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IBM and Hitachi Team Up for Cloud-Based Mainframes

When most of us think of mainframe computers, we’re instantly reminded of enormous, highly complicated machines that take up huge amounts of space while providing relatively little in the way of output. Although these days are long gone, modern day mainframes still exist.

Hitachi, one of the most prominent mainframe developers, recently announced they are ceasing production of their own mainframe systems. Instead, they’ll provide their Hitachi VOS3 operating system to IBM z Systems, which come fully equipped with cloud connectivity via the Internet of Things. This is a significant shift for Hitachi, who has specialized in mainframe systems for the past 50 years, but it’s certainly a sign of the time as more companies gear up for the onset of Industry 4.0.

The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is rapidly increasing its prevalence in the everyday lives of consumers. It’s all made possible the Internet of Things (IoT), which is used facilitate device-to-device communications between the various smart-devices on the market today. Industry 4.0, a term given to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is already promising to revolutionize manufacturing as we know it.

But Hitachi already has their own Internet of Things. Known as Lumada, their proprietary framework collects data from as many sources as possible to support, monitor and analyze the increased flow of data most companies see on a day-to-day basis.

Takeo Ishii, president of IoT and cloud services with Hitachi, issued a prepared statement that read: “Hitachi has, for over 50 years, delivered its proprietary mainframe system offerings to various corporations and organizations as part of their mission-critical systems and has supported our customers' stable operations and materialization of innovations with a high standard of reliability.”

Enter IBM z Systems

Officially rolled out in 2000, IBM z Systems is a line of mainframes that followed IBM’s System/390 series. It’s seen many different upgrades and versions since then, but its current iteration, the z13 and z13s, remain some of the most powerful cloud-based servers on the market today.

According to IBM, their z Systems are 50% more affordable than comparable cloud infrastructures. They also offer rapid deployment, advanced security and near-100% uptime. IBM’s hybrid cloud environment is currently used by organizations and governmental entities across the world.

Ross Mauri, general manager with IBM z Systems, was quoted as saying: “Our agreement with Hitachi allows companies to continue using the Hitachi operating system and software that's central to their business while taking advantage of the speed, scale and security delivered by the latest IBM z Systems hardware technology. Hitachi and IBM will continue working together to evolve the technology to provide clients with new digital solutions to transform their own businesses.”

The Marriage of Mainframes and Cloud Computing

Although it’s not a combination that the average computer user would even consider, the marriage between mainframe systems and cloud computing is actually a great match. By combining the reliability, power and security of IBM’s next-gen mainframes with the connectivity of cloud computing, enterprises that still rely on mainframe computers are set to join in the fun the rest of us have been having for years.


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