Hitachi Vantara and Connected Mainframe at SHARE 2019

By Hubert Yoshida posted 03-09-2019 00:00


SHARE 2019 is next week from March 10 – 15 in Phoenix, Arizona and should be very interesting this year because of all the enhancements that have become available in the z14 mainframe since July of 2017. The Motley Fool Reported that IBM Is enjoying the strongest mainframe cycle in Years. They reported that strong sales of mainframe systems have helped IBM report three consecutive quarters of revenue growth. The z14 is capable of processing five times as many transactions per day, has triple the memory, and boasts input-output performance three times that of the z13. The z14 includes a proprietary ASIC on chip hardware that is dedicated to cryptographic algorithms to encrypt all data without negatively affecting performance. This is a key feature for support of GDPR.

Because of the mainframe’s proven ability to securely handle billions of daily transactions a day, this 50 year old technology is still used by 80% of the word’s largest airlines, financial institutions, and retailers. In addition to improvements in speed and security, mainframes now include technologies such as containers, APIs, Java, Linux, microservices, and SOAs which brings the reliability and security of mainframes to the web and mobile apps. A recent study by IDC “The Business Value of the Connected Mainframe for Digital transformation”, based on interviews with enterprises which run significant mainframe operations, showed that the mainframe plays an increasingly central role in digital transformation. IDC reported that the modernization and integration of the mainframe into an organization's connected ecosystem, internally and externally -- which is the definition of "connected mainframe" -- leads to innovations that drive revenue growth and improve operational efficiency.

The connected mainframe connects externally to the outside world through the network via TCP/IP or through the mainframe’s proprietary FICON channel, which is an I/O channel technology specifically designed for the mainframe. While there are analytics that run internally on the mainframe, data has to be moved off the mainframe in order to be combined with non-mainframe data analytics. File Transport Protocol (FTP) over TCP/IP is the method most often used to feed mainframe data into an enterprise-wide analytics pipeline, However, FTP is not secure, introducing risk, slower and more expensive than FICON due to the processor cycles that are required to drive TCP/IP. A secure, faster and less expensive way to transfer mainframe data would be to use the FICON channel which offloads the transmission work from the processors to the channel processors.


Hitachi Vantara and Luminex have partnered on a Mainframe Data Integration (MDI) platform that leverages the Luminex mainframe channel I/O interface to securely share and transfer data between mainframes and distributed systems environments using the FICON channel. Since FICON channels are specifically designed and optimized for the purpose of moving data off the mainframe. MDI provides a faster, more secure, cheaper (less CPU) and easy (native) platform for connecting mainframe data vs. TCP/IP. A financial customer was able to reduce their fraud detection investigation from 50 days down to 5 days and instead of spent nding 90% of their time on data collection and only 10% on analyzing the data, they can now spend 80% of their time on investigations, improving the quality of results.

John Pilger from Hitachi Vantara and Colleen Gordon of Luminex will present a Lunch and Learn session “Hitachi Vantara and Luminex Unlocking Mainframe Data Value” on Thursday, March 14 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in room 101A at the Phoenix Convention center, session number 24791. They will cover the MDI product and show that it is more than just a high speed data transfer tool but also a co-processor that can extend processing and interface capabilities. They will also provide use cases and customer success stories to quantify the business value. Please plan on attending SHARE Phoenix 2019 and this session in particular to learn how the “connected mainframe” can drive digital transformation with MDI. You can visit our engineers at the Hitachi/Luminex booth 312 at the convention center for more information on MDI and other connected mainframe solutions. There will be an in-booth hosted specialty beer bar on Tuesday.