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IBM teases AI-infused hybrid cloudy upgrade to z/OS - Bingo!

Mainframes dating back to 2017 can run forthcoming OS, which has something for everyone – even COBOL coders

IBM has teased a Q3 2023 release for a major upgrade to its z/OS mainframe operating environment.

"IBM intends for z/OS Version 3 to be the basis for an AI-infused, hybrid cloud operating system, and z/OS 3.1 will be the first release in that journey" states a preview announcement published on February 28.

The release will see AI workloads "infused into the operating system using intelligent automation and accelerated inferencing at scale to extract and leverage valuable data insights" – a sentence that contains a greater density of buzzwords than was previously thought possible.


IBM updates desktop mainframe emulator


Big Blue also stated it "intends to embrace aspects of cloud-native management of z/OS based on industry standards and access to consistent and modern browser-based interfaces." Those enhancements are aimed at both developers and admins, so that each group can enjoy self-service access to admin tools.

Those tending troves of COBOL code have not been forgotten, with support for 31-bit COBOL apps to be extended to call 64-bit Java programs coming to z/OS thanks to imminent enhancements to the IBM Semeru Runtime.

Enabling containerized apps spanning hybrid clouds, Linux, and z/OS is another priority. IBM lists a service that will allow the OS to access "data in cloud object stores and the ability to incorporate cloud object data into z/OS workloads" as an example of its intentions.

That isn't quite the same hybrid cloud vision advanced in other ecosystems, which generally suggest one operating environment can run with logical networks and security polices that span multiple clouds – be they private, hosted by different hyperscalers, or at smaller cloud providers.

Security is also on Big Blue's to-do list, as shown by a promised addition of "advancements in quantum-safe encryption for both data at rest and in flight with simplified crypto interfaces."

z/OS 3.1 will run on several Z14 mainframes – a range launched in 2017. A pair of z15 models are also supported, along with a sole representative of the z16 range launched in 2022.

IBM told customers that new features will appear in z/OS 3.1 "over time" in line with its continuous delivery strategy.

Big Blue's post announcing the OS upgrade comprises over 8,000 words detailing future features. Good luck digesting that! ®

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