IBM pitches mainframe as tool for smoother cloud adoption

News Maxwell Cooter Aug 28, 2012

The mainframe isn't dead: it has a part to play in cloud deployment says IBM

Cloud computing – that signifies the death of the mainframe, right? Not according to IBM it doesn’t.

The company has just released the latest zEnterprise mainframe, promising that the EC12 model offers a way to support private cloud environments.

IBM claimed that the product could be used to consolidate thousands of distributed systems on to Linux, reducing hardware, power and real estate costs.

The product makes much of its analytical capabilities, tapping into the growing interest in analysing Big Data. ThezEC12 offers an IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator that enables clients to simultaneously handle complex business analytics and operational analytics.

Given the concern of security in cloud deployment, a key element of the zEC12 launch is the inclusion of a cryptographic processor, Crypto Express4S, that offers additional security for particularly sensitive transactions. IBM said this meant the zEC12 could be used for applications such as digital signatures for passports and ID cards. The new mainframe has also achieved the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification to enable customers to handle sensitive data.

The launch of the zEC12 is not the only cloud-based initiative from IBM. The company has also acquired HR company Kenexa to draw on its expertise in cloud and social marketing.

The acquisition, for $1.3 billion,  is aimed at tapping into a global trend to learn more about customers and their behaviour. According to a recent IBM survey,  57 percent of CEOs identified social business as a top priority and more than 73 percent are making significant investments to draw insights into available data.

"Every company, across every business operation, is looking to tap into the power of social networking to transform the way they work, collaborate and out innovate their competitors," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business for IBM.