IBM z16 mainframe announced, with cryptography and real-time AI

IBM has today announced its next generation of mainframe, z16, to mitigate rising fraud and increase cyber resiliency

The new z16 mainframe will integrate the IBM Telum processor for real-time insights aided by AI, while lattice-based cryptography will protect data against future threats that could evolve with advances in quantum computing.

The quantum-safe infrastructure, underpinned by lattice-based cryptography, is designed to protect clients from “harvest now, decrypt later” threats.

As fraud and cyber attacks continue to rise, financial services organisations will now be able to analyse for fraud during transactions at scale, with z16 being capable of processing 300 billion inference requests daily, with just one millisecond of latency.

In addition, the Crypto Express 8S (CEX8S) hardware security module will offer clients both classical and quantum-safe cryptographic technology, to help address use cases requiring information confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation.

IBM’s mainframe has been valued by two thirds of the Fortune 100; 45 of the world’s top 50 banks; eight of the top 10 insurers; and eight out of the top 10 telecoms providers worldwide, when it comes to securing hybrid cloud environments.

Today’s release comes following over 1,100 hours of co-creation, with more than 70 clients and ecosystem partners.

“IBM is the gold standard for highly secured transaction processing. Now with IBM z16 innovations, our clients can increase decision velocity with inferencing right where their mission critical data lives,” said Ric Lewis, senior vice-president at IBM Systems.

“This opens up tremendous opportunities to change the game in their respective industries so they will be positioned to deliver better customer experiences and more powerful business outcomes.”

Mitigating credit card fraud

According to a new IBM and Morning Consult study, credit card fraud is the most common type of fraudulent activity among consumers across seven surveyed countries, and respondents believe that banks and payment networks should be most responsible for preventing fraud.

Latency issues, meanwhile, have proved a pitfall when running deep-learning models at scale, meaning fraud detections models only run on less than 10% of high-volume transactions – meaning a significant amount of fraud goes undetected.

IBM z16’s AI and quantum-ready capabilities are set to reduce the time and energy spent by consumers in handling fraudulent transactions, possibly resulting in reduction in revenue loss due to avoiding frustration associated with false declines.

For banks, this translates to the ability to avoid 60% of fraud today the equivalent of approximately $329 billion.

z16 beyond financial services

Other threats including tax fraud and organised retail theft are emerging as challenges for governments and businesses to control, while real-time payments and alternative methods like cryptocurrencies are pushing the limits on traditional fraud detection techniques.

Applying the new capabilities of IBM z16 to other industries can help create an entirely new class of use cases, including:

  • Loan approval: to speed up approval of business or consumer loans.
  • Clearing and settlement: to determine which trades and/or transactions may have a high-risk exposure before settlement.
  • Federated learning for retail: to better model risk against fraud and theft.

IBM z16 will be made generally available on the 31st May, 2022.


How to ignite a mainframe transformation with three key mindset changes — Stuart Ashby, DevOps specialist EMEA at Compuware, provides three key mindset changes organisations can make to ignite a mainframe transformation.

Why quantum computers are a risk to your business today, and what you can do about it — Andersen Cheng, CEO of Post-Quantum, discusses the risk that quantum computers can pose to businesses, and how to mitigate this.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.