IBM's mainframe operating system upgrade will embrace AI

IBM's mainframe operating system upgrade will embrace AI

IBM says the z/OS 3.1 operating system will further integrate AI, embrace cloud stores, and improve performance of Linux workloads.

Credit: IDG

IBM said this week it will soon roll out an AI-infused, hybrid-cloud oriented version of its z/OS mainframe operating system.

Expected in the third quarter, z/OS 3.1 will  support technologies intended to enable deployment of AI workloads co-located with z/OS applications, IBM said in a customer preview letter.

The new OS will work best with the newest version of the Big Iron, the z16, but it will support z14 models and above, IBM says.

The z16 includes an AI accelerator built onto its core Telum processor that can do 300 billion deep-learning inferences per day with one millisecond latency and includes what IBM calls a quantum-safe system to protect organizations from anticipated quantum-based security threats.

When it was introduced IBM said the z16 would open a whole new set of AI possibilities that couldn’t be considered before. Now it promises the new version of z/OS will further deliver on that plan by:

  • Supporting a new AI Framework for system operations intended to augment z/OS with intelligence that optimizes IT processes, simplifies management, improves performance, and reduces skill requirements.
  • Extending the AI ecosystem by enabling AI co-located with z/OS applications, designed for low-latency response times.
  • Controlling the system with AI-powered workload management that intelligently predicts upcoming workloads and react by allocating an appropriate number of batch runs, thus eliminating manual fine-tuning and trial-and-error approaches.

Supporting AI applications is a core component of the z16 strategy, but the upcoming operating system also features cloud capabilities, IBM says.

“z/OS 3.1 intends to embrace aspects of cloud-native management of z/OS based on industry standards and access to consistent and modern browser-based interfaces, enabling users to efficiently update and configure z/OS and related software,” IBM stated.

“With enhanced management infrastructure and self-service access to tasks, z/OS 3.1 plans to continue simplifying and automating the management of the operating system to help guide the next generation of system programmers,” IBM stated.

With that in mind, IBM said z/OS 3.1 will include:

  • A new z/OS callable service, Cloud Data Access, to enable access to data in cloud object stores and to incorporate cloud object data into z/OS workloads.
  • A set of modern APIs with a C-based interface, designed to simplify the application effort needed to access NoSQL VSAMDB data sets on z/OS.
  • IBM z/OS Container Extensions (zCX) to improve performance and security while running containerized Linux workloads and to support NFS, HTTPS, and IBM WebSphere Hybrid Edition.
  •  Dedicated real memory pools to improve the behavior of applications that have a high memory requirement.
  • An extension of the z/OS Authorized Code Scanner to provide greater coverage of potential vulnerabilities.
  • Enhanced COBOL-Java support that will let  31-bit COBOL call 64-bit Java programs using the IBM Semeru Runtime Certified Edition for z/OS.


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