IBM Takes the Power of the Mainframe to the Cloud

IBM announces new ways to combine the power of the z13 mainframe with the flexibility of the cloud.

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LAS VEGAS—IBM has announced new solutions that help enterprises take the power, performance and security of their mainframe systems to the cloud.

At its IBM InterConnect 2015 conference here, IBM delivered new offerings that combine the power of the z13 mainframe—launched in January—with the flexibility of the cloud. At its introduction, IBM called the z13 one of the most powerful and sophisticated mainframes ever built. It delivers new mobile, analytic and cloud capabilities for moving enterprise systems in the digital economy.

Following the announced launch of the z13 in January, IBM is unveiling new offerings that combine the power of the all-new z13 mainframe with the flexibility of the cloud. The new solutions enable enterprises to use the z13 to develop, deploy and manage applications regardless of how they want to set up their systems—on-premises, cloud or hybrid—or what types of platforms they decide to use.

The new offerings include IBM Bluemix integration with z Systems. IBM has made its Dedicated Bluemix environment generally available. Combined with continued enhancements to connector technology within Bluemix and z Systems software, enterprises can leverage their own single-tenant version of Bluemix to build applications around their most sensitive data and existing services.

IBM also introduced z Systems Hybrid Cloud Connect Test Drive, which enables enterprises to connect their on-premises enterprise systems to a public cloud. IBM will provide a resource for qualifying customers to bridge a data center network to the company's SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. Enterprises can continue to run core operations on the mainframe with the flexibility to quickly and seamlessly add new operations on the cloud.

IBM will provide this SoftLayer Gateway as a Service capability and one SoftLayer virtual server for three months without charge. IBM also will provide a resource to help set up the network gateway that will bridge the data center network with infrastructure in SoftLayer. However, customers have no obligation to continue or pay for the services after three months, IBM said.

In addition, IBM announced IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack. IBM z Systems will offer IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack for the z13, opening up z13 to new platforms and simplifying management of virtualized environments. OpenStack is a free and open-source cloud computing platform for building and managing cloud environments.

IBM also announced new memory pricing for growth. With the new z13, IBM is making it easier and more cost-effective for clients to scale up memory, a key requirement for new applications to efficiently sift through massive amounts of data in real time. IBM said with the new pricing, qualifying customers that move to the z13 and significantly increase memory can save 33 percent to 87 percent on the cost of additional memory compared with IBM standard memory pricing.

When IBM announced the new mainframe in mid-January, Big Blue said the z13 was developed for the mobile and cloud worlds and is able to process more than 2.8 billion transactions per day. The system delivers scale and economics together with real-time encryption and analytics.

The new z13 system culminates a $1 billion investment and five years of development, and exploits the innovation of more than 500 new patents. It also represents a collaboration with more than 60 IBM customers.

"Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smartphone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment," said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of IBM Systems, in a statement. "The z13 is designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy. Only the IBM mainframe can put the power of the world's most secure datacenters in the palm of your hand. Consumers expect fast, easy and secure mobile transactions. The implication for business is the creation of a secure, high performance infrastructure with sophisticated analytics."