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From my very early days in this industry as an IBM VM/CP programmer, I never would have thought I’d still be talking about this and be a part of the evolution of modern-day innovative value of the mainframe.  Its architecture is resilient, its performance and efficiency are world-class, and its data protection and privacy capabilities are revolutionary.

The latest IBM z15 system was designed to support your mission-critical initiatives and allow you to be innovative as you design and scale your environment.  Combined with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE, these state-of-the-art systems provide an ultra-secure data serving platform to support the global economic growth we are seeing today.

Whether you are new to the world of IBM Z or an existing SUSE and IBM Z customer, there’s a lot of great work being done here at SUSE for the IBM z15 and IBM LinuxONE that I want to share with you, including security, cloud enablement, Kubernetes and resiliency that enable you to build with flexibility, deliver with confidence and protect the future.  We also have some great success stories for SUSE and IBM Z that I will refer to at the end.  These are exciting times!

Pervasive Encryption and Data Privacy

The IBM z15 is designed to deliver 14% more performance per core than its predecessor and 2x faster cryptography for your mission-critical workloads.  SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE exploits its enhanced crypto cards to enable data encryption for both data at rest and data in flight.  That’s a big deal when you need peace of mind in securing your business data and transactions.  One of the biggest new features of the IBM z15 is called Data Privacy Passports, whereby any data encrypted on the z15 will keep encrypted and privacy maintained by policy as it moves to the public cloud or a third party.  The return on investment?  Encrypting the data prior to it going in motion can thwart data breaches – that’s big value.  SUSE enables and supports pervasive encryption on the IBM Z platform.

Hybrid Cloud Readiness

SUSE has done lots of work in this area to help you deploy and support your cloud environment using open source on the IBM z15.

There is a significant new project within the Open Mainframe Project community called Feilong.  Feilong is a z/VM Cloud Connector that provides virtual resource management for z/VM. Users can manage the VM lifecycle dynamically and automatically without deep knowledge of z/VM itself through REST API. Users do not need to manually provision, manage, and destroy guests. Feilong also provides an SDK to make it easy to develop system management tools. Fundamentally, Feilong allows IaaS/PaaS solutions such as OpenStack or Terraform to consume z/VM by providing REST APIs, making time to market faster.  SUSE is involved in the Feilong project and validates products like SUSE OpenStack Cloud in the z/VM environment.

Another area of interest that is a hot topic for IBM Z is containerization of workloads, which has far-reaching performance and time-to-market implications in the IBM Z environment.  SUSE recently conducted an intern project – initiated by the Open Mainframe Project community – to implement and deploy containerized Cloud Foundry using Kubernetes on IBM Z.  This successful project also deployed a build server (“Jenkins”) that helps build the Cloud Foundry and base docker images and automates the process, providing stable builds that can be used on IBM Z.

Business-Critical Computing and Resilience

IBM has added instant recovery to the z15, utilizing “dark cores” and capacity to minimize the duration and impact of downtime and accelerate the recovery of your mission-critical applications.  And SUSE is doing its part as well.  SUSE already provides the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension as a free add-on with the base operating system.  And soon, SUSE will deliver SUSE Live Patching for IBM Z and LinuxONE.  With Live Patching, you can apply patches to your Linux kernel without rebooting your system.  Your applications keep running while you patch the Linux kernel for critical updates.  That’s a big deal for business-critical workloads!

SUSE and IBM Z Success Stories

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (NCFB) needed to deliver fast, personalized customer services at scale.  As a leading insurer, NCFB faced increasing demand for its highly individualized insurance policies. To serve a growing client base without compromising on its exceptional service quality, the company deployed brand new IBM Z technology and IBM Z running SUSE Linux Enterprise to support more responsive customer services on a larger scale.

Fort Vale wanted to ease buyer journeys by providing timely and detailed information to customers.  Using SUSE Linux Enterprise on IBM LinuxONE, they were able to securely share production and supply chain information, thus enhancing the customer experience. Seeking an agile, reliable and highly secure platform for a new integrated ERP system, the company deployed IBM LinuxONE with SUSE, accelerating reporting and helping to share data with customers.

As you can tell, the combination of SUSE Linux Enterprise and IBM Z delivers a highly secure, transaction-intensive, scalable and resilient data serving platform for business-critical workloads – and will continue to deliver innovative technology together to galvanize today’s infrastructure.  These future-proof features provide peace of mind that your business and your customers’ data is protected.

To learn more, visit ibm.com/z15 and suse.com/products/systemz .

Coming Soon!  A joint webinar featuring IBM, SUSE, and ICU IT Services will be held on Tuesday, November 12th at 11am Eastern Time.  Please click here to register!

“Data breaches are frequently in the news today, with loss of data and negative impact to corporate reputation. SUSE and IBM are working together to enable organizations to protect 100% of their data with pervasive encryption, application isolation, and data privacy across the enterprise. In this webcast, experts from SUSE, IBM, and a Cloud Service Provider will describe how to protect data and applications without compromising performance, and the new features in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, IBM z15 and IBM LinuxONE III that will support this.”

Note:  While this blog post focuses on SUSE and IBM z15, there is a recent similar blog post that focuses on the new IBM LinuxONE III – combined with SUSE for a highly secure data serving platform.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff Reser  @JeffReser

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