the cloud, and I think what you see lately is that people believe that data is everywhere. Not all of this will happen in the cloud. And in fact, the evolution of the entire computing landscape is more focused on a specific infrastructure,” he said.

And of course, according to Lewis, this applies to specialized equipment such as his company’s z16. The company’s mainframe sales were down 6% from its last earnings report, but customers had to wait for the technology refinement that accompanies the announcement before buying more devices.

The company said the z16 will be available to all customers on May 31, which could be a test of Lewis’s vision that some workloads will remain in private mainframe data centers for some time.

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