IBM looks to boost sales the same way it has for 65 years – yes, it's a new mainframe: The z15

Lineup looks to put a pep in the step of flailing systems group

IBM this month officially unveiled the newest addition to its Z-series mainframe lineup in roughly two years.

Big Blue's z15 family of big iron apparently features improved data security controls and better cloud integration along with the usual array of hardware upgrades you would expect from the first major update to the line since 2017.

Among the features touted by IBM is an integration with its Cloud Pak container-plus packages, a move that aims to make the mainframes more appealing to companies working with hybrid cloud setups.

The other selling point for the big iron will be data security features. IBM is packing the mainframes with its Data Privacy Passports system, which encrypts and manages both keys and access policies for data across multiple machines. There's also a new Z-series processor onboard, a 14nm 12-core chip that runs up to 5.2GHz and has, among other things, an improved branch predictor.

Circuit schematic abstract illustration

Get your royalty-free soft-core OpenPOWER processor core blueprints here. Extra, extra – read all about it


On the storage front, Big Blue says the mainframes will sport improved speed largely from an all-flash storage setup. A complete rundown of the DS8900F, the storage system paired with the z15, can be found on our sister site, Blocks and Files.

"IBM Z is an essential component for addressing top concerns around hybrid cloud like security, privacy and agility," says IBM z general manager Ross Mauri.

"With z15, our clients can have the cloud they want, with the privacy and security they need – protection for both traditional mission-critical workloads and newer workloads like digital asset custody or blockchain."

While mainframes may be considered a dated concept by some, the big iron beasts remain essential pieces for many large enterprises, particularly financial houses, where application performance, security, and uptime make the mainframe boxes an appealing option.

IBM is hoping that the z-series overhaul will bring a much-needed windfall to its ailing Systems line as well. In its last quarter, the hardware division saw revenues fall by 19.5 per cent, a fall blamed in part on the pending mainframe releases.

The hope is that, as the new line of fancy mainframes hit the market, companies who had been holding off on getting one of the aging z14s will opt to get the new models and inject a fresh wave of cash into Systems. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022