IBM Mainframe50

The mainframe is a revolutionary computing system that is transforming business, whole industries, and the world as we know it.

By continually adapting to trends and evolving IT, we’re driving new approaches to cloud, analytics, security and mobile computing to help tackle challenges never before thought possible. We do that by collaborating with our clients to build better technology every day.

But the pioneering innovations of the mainframe all serve one enduring mission: Deliver game-changing technology that makes the extraordinary possible and improves the way the world works.

Tune in on Tuesday, April 8, at 2 p.m. ET for the Mainframe50 event live from NYC.

Mainframe into the future

The mainframe has changed significantly over the past 50 years and the rate of innovation is likely to accelerate going forward.

According to Andy Hoiles, new workload leader for the Middle East and Africa at IBM Middle East, predicting where computing will be in the next five, 10 or even 50 years is not an easy task. "The mainframe of 50 years hence will be dramatically different to that which we know today."

Today's systems and devices rely on electrical signals flowing from point to point across electrical circuits, he says. This rise in processing contributes to drastic increases global energy consumption. In the future, systems could deploy optical circuits, where light transmits the information, which will transform the size and power requirements of physical computing, notes Hoiles. "In such an environment where high speed transmissions are accomplished at very low power, we may even see the first solar powered mainframe."

Known for imbedding specialised accelerator elements, like encryption and compression, this platform is set to take advantage of new techniques to bring analytic power to the large data elements the mainframe platform is renowned for, says Hoiles. "This will help unlock the potential associated with the explosion in data that we talked about in previous articles."

In addition to this, there have already been advances in cognitive computing through the analysis of large data stores that are dynamically growing, which can provide different analytic capability systems that can adapt and learn. "A mainframe embedding such technologies has the potential to transform industries and redefine the computing environment," he notes.

For Hoiles, as storage technology advances, systems will have memory capacity that far exceeds what is being seen today, which will lead to huge advancements in real-time analytics. "With the mainframe's transactional capability it will be possible to perform analytical operations in real-time based on the huge data contained in memory, giving an immediate answer or diagnosis to a problem."

From a security perspective, Hoiles foresees that mainframe technology of the future will isolate critical data in order to tamper proof critical information stores. "These techniques will continue the history of security that the platform is recognised for."

Currently, the mainframe can be used to consolidate workloads, simplify the environment and drive down costs, he says, noting that new developments in mainframe technologies will continue to drive value in similar ways. Interactions with these platforms may no longer require keyboards and screens but will rather be run via voice or hand gestures; simplifying computing through more intuitive interfaces, Hoiles continues.

Another way of reducing the cost and effort of administration of mainframes is through self-management, he adds. "IT analytics on the mainframe continues to expand to include more functions associated with the identification of issues before they affect the services for the end user," concludes Hoiles. "In the future, systems will constantly check point themselves so not only can they predict failure but will take action themselves transparently without use for human intervention, both at the application and system level."

Other news

Mainframe into the future

30 May 2014   Joanne Carew

With a 50-year legacy, the mainframe is set to change and innovate to meet future challenges, says IBM.

Tackling big data with mainframe tech

27 May 2014   Joanne Carew

Mainframes make it possible to manage a relevant mix of data centrally, with relative ease, says IBM.

Tackling the mainframe skills crisis

21 May 2014   Joanne Carew

Despite concerns about a lack of mainframe skills, IBM's Andy Hoiles believes there are enough plans in place to boost skills.

Mainframe and mobile: the case of FNB

13 May 2014   Joanne Carew

Requiring a system that can handle ever-increasing transaction volumes in a secure way, the mainframe proves an attractive option for banks.

Security and the mainframe

09 May 2014   Joanne Carew

Mainframe technology is a promising option for businesses looking to secure the exchange of information across networks, says IBM.

Visa embraces mainframe

02 May 2014   Joanne Carew

The mainframe offers the reliability and performance needed to ensure Visa's services run uninterrupted, says IBM.

Addressing IT needs with mainframe innovation

24 Apr 2014   Joanne Carew

Able to process very large datasets and offer "cloud-like" environments, the mainframe remains a relevant platform, says IBM.

The mainframe turns 50

11 Apr 2014   Joanne Carew

Can a mainframe deliver the performance and efficiency of more modern technology? IBM says yes.

IBM zIQ – What's the least expensive cloud platform?

IBM zIQ – What's the least expensive cloud platform?

Not all cloud solutions are created equal – or equally priced. With 200 virtual servers, going with either a public cloud provider or a do-it-yourself distributed cloud solution can cost roughly the same ($135/VM versus $138 respectively). But with the do-it-yourself distributed route, it's easy to get lost in an abundance of servers, outages, security gaps and skyrocketing energy costs. Thankfully, there's another option: the mainframe. At 200 VMs, the mainframe is not only $132/VM, but the price per VM can drop up to 50% as your business grows. And it carries the security and reliability that the mainframe is known for, making it the best, least expensive cloud platform.

FNB provides upward mobility for Africa through mobile banking

FNB provides upward mobility for Africa through mobile banking

While branch and ATM use becomes stagnant and even declines, mobile banking is showing no signs of slowing. In fact, First National Bank has seen incredible growth across mobile channels -- mobile and online volume have reached 165 and 175 million per month (as of April 2014 levels reached 234 million per month), respectively while branch banking idles at just 11.5 million per month. FNB relies on the mainframe to evolve its infrastructure to support a new digital banking model, and reaching customers in new ways -- all the time, everywhere.

Engines of Progress: Business Connexion achieves the impossible

Engines of Progress: Business Connexion achieves the impossible

The mainframe enables Business Connexion to build and deploy an end-to-end cloud offering that will enable them to provide seamless and continuous service to customers across Africa. By giving access to services like internet, banking and telemedicine, Business Connexion can affect positive future outcomes of its communities and empower prosperity across the disconnected continent.

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