Vendor rolls out z15 mainframe and DS8900F storage system
Channel partners played an important role in the development and launch of IBM’s newest mainframe computer and mainframe-focused storage appliance, both of which were rolled out this month, according to vendor officials.
The Lowdown: More than 100 companies – including IBM Business Partners and end users – participated in “design thinking sessions” that were critical in developing the technical specifications and capabilities for the z15 mainframe and DS8900F storage systems, Mary Coucher, vice president of the worldwide IBM Systems channel and IBM partner ecosystem, wrote in a blog post. Partners also participated in a number of programs, including in-depth training courses, enablement Webinars, and client proposal readiness sessions.
The Details: IBM earlier this month launched z15, the latest mainframe platform for the enterprise that focused on multicloud and hybrid cloud environments, data privacy, and security. The latter two were key considerations given the regulations that government agencies around the world are putting in place to force companies to protect customer and corporate data. The new z15 includes Data Privacy Passports, a solution that includes a number of privacy controls aimed at protecting data, such as encrypting data everywhere across hybrid and multicloud environments.
IBM also loaded up the DS8900F all-flash storage system with data protection and resiliency capabilities. That includes immutable point-in-time copies of production data so that user data on the system can’t be modified or deleted because of user errors, malicious destruction, or ransomware attacks. Partners also were deeply involved in the pre-launch work for the new storage system, including education sessions and events, Coucher said.
The deep partner involvement in the development and launch of both products illustrates the increasing importance of the channel in IBM’s larger strategy, she said. Partners have been prepared by IBM just as the company’s own sellers have.
The Impact: The new mainframe and storage systems give partners not only new products that they can bring to their customers but also tools for expanding their reach into new industries and regions. The security and data privacy features will be key to those efforts. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the highest-profile of data privacy rules, but other regions are instituting similar regulations that put the responsibility for data privacy squarely on the shoulders of organizations and their partners and vendors.
Background: IBM channel partner Ensono, in conjunction with the rollout of the z15 and DS8900F, released a report that showed that modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain are giving enterprises more reasons to continue using mainframes, which have been around since the 1960s and whose demise has been predicted for years. Half of the 153 IT decision-makers surveyed said they plan to grow their use of mainframes in their on-premises environments.
The Buzz: “With z15, partners can help clients address their top concerns around hybrid cloud, including security, privacy and agility,” Coucher said. “Many partners plan to use z15 to drive new workloads and modernize existing ones. Those with value-added business models that extend beyond traditional sales also plan to use z15 to accelerate their own solutions and services, which often include cloud hosting, as-a-service offerings, consulting, and solutions built with their own IP.”
“I attended IBM’s in-depth launch readiness education sessions for both z15 and the new DS8900F storage line. The launch for these products feels very coordinated and extremely well-organized for partners, with high expectations of making an impact for clients,” said Rob Davis, business development director at IBM Business Partner TES Enterprise Solutions. “The IBM Z and storage updates should resonate well with end users, especially when it comes to using features like Data Privacy Passports to tackle security challenges such as data access, which are top of mind for many C-suite executives.”
“The z15 improved encryption and compression capabilities make it very affordable for clients to encrypt their important data without consuming a ton of additional CPU time,” said Jeffrey Shoup, director of mainframe solutions architecture at Ensono. “Older systems weren’t as efficient/powerful when doing encryption and compression, and so clients always had to weigh the value of the encryption versus the computing cost to accomplish it. With the continued hardware advancements in the z15, this concern is all but eliminated. This can be a huge benefit to clients running confidential and protected data on their mainframes.”
“The new DS8900F storage systems offer real advantages for our customers and our own bottom line,” Truenorth CTO William Roman said. “They help reduce system complexity, and they continue the relentless IBM focus on greater cost-efficiency. Most important, they offer the hybrid multicloud functionality and data security our customers demand.”