This new mainframe from IBM integrates quantum security, hybrid cloud technology, and AI chip support into a single high-performance package. In the Mercator report, “Quantum Changes Everything: Protect Your Data Now,” we identified the data security risks represented by quantum computing, and this packaged solution from IBM is designed to protect against that eventuality. It accomplished this at scale by integrating hardware modules into the architecture to deliver both quantum safe encryption and support for AI that operates at near real-time to support AI inferencing against transactions. While the architecture supporting AI is in place, the Telum AI processor itself will become available sometime before July of this year.
Missing from this announcement is any specific mention of universal quantum computing support. IBM announced its 127-qubit “Eagle” processor late last year. As we stated in our report for quantum computing, to become practical it will need to be integrated into traditional computer processing which could be implemented using the hybrid cloud support announced here, with a specialized hardware/software interface to the quantum Eagle processor running in the cloud.
While Eagle has not achieved what IBM calls “Quantum Advantage,” which is when a quantum system outperforms classical computers, it would demonstrate future proofing if IBM indicated that these high-end systems will not only operate in a traditional hybrid-cloud environment but interoperate with a quantum cloud that houses Universal Quantum Computers:
“In a hybrid cloud environment inclusive of on-premises and public cloud resources, it is critical to protect against today’s threats and posture against cybercriminals who may be stealing data now for decryption later. Building on IBM technologies like Pervasive Encryption and Confidential Computing, IBM z16 takes cyber resiliency a leap further by protecting data against future threats that could evolve with advances in quantum computing.
As the industry’s first quantum-safe system, IBM z16 is underpinned by lattice-based cryptography, an approach for constructing security primitives that help protect data and systems against current and future threats. With IBM z16 quantum-safe cryptography, businesses can future-ready their applications and data today.
With secure boot (meaning that bad actors cannot inject malware into the boot process to take over the system during startup), IBM z16 clients can strengthen their cyber resiliency posture and retain control of their system. Also, with the Crypto Express 8S (CEX8S) hardware security module will offer clients both classical and quantum-safe cryptographic technology to help address their use cases requiring information confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation. IBM z16’s secure boot and quantum-safe cryptography can help clients address future quantum-computing related threats including harvest now, decrypt later attacks which can lead to extortion, loss of intellectual property and disclosure of other sensitive data.
Modernizing for hybrid cloud
IBM has spent the last three years making significant investments in service of our commitment to embracing open-source technology on the IBMz Systems platform and establishing a common developer experience across the hybrid cloud. These solutions are designed to help our clients leverage their investments in — and the strengths of — their existing IT infrastructure, clouds, and applications in a seamless way, while giving them the flexibility to run, build, manage and modernize cloud-native workloads on their choice of architecture.”
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group