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IBM z15: Improved data center density and energy efficiency, new system packaging, and modeling

The IBM z15 is designed to meet the requirements of a range of data centers, while reducing costs through increased density, configuration flexibility, and cooling efficiency. The z15 is a continuation and broadening of the physical transformation of the mainframe that began with the IBM z14 ZR1/LR1, which introduced the new “true 19-in” frame. A maximum configuration z15 delivers greater than 30% additional compute capacity per watt than z14, and maintains approximately the same maximum system footprint, while enabling significant floor space reduction for most configurations. The z15 introduces the choice of integrated 2N power using either intelligent power distribution units or bulk power, also supporting most data centers including hot/cold-aisle containment, raised-floor and nonraised-floor, and top and bottom-exit I/O and power. The z15 supports the ASHRAE A3 (fourth edition) environment, providing efficiency advantages by reducing humidification requirements. The z15 maintains the value of a system that is preconfigured/pretested before shipping. Innovations in packaging, I/O cabling, controls, and testing are put in the context of the latest data center trends. The capabilities of new tools to estimate power, weight, airflow, heat extracted to water for water-cooled systems as well as 3-D and computational fluid dynamics models to aid in the planning for the system are described.

The IBM 4769 Cryptographic Coprocessor

System security is currently a main focus area for all IT infrastructure providers. New system features like pervasive encryption, the transition to cloud-based offerings, and the demand for quantum-safe platforms demand increased cryptographic performance as well as more cryptographic agility. The new IBM 4769 Cryptographic Coprocessor addresses these trends. It brings performance improvements that match the requirements of the new IBM z15. A combination of newly available features allows IBM z15 to scale to greater than 5,000 Virtual Hardware secure modules per system and makes it suitable to support virtualized client environments such as cloud-scale datacenters. To meet the dense packaging and energy requirements of those data centers, the form factor and power consumption of the card were reduced significantly. The card also offers an expanded set of algorithms to support state-of-the-art as well as future workloads. For the first time, the user interface provides access to a selected set of quantum-safe algorithms. Infrastructure extensions add hardware-embedded, attestation-friendly trusted boot services, which improve system resiliency by providing hardware enabled measurements of the secure and trusted boot process. These extensions simultaneously simplify the security certifications built on them. This article provides an overview of the IBM 4769 cryptographic coprocessor, highlighting security characteristics, internal hardware, form factor, and enhanced firmware.