IBM Claims Z Is Biggest Mainframe Advancement in 15 Years

Today’s topics include IBM announcing that its Z mainframe will run universal encryption in the background; Samsung ratcheting up production of high-end DRAM; Microsoft releasing its new LinkedIn app for Windows 10 PCs; and luxury smartphone maker Vertu shutting its doors after 19 years.

IBM announced July 17 that its new IBM Z mainframe will be able to encrypt all the data in an enterprise all the time—and without users even knowing that the documents they are accessing and sharing are encrypted. It’s literally pervasive encryption.

Big Blue said this newest mainframe is the most significant system overhaul in more than 15 years. It was designed with input from 150 clients who cited data breaches and encryption as their biggest challenges and concerns.

Encryption has always been expensive and takes a lot of computing cycles to encrypt small chunks of data at a time, so a lot of time and power is always required. Not so with this new IBM system, which is automated and works quietly in the background.

The growing need for applications of all kinds that use artificial intelligence or machine learning is sending alarms to foundational IT product suppliers. Samsung, the world’s largest producer of advanced memory silicon hardware, on July 17 announced that it is increasing production volume of its 8GB High Bandwidth Memory-2 dynamic memory to meet this need.

The high-end solid-state memory is used for a range of applications that include not only artificial intelligence but also high-performance computing, advanced graphics, network systems and enterprise servers.

In anticipating the upswing in demand, Samsung said it believes that its volume production of the 8GB HBM2 will cover more than 50 percent of its HBM2 production by the first half of next year.

One way that LinkedIn users keep tabs on industry trends, their competition and their colleagues is to keep a browser tab open that points to LinkedIn.com during their web-browsing sessions. Now, Microsoft is offering an alternative for Windows 10 users seeking a more seamless experience between the popular social network and the desktop operating system.

With this week's release of the LinkedIn app for Windows 10, users can get updates delivered directly to the Action Center, the operating system's built-in notifications hub.

"With Windows 10 Action Center, LinkedIn for Windows 10 delivers real-time professional updates, including new messages, insights on who's viewed your profile, trending news in your industry and other timely highlights on your professional network," said LinkedIn Product Manager Hermes Alvarez in a July 17 announcement.

Vertu, a British company that has been designing and selling high-end luxury smartphones starting at nearly $7,000 for more than a decade, is being liquidated after failing to sell enough high-priced phones to pay its bills.

The demise of Vertu was revealed in a July 13 story by BBC.com, after it was bought by Hakan Uzan, a Turkish exile in Paris, in March, who was unable to turn the company around. Uzan is retaining the Vertu brand, technology and licenses after the liquidation.

The Vertu phenomenon began with the company's original Vertu Signature luxury phones more than a decade ago. The Signature models were available in more than 25 variants using stainless steel, zirconium and other materials, starting at $16,150.

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