IBM z15 – September 12, 2019 Announcement

September 13th, 2019 IBM z15 – September 12, 2019 Announcement
Marianne Eggett
z Systems Solutions Consultant


IBM announced the new enterprise system that fits nicely in a 19” rack form factor, resulting in a 25% reduction in space from the z14. Now, the enterprise IBM Z system resides with other data center servers. IBM included 102 companies in the redesigning effort to produce a bigger, faster IBM Z System, as they continue the evolution of the IBM mainframe.

Where is the IBM mainframe going? This new z15 is designed to address the highest level of service, strictest data protection and privacy needs, and it targets the mission-critical workloads supporting applications such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.

Technical Peek

The new IBM z15, machine type 8561 Model T01 and IBM LInuxONE III model LT1, includes up to 190 CPs or IFLs and maximum of 126 zIIPs. A 2:1 ratio still applies for zIIPs to CPs. Though on one model, which is new for IBM, there are five feature codes that specify core size; Max 34, 71, 108, 145 and 190. Memory ranges from 8TB on the Max 34 to 40TB on the Max 190. The new form factor has redesigned the frames with up to 4 CPC frames with CPC drawers, I/O and power plus I/O expansion frames.

Either the z13 or z14 can upgrade to the IBM z15. No upgrades from older LinuxONE servers to the new LinuxONE III.

Key improvements

IBM improved many key components from the z14 including:

  • 14% single thread performance improvement
  • 25% capacity growth over z14
  • New on-chip acceleration of compression
  • More improvements in pause-less garbage collection for JAVA
  • Vector enhancement for analytics

Compression makes a big impact here with 6 times compression ratio for storage and a whopping 42 times faster file transfer, with the Integrated Accelerator for zEDC from prior generations. IBM continues to focus on data protection by improving the SSL/TLS handshake speeds, with the new Crypto Express 7S. More I/O channels, up by 20% from IBM z14, and more logical Coupling Facility, more than 50%. All this is targeted for fast, efficient implementation of Pervasive Encryption, the IBM sweet spot for the IBM z15.

IBM also introduced IBM Data Privacy Passports to protect data through the network. This facility provides a Passport Controller deployed on an IBM z15 in a Secure Service Container. IMS, Db2 and IBM Data Virtualization Manager for z/OS participate in this initial implementation, using JDBC connections. IBM has issued a Statement of Direction for in-flight data encryption with IBM Fibre Channel Endpoint Security. This product will have auditable verification monitoring ensuring only trusted access to IBM Z systems and storage devices. Another product, z/OS Data Privacy for Diagnostics, will be able to detect, tag and redact sensitive data in dumps.

Dark cores. IBM now allows customers to take advantage of unused cores during system recover, in the new System Recovery Boost period. Sub-capacity IBM Z’s run at full-capacity speed during the Boost period, and zIIPs are used to speed up recovery. This capability solves the time needed for system recovery, in many cases significantly.

Continued Excellence

IBM continues its superior availability and reliability with this IBM z15 server. With most customers requiring at least four 9’s, IBM’s customers continue to see five and six 9’s in reliability, which far exceeds other server platforms

The Cloud, Containers and Artificial Intelligence

IBM announced its intent to deliver the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on Linux for IBM Z and LinuxONE. Also, IBM’s Cloud Paks are targeted for IBM Z. All this is to accelerate cloud application deployment for Linux on Z and LinuxONE.

IBM continues its focus on z/OS Container Extensions to deliver Docker images in z/OS. This workload is zIIP eligible, fencing Docker containers from IBM software and third-party costs based on MSU usage.

Db2 Analytics Accelerator and Watson Machine Learning for z/OS see performance improvements running on the new z15.

More Information

There is so much more in this announcement, but clearly, IBM is stepping up to the data security challenge. Fast, efficient, secure data running in containers, using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for development sends a clear vision of this IBM Z platform. This server, mainframe, IBM Z System is not going away. IBM is designing this server to be customer’s first choice for their current and future applications.

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