By eweek  |  Posted 2006-06-22 Print this article Print

But the reality is that there are other industries now that have the same requirement for security. So if you think about health care, hospitals, doctor offices, if you think about retail—you know like I do that you cant pick up the newspaper any day of the week, and theres some breach [of security], theres some identify theft. It happens in where you would think would be the most secure places, like the [Department of Veterans Affairs]. But every institution now, public and private, has a fiduciary responsibility to secure the data and information related to it. Banks build these big, huge arches and columns out front to give you this sense when you walk in of security and trust.
But you can swipe a card in a taxi cab in Beijing. You can swipe a card in a grocery store, and its like being in the bank. So those companies now have to protect that information. There are 27 countries that have secure encryptions laws, and thats growing.
So more and more customers, and more and more customers in different industries, are looking to the mainframe, which is the most secure platform in the world, to bring that about. Again, thats growth thats coming beyond our traditional core. In the past, mainframes were viewed for their massive compute performance. Youre saying that a key selling point now is security? When you talk to clients, security concerns are not only about people intruding. Theyre concern is also about [breaches] from the inside. The data is on the inside. Clients are concerned from a data standpoint—"How do I secure the data from the inside?" Because, literally, with the portability of machines, and laptops and key fobs and memory sticks, theres a lot of exposure. And with the literally thousands—some customers with tens of thousands of servers—all these connection points are opening points for breaches. So customers are saying, "Look, Im going to consolidate all my important data—particularly my client data—onto a database and get it protected by the mainframes." The other aspect of growth is this thing about new markets, because this value proposition about security and availability and reliability, if you think about whats going on in China, for example, as theyre preparing for the Olympics, theyre putting on a world-class show and there are companies that have to be open for business. Youve got the largest insurance company in the world [in China], youve got the largest railroad system in the world, youve got the largest post office in the world, youve got the largest patent office in the world, so there are scale issues there where only the mainframe can play. So were getting into new markets, and the platform that is getting us there is the new business-class machines and also some of the enterprise-class machines. Going back to the specialty engines, what are some of the other areas that IBM is targeting with these products? We constantly look at that. Our customers, frankly, give us most of the insight about where they would like to see us grow. This whole idea of the IFL came from customers. The coupling facility that allows systems to allow multiple systems to operate as one came from customers. We can almost, with this new capability, tackle any new workload that we like. What really drives it is customer demand, the maturity of the workload, the size of it—when it becomes big enough to customers to become consolidated—it becomes a target. So you can look out, and theres search, theres an opportunity for us. Theres things in retail thats an opportunity, so some are industry-specific opportunities. Were looking at everything, were talking to lots of customers. There are scientific workloads that are out there. There are all kinds of business intelligence, business integration software thats out there. The limit really is the scale and the maturity and the demand for it. The platform is designed in a way that, no matter what, youve got a core operating system thats very resilient, and now these engines can exploit that operating system. And then workloads exploit the engines. Next Page: Bringing new people into the mainframe business.


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