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Why Banks Love IBM’s zSystem

Why Banks Love IBM’s zSystem

By Rob Enderle/ March 17, 2023

IBM’s mainframes aren’t the least expensive solutions in the market unless you take into account the risks they mitigate. Banks tend to be very frugal, yet they overwhelmingly favor IBM’s mainframe solution (at least the large banks do). This is because of a number of things: they are more secure and reliable, and when it comes to transactions, there is nothing that can handle the kind of load and financial risk that a financial institution has.

Particularly considering the recent Silicon Valley Bank failure, financial institutions also have huge compliance requirements, and IBM’s compliance capability is unmatched.

Let’s talk about why financial institutions and other firms that don’t want the excitement of a breach or outage favor IBM’s zSystem.


The x86 platform has come a long way. When it first came out, downtime was measured in hours per week. It has improved over time to an impressive five nines which means downtime measured in under an hour per year. But even back when the x86 platform was young, IBM’s downtime was measured in minutes per year because banks wouldn’t tolerate anything higher. These days, the zSystem has seven 9s of reliability which is single-digit seconds per year.

One of the most interesting IBM stories I heard a few years back was about a company that was doing a remodel and found an IBM system that had been accidentally sealed in a room for years. It was still running and being used. It was so reliable no one realized it was there until the wall was opened up.

When IBM builds these systems, it not only stress-tests them to extremes, but it shoots the processors, which are unique to IBM, with photons so they can better anticipate solar radiation, which can flip bits and cause errors in order to make sure they can identify when that happens and correct the related errors timely.


Financial institutions lose billions due to fraud. IBM leads in AI-based fraud detection and mitigation and receives frequent citations from reference accounts that this alone has saved a company hundreds of millions of dollars. IBM has been serious about security far longer than any other tech company. I can say this because IBM is over a hundred years old and has always taken security seriously.

Read more at Techspective

Rob Enderle, The Enderle Group
An Internet search of media quotes validates Rob Enderle as one of the most influential technology pundits in the world. Leveraging world-class IT industry analysis skills honed at DataQuest, Giga Information Group, and Forrester Research, Rob seized upon the power of the information channel as a conduit to reach business strategists and deliver valuable, experienced-based insight on how to leverage industry advances for maximum business advantage