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IBM touts full data encryption in new Z series mainframes

IBM touts full data encryption in new Z series mainframes

IBM is looking to tackle the problem of what hackers can do with the information they acquire from data breaches by encrypting everything stored on its new mainframes.

However, encryption is often largely absent in corporate and cloud data centres because current solutions for data encryption in x86 environments can dramatically degrade performance and user experience, and can be too complex and expensive to manage.

Big Blue also said it plans to build six IBM Cloud Blockchain data centers with IBM Z as the encryption engine.

The new system also claims to introduce a breakthrough encryption engine that makes it possible to encrypt all transactional data associated with any application, cloud service or database, meaning less worry about cyber crooks and card thieves going insane after taking your card details.

The bulk encryption at cloud scale is made possible by an increase of seven in cryptographic performance over the previous generation z13 - driven by a increase in silicon dedicated to cryptographic algorithms.

The company says IBM Z handles encryption 18 times faster than do x86 systems and runs Java workloads 50 percent faster. IBM said the Z represents the "most significant system overhaul" in more than 15 years.

"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", said Ross Mauri, general manager at IBM Z.

The pervasive encryption technology may hold additional appeal for companies because of new data governance regulations due to hit next May in the European Union.

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IBM Z integrates with IBM Blockchain services, and it offers automated compliance and security as well. The result is a mainframe that is 18x faster than a x86 system that is focused on only limited chunks of data.

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.

In addition, IBM is providing "tamper-responding" encryption keys.

Key management in the IBM Z is created to respond to tampering efforts by invalidating the encryption keys at any sign of foul play. This significantly reduces the time and effort required to meet compliance obligations and complete audits.

New microservices and applications that enable clients to maximise the value from security-rich on-premises enterprise systems in real time. "Data centers previously had to decide what they would encrypt". And the Z is faster overall, regardless of the task at hand: there's three times the memory (a hefty 32TB), three times faster input/output and much lower lag when talking to a storage area network. The z14 is even gruntier and bumps that up nearly five fold to 12 billion encrypted transactions per day.

As part of the announcement, IBM also previewed new z/OS software that provides foundational capabilities for private cloud service delivery, enabling a transformation from an IT cost center to a value-generating service provider.

The system runs at 5.2GHz and can support up to 2 million Docker containers, 1,000 concurrent NoSQL databases, and 12 billion encrypted transactions each day.

There is coming z/OS software that will provide capabilities for private cloud service delivery, that will include support of workflow extensions for IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management for z/OS and real-time SMF analytics infrastructure support.