Planet Mainframe News

IBM Unveils Next Chapter of watsonx with Open Source, Product & Ecosystem Innovations 

During its annual THINK conference, IBM unveiled a series of new initiatives aimed at speeding up the adoption of generative AI for various business applications. This move encompasses several areas across open-source collaborations, the watsonx platform, IBM’s automation software and consulting services, and with partners.

The new initiatives seek to address the current landscape of AI, in which generative large language models (LLMs) are usually offered in standardized frameworks, and lack transparency regarding their training data and methodologies. 

As a result, businesses face significant hurdles, from selecting trustworthy models to finding solutions that align with their specific requirements. Many struggle to effectively implement and scale generative AI technologies, hindering their ability to derive meaningful and sustainable benefits.

IBM aims to address these challenges by: 

  • Harnessing the open-source AI ecosystem to advance access to and development of cutting-edge, responsible and customized LLMs: IBM is open-sourcing its Granite LLM collection – which just today scored among the top models in Stanford’s latest Foundation Model Transparency Index – on Hugging Face and GitHub. We have also introduced with Red Hat a new, open-source method called InstructLab that enables for the first time the modification of a pre-trained LLM.   
  • Delivering the next class of automation assistants and tools to accelerate generative AI at scale: IBM is unveiling new and updated AI assistants and tools, powered by its Granite LLMs, that help automate key tasks such as software coding, and new IT automation capabilities to modernize IT processes, reduce IT complexity, and accelerate productivity in business workflows.  
  • Expanding integration with partners across the AI ecosystem to give businesses options on where and how to work with generative AI: IBM is announcing collaborations with Adobe, AWS, Meta, Mistral, Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP and SDAIA to expand access to watsonx technologies across the AI ecosystem, as well as offer access to the latest third-party, open-source models directly on watsonx. 

The initiative also includes some Z specific components, including:

IBM watsonx Code Assistant for Z: accelerate the application lifecycle with generative AI and automation: Adds new code explanation capability to accelerate application modernization with AI, while enabling clients to understand and document their applications through natural language explanation. In addition, clients can now deploy watsonx Code Assistant for Z on-premises or in a hybrid model.

IBM watsonx Assistant for Z: A new generative AI tool designed to transform how IBM Z professionals interact with the platform. This new AI assistant harnesses conversations through an LLM and domain-specific retrieval augmented generation (RAG) extensively trained on mainframes to deliver a first-of-its-kind, extensible automation framework, helping increase programmer and developer productivity and efficiency.

Source: IBM

IBM Open Enterprise Foundation for z/OS 1.1 Delivers a Set of Supported Open Source Tools and Libraries for z/OS

For those who work on z/OS and use the UNIX System Services environment that IBM introduced in the 90s, this week will bring excitement as IBM launches the IBM Open Enterprise Foundation for z/OS (available May 31). The IBM Open Enterprise Foundation will bring a suite of supported open source tools and libraries to z/OS, including Git, GNU Bash, Curl, GNU Make, Perl, Vim, Ncurses, and Less. 

According to the news release, using Open Enterprise Foundation for z/OS with its integrated open source tools will allow developers to modernize their development and deployment workflows. These tools enable developers to embrace the latest technologies, enhance productivity, and improve efficiency on the z/OS platform.

Igor Todorovski, one of the developers of the product, said on LinkedIn: “I’ve seen firsthand how it can simplify and modernize DevOps on the z/OS platform – and I hope you’ll experience the same benefits!” 

The new product comes at no additional cost with IBM Software Subscription and Support.

Source: IBM

Cecabank and Kyndryl Collaborate for Mainframe Modernization

A new deal has been inked between Kyndryl, the IT infrastructure services provider, and Cecabank, a leading bank in Securities Services in Spain and provider of specialized solutions for all types of national and international financial institutions and corporations. 

The two organizations have signed a collaboration agreement for Kyndryl to provide maintenance and support for the modernization of the bank’s mainframe environment. According to the press release, Cecabank has devised a technology strategy centered around three key aims:

  1. Enhancing the bank’s business operations.
  2. Streamlining the utilization of technological assets for greater efficiency.
  3. Strengthening operational robustness.

To realize these objectives and fortify resilience and efficiency, a cornerstone has been the overhaul and modernization of the bank’s IT infrastructure. At the end of 2023, Cecabank secured ownership of two IBM z16 mainframe servers. Kyndryl’s extensive expertise in mainframe technology management and modernization played a pivotal role in finalizing this agreement. 

The aim of the collaboration is for Kyndryl’s mainframe services to allow the bank to concentrate on its core operations and tap into cutting-edge technological advancements, such as Kyndryl Bridge, an AI-driven open integration platform. This collaboration positions Cecabank to more effectively address and anticipate the evolving needs of the financial sector.

“We are proud to be the trusted partner of Cecabank, whose services and support are key for Spanish financial institutions, and which is strongly promoting technological innovation in the sector,” said David Soto, president of Kyndryl Spain and Portugal. “Modernizing the bank’s technology environment where its core applications reside can help them to take advantage of the most innovative technologies and future-proof the bank’s IT infrastructure.”

Source: Kyndryl

THINK Replays Available on Demand

If you missed IBM’s annual THINK conference, but want to check out some of the content, IBM has provided a curated selection of keynote replays available on demand.

A few of the featured topics include: 

  • Scaling your business with AI and hybrid cloud
  • The era of AI-powered automation
  • Build the architecture you AI needs: Hybrid cloud designed with and for generative AI

Sonja Soderlund is an Oregon-based B2B freelance writer. Whether writing about mainframe computers, educational technology, or sustainable retail, she strives to bring clarity to complex issues. Connect with her at or LinkedIn.

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