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New IBM mainframe can process 1 trillion web transactions a day

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

IBM (IBM) is out with its newest mainframe called z15 and corporate America played a part in its creation.

For the last four years, the computer giant worked with people from more than 100 companies, including financial services firms, retailers and health care providers, to see what they needed most from these powerful machines, which are a critical part of many large organizations’ computing strategies.

Tom Rosamilia, IBM Systems senior vice president and IBM North America chairman, told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade “they got their wish list.”

“The three big ideas that came out of this were instant recovery, cloud native application development, and data privacy,” Rosamilia said. The IBM z15 mainframe has “unprecedented encryption, unprecedented security and privacy,” he added.

Within the IBM z15 processor chip, there are 15.6 miles of wires, 9.2 billion transistors and 26.2 billion wiring connections — all of which allow a single z15 server to process 1 trillion web transactions per day and have a “25% better performance” than the z14 mainframe.

In all, IBM Z mainframes support 87% of all credit card transactions and nearly $8 trillion payments a year, in addition to 29 billion ATM transactions each year, worth nearly $5 billion per day. As the number of credit card transactions globally continue to rise, Rosamilia says customers continue to buy capacity – and in “the last 10 years, we’ve seen the inventory grow 3.5 times.”

This also comes as data breaches continue to hit the online world, affecting companies like Equifax (EFX), Capitol One (COF), Sony (SNE) and Target(TGT). But, Rosamilia says, “the bad guys are going to get in.”

“The best thing you can do is encrypt 100% of your data, and if you encrypt 100% then when they get in, they can’t make any sense of it,” he said.

IBM's new z15 mainframe can process 1 trillion web transactions per day.

Data privacy and cloud capabilities

Part of the ability to maintain privacy across the board in this new z15 mainframe is thanks to IBM’s recent acquisition of Red Hat, which closed in July for $34 billion.

RedHat allowed IBM to bring cloud-native app development to IBM Z including OpenShift.

“OpenShift really provides a layer of installation for clients,” Rosamilia says. “If they choose to run today on premise, tomorrow on the IBM cloud and the next day they want to run on somebody else’s cloud, we’re in a hybrid multi-cloud world, so they’re able to do deployments everywhere and they don’t want to lock themselves into any platform.”

Instant recovery, encryption capabilities and cloud native developments certainly do come with a significant price tag. Each mainframe is custom built and costs anywhere from $250,000 to $4 million. IBM hopes to see a return in revenue in fiscal year 2020.

“We’re going to come out with it, demand will be what it is. I’m optimistic based on our co-creation, but time will tell,” Rosamilia says.

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