IBM Invigorates 50-Yr-Old Mainframe With New Mobile, Hadoop Support

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-04-08

IBM Invigorates 50-Year-Old Mainframe With New Mobile, Hadoop Support

NEW YORK--IBM is offering new capabilities on its big iron platform that signal that the systems will be here for the foreseeable future and beyond.

At a celebration here dubbed IBM Mainframe50, the company on April 8 announced new offerings for System z that deliver new mobile, storage and Hadoop capabilities for the mainframe. The new offerings provide users with a platform for the rapid development and deployment of mobile applications and the complete integration of these with their core business processes, applications and data. As part of the announcement, IBM is also unveiling a new flexible pricing model for mobile mainframe clients that will allow them to pay only for the computing capacity they need and use.

With three times the number of mobile phones in the world as computers, it is essential that businesses have an IT infrastructure that can enhance their ability to deliver new mobile and cloud services, IBM said. Combined with trends showing that by 2015, there will be 20 times more content, 15 times more applications and four times the number of mobile transactions as there were in 2011, it is clear why many organizations are turning to the mainframe to manage their enterprises, the company said.

Moreover, the growth in the number of mobile transactions is challenging businesses that are seeing a concurrent rise in their costs related to integrating new mobile applications.

The IBM System z Solution for Mobile Computing helps these businesses to rapidly integrate and deliver new mobile and cloud services. IBM has expanded this offering to offer flexible pricing that can help address these costs driven by the growth in online and mobile-based transactions. The new solution lowers software costs for mobile transactions by up to 60 percent, allowing businesses to host even more mobile transactions that can access the enterprise applications on the mainframe and further improve services for their customers.

One client who is already taking advantage of the new mobile solution is First National Bank (FNB) in Africa.

In Africa, most of the population has a cell phone – so FNB was looking for an opportunity to transform an entire continent through its most popular channel: the mobile device. Creating a series of mobile banking tools, FNB increased its transactions to more than 230 million a month. With their increasingly popular new banking tools, FNB needed infrastructure that could support the growth of transactions and new users. FNB looked to IBM System z to handle the load and provide insights on its services, improve its business and provide a better overall customer experience.

“Mobile transactions have grown at an exponential rate as we expand our range of services, client experience and reach, far outpacing growth in traditional transactions” said Jay Prag, Chief Information Officer for Hogan Channel Integration at FNB, in a statement “The mainframe environment allows us to dynamically scale and grow in a cost-efficient manner.”

“As we move to this digital bank space, we're getting better information, people are becoming more informed and making better decisions and running better businesses,” said Tinashe Ruzane, head of Business Development and Special Projects for the Awethu Project, an incubator for entrepreneurs in South Africa, in a statement. “That's creating the cycle of growth and I think data is at the center of that.”

IBM Invigorates 50-Yr-Old Mainframe With New Mobile, Hadoop Support

IBM said over the past five decades the mainframe has evolved with a steady stream of technical innovations that have helped businesses to continuously adapt to changing market demands. In addition to the mobile solutions, IBM announced new Hadoop, storage and security functionality on the mainframe.

IBM introduced zDoop software, where, working with Veristorm, IBM will provide a commercial Hadoop offering for Linux on System z. This allows clients to avoid staging and offloading of mainframe data to maintain existing security and governance controls.

IBM also announced that the next generation of flash storage on IBM DS8870 can provide faster time to insight with up to 4X the performance over SSD. And the company announced continuous integration for System z, which compresses the application delivery cycle from months to weeks or days.

Meanwhile, a new version of IBM CICS Transaction Server delivers enhanced mobile and cloud support for CICS, trusted by businesses running more than 1 billion transactions per day. The new IBM WebSphere Liberty z/OS Connect offers rapid and secure enablement of Web, cloud and mobile access to z/OS assets. And the IBM Security zSecure SSE helps prevent malicious computer attacks with enhanced security intelligence and compliance reporting. zSecure can direct security events to QRadar SIEM to provide integrated enterprise wide security intelligence dashboard reporting, IBM said.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the mainframe maintains its staying power, IBM is contributing to training the next generation of mainframe users. The IBM Academic Initiative helps to provide schools with the education resources they need to introduce and develop enterprise-computing skills to students to help them gain exposure to job opportunities and careers. The program helps to facilitate student learning in high demand IT skills and links employers to available students and professional talent.

For more than seven years, IBM has worked with students, professors, businesses and universities to provide mainframe training and curriculum resources to more than 180,000 students at more than 1,000 schools in 70 countries.

As part of this continuing commitment to the growth and development of the mainframe ecosystem, IBM is also announcing three new on-line educational offerings. These Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs) are being provided through partnerships with Syracuse University, Marist College, and the Linux Foundation and will be made available in stages throughout the year. All courses are free and available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, IBM said.

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