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Security. Reliability. Performance. Analytics. Services.

These are the most crucial considerations for corporate enterprises in choosing a hardware platform. The underlying server hardware functions as the foundational element for the business’ entire infrastructure and interconnected environment. Today’s 21st century Digital Age networks are characterized by increasingly demand-intensive workloads; the need to use Big Data analytics to analyze and interpret the massive volumes and variety of data to make proactive decisions and keep the business competitive. Security is a top priority. It’s absolutely essential to safeguard sensitive data and Intellectual Property (IP) from sophisticated, organized external hackers and defend against threats posed by internal employees.

The latest IBM z13s enterprise server delivers embedded security, state-of-the-art analytics and unparalleled reliability, performance and throughput. It is fine tuned for hybrid cloud environments. And it’s especially useful as a secure foundational element in Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. The newly announced, z13s is highly robust: it supports the most compute-intensive workloads in hybrid cloud and on-premises environments. The newest member of the z Systems family, the z13s, incorporates advanced, embedded cryptography features in the hardware that allow it to encrypt and decrypt data twice as fast as previous generations, with no reduction in transactional throughput owing to the updated cryptographic coprocessor for every chip core and tamper-resistant hardware-accelerated cryptographic coprocessor cards.

IBM is also leveraging its experience in advanced analytics to assist enterprises in proactively protecting their data. IBM is offering new Cyber Security Analytics to z Systems customers which can identify malicious activity by learning user behavior over time. The Cyber Security Analytics solution, developed by IBM Research, can detect anomalous patterns on the platform, alerting administrators to potential malicious activity. Along with IBM Security QRadar software, which can correlate data from more than 500 sources to help organizations determine if security-related events are simply anomalies or potential threats, the z13s delivers end to end security protection. IBM is making the z Systems Cyber Security Analytics available on a no-charge, beta service for z13 and z13s customers.

No other server platform provides comparable security, true fault tolerant reliability and performance to the z13s mainframe class server. During the past several years, the z Systems server has achieved the highest security and reliability ratings besting every other mainstream or niche market hardware platform in independent (non-vendor sponsored) server hardware reliability polls jointly conducted by ITIC and Strategy Analytics.

Among the survey highlights:

  • Fault Tolerant reliability. IBM z Systems servers scored the highest reliability/uptime of any server platform. The z Systems servers experienced just 1.27 minutes of unplanned per server annual downtime. That means each individual z Systems servers averaged only 7 to 10 seconds of monthly downtime due to unplanned outages or technical glitches. This equates to 99.9999% of true fault tolerant reliability.
  • The inherent reliability of the z Systems platform running the z/OS server and Linux operating systems like Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SuSE and open source Ubuntu distribution is the best in the industry with 95% of organizations reporting 99.999% or greater reliability. Rock Solid Security: The ITIC/Strategy Analytics 2016 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey revealed that 98% of System customers indicated their systems have never experienced a data breach due to inherent z System security vulnerabilities over the last 12 to 18 months.
  • Proactive vs. Reactive Security: By contrast, Strategy Analytics IoT 2016 Security Threats and Trends survey revealed that in the general corporate enterprise populace, up to 56% of companies acknowledged they experienced or may have suffered a security breach in the last year. Only 6% of businesses are able to successfully identify and repel hacks before they can penetrate the network and cause problems, according to the SA IoT 2016 Security Threats and Trends survey.

IBM z13s Delivers Top Notch Security

Security is the number one challenge facing every business, as cited by 52% of the respondents to Strategy Analytics IoT 2016 Security Threats and Trends survey. Hackers are more organized. And hacks are more sophisticated. Vulnerabilities are rapidly proliferating and security is more perilous, pernicious and pervasive every day. The rise in mobile and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) usage and the Internet of Things (IoT) networks means that the attack surface or vector is exponentially larger. There are many more potential entry points into the network. IT departments and security administrators are overwhelmed; budgets and resources are over-taxed. Organizations need embedded server security and the z Systems enterprise servers deliver.

IBM z13s Offers Affordable Up Front Acquisition Cost and Lowers TCO

IBM typically does not publicize z Systems pricing. And that’s too bad because the majority of corporate enterprises that are not already IBM customers, as well as the press and industry analysts naturally assume that the z Systems line of mainframe class servers pricing must start at $1 Million and go up from there. Not true. Surprisingly, entry level configurations of the z Systems servers can be had for $100,000. To be sure, very few organizations will opt for a stripped down, bare bones z Systems model. But in comparison to everyday workhorse x86 servers, even the entry level z Systems servers are powerhouses. SA’s research data indicates that organizations that purchase even entry level z Systems servers can expect a consolidation ratio ranging on average from 6:1 to 14:1 when upgrading from older, outmoded x86 server models. That’s a pretty good trade-in and trade-up.

