Today, IBM is presenting the z16 Dayden, the successor to the z15 mainframe that was launched three years ago. The z16 is based on the all-new Telum processor, launches on May 31, 2022 with the usual value for money improvements and brings two qualitative improvements: on-chip AI accelerators and quantum-proof computing.
According to IBM, the z in the product name of the new mainframe stands for the design goal of zero downtime, the 16 for the 16th generation of the 1964 /360 presented, forward-compatible mainframe. Without going into too much technical detail, Ross Mauri, IBM's general manager responsible for systems business, presented the two most important innovations at a press conference: AI inferencing within transactions at scale and the industry's first quantum security functions to protect customer data.
IBM's new mainframe processor
The first quantum-safe computing system
Building on IBM technologies such as Pervasive Encryption and Confidential Computing, IBM z16 goes a step further by protecting data from future threats that may evolve with advances in quantum computing. A z16 uses the so-called grid-based cryptography, for example for a secure boot. This means that attackers cannot inject malware into the boot process to take over the system during startup.
In addition, the Crypto Express 8S (CEX8S) coprocessor provides customers in hardware form with both classical and quantum-proof cryptographic technologies to require confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation of information. The map offers quantum-safe APIs to access quantum-safe algorithms. The secure boot process and quantum-safe cryptography should already help to ward off future threats related to quantum computers, including attacks such as Harvest Now or Decrypt Later, which can lead to extortion, loss of intellectual property or disclosure of sensitive data.