13 Things to Know About the z13

By Ross Mauri

A new, radically redesigned IBM mainframe was formally launched January 14. The z13’s introduction culminates a five-year project and an investment that tops $1 billion. The new mainframe has been designed from the ground up to help companies and governments address the mega trends around mobile, analytics and cloud.

Here are 13 important things to know about the z13:

  1. Mobile is driving exponential growth in transactions. By 2018, each mobile consumer is expected to drive 5,000 or more systems transactions per day and that could quadruple by 2025. Meanwhile, users expect mobile transactions to be lighting fast and seamless. The new mainframe supercharges the world’s premier data and transaction engine for the mobile era and the app economy.
  2. The z13 features the world’s fastest processor: 300 percent more memory and 100 percent more bandwidth.
  3. The z13 will deliver transaction response times in milliseconds.
  4. The new mainframe marks the first time a system is able to process 30,000 transactions per second – the equivalent of 100 Cyber Mondays every day.
  5. The z13 integrates the ability to deliver real-time transactional scoring, such as fraud detection and the ability to run high volume online transaction processing, while running complex query workloads concurrently in the same database with little to no impact to operational service levels. The integrated transaction and analytics capability in the z13 allows the mainframe to deliver insights at least 17 times faster than the competition with 13 times the price performance.
  6. The z13 dramatically increases the speed of data encryption, with new cryptographic security that protects the privacy of data from mobile devices to data centers.
  7. IBM worked with more than 60 mainframe clients to ensure that the z13 incorporates the capabilities that enterprises need to meet today’s demands.
  8. The z13 features new large-memory configurations. To help clients exploit this, IBM has overhauled its memory pricing. Many clients will be able to deploy as much as five times their previous memory configurations at a price similar to what they paid previously.
  9. The new mainframe includes new support for Hadoop, enabling unstructured data to be analyzed in the system. Other analytics advances include faster acceleration of queries by adding DB2 BLU for Linux, enhancements to the IBM DB2 analytics accelerator, and vastly improved performance for mathematically intense analytics workloads.
  10. The z13 is the ideal cloud architecture, legendary for its ability to scale and reliably and securely handle multiple workloads. In a scale-out model, it is capable of running up to 8000 virtual servers – more than 50 virtual servers per core. No other platform can touch that, and for clients, it means lower software, energy and facilities costs.
  11. The z13 lowers the cost of running cloud on the mainframe to almost half the cost of running cloud on an x86/distributed server environment, while boosting performance by up to 30 percent.
  12. The z13 is an open platform, fully supporting Linux, OpenStack and more.
  13. The z13 is so named because it’s the 13th generation of CMOS mainframe.

The z13 is a big step into the future for the IBM mainframe, combining the system’s world-renowned strengths with new capabilities to manage the soaring growth in mobile, achieve quicker insights from transactions and deliver cloud economics at scale without the risk.


Ross A. Mauri is the General Manager for IBM z Systems. In that capacity, he is responsible for all facets of z System’s business including strategy, architecture, technology development, operating systems, tooling, z Systems software, including CICS and IMS, operations, and overall financial performance. Connect with Ross on Twitter: @rossmauri.


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