The z13s It makes good business sense for  very large organizations that require a best of breed server to power their enterprises. It’s also a good fit in starter configurations that are affordable and cost effective for small midsize enterprises (SMEs) that want a high performance, robust, feature rich platform that support highly secure, tamper-resistant data transmissions to and from public and private clouds and across IoT ecosystems.

Conclusions

Individually and collectively, the across-the-board enhancements to the z13s, bolster and expand IBM’s already leading edge positioning. The entire z Systems portfolio, including the new z13s, are the “go to” high end server platform for mid-size and large enterprises in a wide range of verticals. This includes: Academic/education, banking/finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing and retail vertical market segments that demand top notch performance and mission critical reliability of 99.999% or higher. The new z13s strengthens IBM’s already robust z Systems mainframe server product portfolio. It delivers exceptional performance, scalability and mission critical reliability in physical, virtual and cloud environments. Customers that deploy the z13s can lower TCO over the entire product life cycle and achieve near immediate ROI via its crucial embedded security, near flawless system availability and reliability.

IBM Power Systems Servers Most Reliable for Seventh Straight Year; Lenovo x86 Servers Deliver Highest Uptime/Availability among all Intel x86-based Systems; Cisco UCS Stays Strong; Dell Reliability Ratchets Up; Intel Xeon Processor E7 v3 chips incorporate advanced analytics; significantly boost reliability of x86-based servers

In 2016 and beyond, infrastructure reliability is more essential than ever.

The overall health of network operations, applications, management and security functions all depend on the core foundational elements: server hardware, server operating systems and virtualization to deliver high availability, robust management and solid security. The reliability of the server, server OS and virtualization platforms are the cornerstones of the entire network infrastructure. The individual and collective reliability of these platforms have a direct, immediate and long lasting impact on daily operations and business results. For the seventh year in a row, corporate enterprise users said IBM server hardware delivered the highest levels of reliability/uptime among 14 server hardware and 11 different server hardware virtualization platforms. A 61% majority of IBM Power Systems servers and Lenovo System x servers achieved “five nines” or 99.999% availability – the equivalent of 5.25 minutes of unplanned per server /per annum downtime compared to 46% of Hewlett-Packard servers and 40% of Oracle server hardware.

Those are the results of the latest independent ITIC 2016 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at over 600 organizations worldwide in January 2016. ITIC’s seventh annual Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability poll indicates that the inherent reliability of server hardware and server operating system software continues to improve. However, the results also reveal that external issues, most notably human error, security breaches and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are playing a more pivotal and direct role in solidifying or undermining reliability. Overall, the inherent reliability of the majority of server hardware platforms, server operating systems and the underlying processor technology continues to improve year over year.

Survey Highlights

Among the top survey findings:

  •   IBM Power Systems servers 1% — of > 4 hours of per server/per annum downtime of any major mainstream hardware platform.
  •  IBM z Systems Enterprise mainframe had the highest overall reliability, performance, security and manageability amongst all hardware platforms.,  
  •  IBM Power Systems and Lenovo x86 server hardware running the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu open source operating systems were either first or second in every reliability category, including virtualization and security.
  •  Cisco, Dell, IBM and Lenovo server hardware received the highest marks for customer satisfaction and overall technical support.
  •  Oracle x86 and HP ProLiant servers experienced the highest percentages — 10%, each — of >4 hours of per server annual downtime.
  • Dell PowerEdge Server reliability notched a measurable increase with only six percent of the Dell servers experiencing in excess of 4 hours of downtime versus 13% in the 2014 survey. Much of the higher outage time on the Oracle, HP and Dell platforms is attributable to a high proportion of users retaining the hardware for four, five and even six+ years without refreshing/retrofitting the servers.
  • Some 51% of survey respondents reported that aged or inadequate hardware (3 ½+ years) has had a negative impact on server uptime and reliability vs. only 31% of respondents that said it has not impacted reliability/uptime.

In summary, the reliability and availability of the underlying server hardware and server OS platforms is more crucial than ever as organizations increasingly deploy leading edge technologies like Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobility.

Eight out of 10 — 82% — of the over 600 respondents to ITIC’s 2014-2015 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey say security issues negatively impact overall server, operating system and network reliability. Of that figure a 53% majority of those polled say that security vulnerabilities and hacks have a “moderate,” “significant” or “crucial impact on network availability and uptime (See Exhibit 1).

Overall, the latest ITIC survey results showed that organizations are still more reactive than proactive regarding security threats. Some 15% of the over 600 global corporate respondents are extremely lax: some seven percent said that security issues have no impact on their environment while another eight percent indicated that they don’t keep track of whether or not security issues negatively affect the uptime and availability of their networks. In contrast, 24% of survey participants or one-in-four said security has a “significant” or “crucial” negative impact on network reliability and performance.

Still, despite the well documented and high profile hacks into companies like Target, eBay, Google and other big name vendors this year, the survey found that seven-out-of-10 firms – 70% – are generally confident in the security of their hardware, software and applications – until they get hacked.