IBM is making a new mainframe and it’s for the midmarket

Orlando, Fla. – Mainframes and channel partners just never seemed to mix well in the past. However, IBM is rethinking its mainframe strategy and offering and believes this is the right time for the channel to engage with Big Blue.

At the Partnerworld Leadership Conference, IBM unveiled the z13s mainframe, which follows last year’s release of the z13 unit. The positioning for the z13s is it’s specifically designed for encrypted hybrid clouds and the mid-market; two areas that the channel plays big role in today. It’s also being labeled as an entry-level machine to the z Systems line, which is targeted to the enterprise.

From a market point of view IDC is forecasting 80 per cent adoption of enterprise hybrid cloud and cloud networks by 2017.

Another aspect of the z13s channel friendliness is IBM’s decision to make its Ready for IBM Security Intelligence program available to partners interested in reselling the mainframe.

The Ready for IBM Security Intelligence program certifies and promotes security solutions developed by a solution provider and validated by IBM. Through this program IBM will introduce cyber security partners such as BlackRidge Technology, Forcepoint and RSM Partners to the channel to help them deliver enterprise-grade solutions on the z13s.

IBM z13s mainframe
IBM z13s mainframe

The z13s comes with advanced cryptography features embedded into the unit, which encrypts data and decrypt it in real time, said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of IBM Systems.

“The z13s is also tamper-proof system where it nullifies the keys and makes the data useless,” Rosamilia said.

Sophia Lopez, IBM’s program director for cloud, analytics and mobile for worldwide offering management on z Systems Solutions, told CDN there are three main areas where the channel should be interested in the z13s.

They are:

  1. Targeted for mid-size customers;
  2. Expanded security capabilities with cyber-security analytics that studies user behaviours; and
  3. The opportunity for partners to create a rich network security solution from infrastructure to end-point.

Currently IBM has 12 authorized IBM business partners selling z Systems. “The z13s is targeted potentially to the mid-size market and that’s a better fit for channel partners. It has additional security and sometimes we find clients are looking for that quality of service in a smaller more flexible package,” she said.

Lopez said with cloud computing it has to run somewhere and usually that’s a data centre. She believes the market is at an inflection point where clients are running trillions of dollars in transactions through a data centre or hybrid experience that has an app for CRM and have not yet figured out how to leverage the data. Or who is connected into other apps creating shadow IT.

The z13s can enable partners to add value on-premise and on hybrid cloud with local security and an always-on approach, she added.

The market might also be ready for this type of mainframe solution from IBM. “There are a lot of start-ups with younger staff that use wearable technology and mobile apps who have no issue with providing their information and they don’t ask about the security policy. Their identification can get stolen and then they come to the realization that encryption does matter. Also breaches are costing CIOs there job. Security isn’t just a cost anymore; its table stakes,” Lopez said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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