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IBM's z15™: Built to Securely Host Enterprise Workloads, Microservices, and Containers

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With the rise of cloud computing and the entrance of major technology companies like IBM into the container market, IBM Z installations need to understand how the mainframe can participate in these ecosystems.1 At SHARE Fort Worth 2020, there will be several sessions on the new industry standard footprint z15 system, designed for enhanced modularity.2 In the How IBM z15 Architecture Matters in the Era of Microservices and Containers session, Wilhelm Mild, IBM executive IT architect, will offer his insights on how the z15 can handle not only a company’s container needs, but also microservices and virtual servers.

Microservices and containers, like IBM’s zCX, enable businesses to extend their capabilities by enabling the mainframe to effectively and reliably run software. zCX is a Linux instance running Docker CE that operates in a z/OS address space and allows for deployment of an application packaged as a Docker container. The pre-packaged Docker appliance — provided and maintained by IBM — can be used by customers to modernize their infrastructure, applications, and/or data to drive hybrid multicloud integration (connections to more than one cloud provider) without undermining their current functionality.

Dave Jeffries, vice president for development and offering management for IBM z/OS software, said in a November SHARE’d Intelligence blog post, “zCX can open the door to new software capabilities on the z/OS platform, while not requiring clients to replace native z/OS software that exploits z/OS services or other Linux on IBM Z environments, effectively expanding the application ecosystem.”

Mild says the z15 is capable of hosting thousands of virtual servers with certified multitenant isolation and the highest reachable security for data in transit (inflight) and data at rest (stored on disk). He adds, “With the fastest processing speed per core of 5.2 GHz and the extension of each core with a compression and crypto coprocessor, z15 is the environment that can run highly dynamic workloads in Linux and traditional environments.”

Companies can use microservices to request, for example, a username and password, or to retrieve a current account balance. Microservices can allow for the elimination of middleware, with attendant reduction in cost and increases in reliability.3

Mild explains, “The main focus of my presentation in Fort Worth will be on how the IBM Z architecture focuses on securing workloads for the highest workload dynamics and memory requirements from the ground up, while at the same time being wide open to hosting and running microservices, containers, and the cloud.” He adds, “SHARE Fort Worth attendees will learn about the benefits of z15 and how to effectively use its hardware features in their daily workloads.”

The use of microservices and containers can open up the mainframe to new challenges in security. Mild says the z15 offers security for entire workloads, data, and associated applications, including data transferred to partners, with high speed compression and encryption speed. IBM’s z15 is moving the mainframe further into the digital age, while still offering clients the reliability and security they expect.

 


 

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/janakirammsv/2019/12/17/5-modern-infrastructure-trends-of-2019/

[2] http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpieces/abstracts/sg248851.html

[3] https://thenewstack.io/no-more-middleware-microservices-give-cobol-new-life-on-the-mainframe/

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