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IBM Z mainframe brings end-to-end encryption to all your data

17 Juillet 2017

It also helps organisations to comply with new standards such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will increase data protection requirements for organisations doing business in Europe, starting next year. As a result, encryption performance is seven times faster than on IBM's previous-generation z13 mainframe and, according to IBM, 18 times faster than systems powered by Intel Corp.'s x86 chips.

The 14-generation mainframe, called IBM Z, introduces a new encryption engine that for the first time will allow organizations to encrypt all data in their databases, applications, or cloud services, with no performance hit, said Mike Perera, VP of IBM's z Systems Software unit, in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.

IBM has launched a new mainframe system capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, in a bid to wade further into the financial cybersecurity market.

IBM is betting big on pervasive encryption with a new mainframe dubbed IBM Z that may land new workloads amid data breaches.

"The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very hard and expensive to do at scale", stated Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Z. This capability extends beyond the mainframe to other devices like storage systems or cloud servers. While IBM plays an important role in online commerce (its transaction engine handles 87 percent of credit card payments), many companies would likely have to upgrade before you'd see the benefit.

A recent Ponemon Institute study found that extensive use of encryption is a top factor in reducing the business impact and cost of a data breach, reducing cost on average by $125 per record. In addition, IBM Secure Service Container protects against "Snowden-style insider threats from contractors and privileged users", provides automatic encryption of data and code in-flight and at-rest, and tamper-resistance during installation and runtime. IBM Z goes against standard practices for encryption by encrypting in bulk at cloud scale.

The system is created to deal with huge data breaches, and it automates compliance for the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

IBM Z mainframe brings end-to-end encryption to all your data
IBM Z mainframe brings end-to-end encryption to all your data

Although there is a small chance that determined attackers will find a way of breaking the 256-bit AES encryption to access the stolen data, security commentators say that if the technology lives up to IBM's claims, it could be a big step forward in terms of data protection.

Applications that do need to decrypt the data will run under a special user ID that can access the decryption key - but such user IDs typically cannot be used to log in to the system, making it harder for hackers to both grab a file and decrypt it.

New microservices and applications that enable clients to maximise the value from security-rich on-premises enterprise systems in real time.

This mainframe responds to API calls from cloud services and z14 developers can call any cloud service.

Application development and test with the freedom to triple capacity of all development environments on z/OS to support latest DevOps tooling and processes. The systems handle 87pc of all credit card transactions, almost $8trn payments a year and 29bn ATM transactions each year, worth almost $5bn per day.

The overall mainframe platform revenues come from IBM's base and not from new hardware sales.

The world's largest MongoDB instance with 2,5-times faster NodeJS performance than x86-based platforms. There can be up to 32TB of memory, three times the z13 maximum, and its IO is three times faster as well. When available, these capabilities will include the support of workflow extensions for IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management for z/OS and real-time SMF analytics infrastructure support.

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IBM Z mainframe brings end-to-end encryption to all your data