25 years of mainframe innovation

Uli Schlegel
Lightbulbs with years on them

Our ADVA journey began with mainframe connectivity. It was more than 25 years ago when we supplied IBM mainframe environments with our first product, the OCM-4, and we’ve been at the forefront of transport innovation in this area ever since. Our technology has led the industry, achieving GDPS® qualification for successive generations of coupling links, Ethernet and Fibre Channel transport ahead of anyone else.

A partnership spanning decades

But back in the beginning, our OCM 4 was built in the mid-90s to connect discs, printers and other peripherals to IBM’s S/390 mainframe computer over a newly developed fiber-based transport system. Making this new network play ball with the S/390 was no easy feat. There was its 9037 Sysplex Timer to contend with, as well as its ESCON-based storage. Nevertheless, the technology we had designed for the OCM 4 – which was groundbreaking for its time – meant we could deliver the performance and distance IBM needed.

Ever since that first collaboration we’ve been in lockstep with IBM’s mainframe business, providing the company with the most advanced and secure connectivity available. From the S/390 to today's infinitely more powerful z15, as Big Blue's big iron evolved, so did we. ADVA refined, enhanced and streamlined its platform over the years, becoming a pioneer of the lowest-latency and most secure WDM transport in the industry.

The current state of the art

Today, our FSP platform is used by thousands of enterprises worldwide for a huge variety of use cases. At IBM’s facilities in Poughkeepsie, ADVA FSP 3000 technology is in a permanently installed testing environment, facilitating high-speed transport and encryption for their latest Z systems.

I believe that our long-established relationship with IBM is key to why so many consider us their trusted partner for all mainframe and SAN connectivity requirements. As the long-term supplier for almost every major financial institution in Europe, it’s a point of pride for us that no IBM Z area customer has ever left us in all of the years we’ve been operating.

Customer-centered design

But it’s not just cutting-edge technology that has driven our success in mainframe and storage transport solutions. We’ve always been willing and able to provide expertise for ongoing deployment and maintenance – something the IBM Poughkeepsie team appreciates. We tailor our technology to the specific requirements of each customer, a unique approach to engineering that prioritizes performance for specific mainframe environments and another example of how placing the customer at the center is key.

Here’s to the next 25

More than a quarter of a century ago, doomsayers predicted the demise of the mainframe. But defying these expectations, the sector continues to evolve, even expanding in this, the age of the cloud. As it does so, we’ll be sure to keep innovating connectivity solutions that allow customers to leverage the technology and get maximum value.

Uli Schlegel

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