IBM z15: Is this the tipping point for hybrid clouds in banking?

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A decade ago a banking CIO couldn’t go to the Executive Committee or Board and freely speak about moving to the cloud. To banking executives, moving any kind of data to the cloud was akin to publishing it online for all to see. Things have changed in the last ten years for the more digitally-minded banks, but the deep-seated belief that cloud is insecure remains for a large swathe of bankers. It hasn’t helped that Capital One recently had a breach of their data in the AWS cloud.

At the same time, CIOs and technology teams are continually faced with the challenge of growing demand on technology while maintaining or even reducing costs. One of the emerging ways to solve growth, scalability, and savings has been the hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is “a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.”

Making the move from on-premises applications and data to a private cloud was an important, but first step, towards a solution. It was also an easier case to make to non-technical banking executives as they could imagine total control of a private cloud. Making the jump to a public cloud, at least partially, is a jump that bankers are not comfortable making. However, a hybrid cloud remains the best solution to address growth and scalability while controlling costs.

With today’s announcement of IBM z15, banking IT professionals have a great way to address security concerns in a hybrid cloud environment, while addressing the needs for growth and savings. IBM z15 is the combination of the existing IBM Z capabilities with those that came from the acquisition of Red Hat, and Linux ONE.

IBM promises “centralized management and orchestration across the hybrid cloud environment from a single point of control.” The capabilities they highlight include enterprise resiliency with instant recovery, hardware compression, emerging workloads including “infused AI” and blockchain, hybrid multi-cloud, and most exciting to me, data protection and privacy through “data privacy passports.

Data privacy passports are said to ensure that hundred percent of the Z and LinuxONE data is protected wherever it resides across the value chain. Under a data privacy passport data has pervasive encryption even after it leaves the multi-cloud, so all copies of data maintain the passport. Data privacy passports also allow for granular permission control.

This level of control over the security of data could be what appeases banking executives and allows for a move to the hybrid cloud. Of course, I hope IBM produces a simple explainer that can get bankers on board.