Mainframe Development Must be the Focus, Not the Brunt, of a Digital Transformation

In a world of extreme and unpredictable change, agility is imperative. That’s why large enterprises have rightfully invested in all kinds of agility-enhancing capabilities—from hybrid cloud to DevOps.

Unfortunately, any improvement not made at the constraint is an illusion. So, at this point, many IT leaders are wasting their precious time and resources on making already-pretty-agile cloud/VMware/Java environments incrementally more agile—instead of focusing on their primary agility constraint: the mainframe.

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z14

Real-Time Reconciliation: z14 and the Holy Grail

In July 2017, IBM unveiled the z14, latest in its family of z-System mainframes. Capable of running over 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, the fastest commercial mainframe in the world opens up new horizons in every field of computer processing. This incredible speed brings the finance industry in particular close to a key goal dating all the way back to the rise of computer-assisted banking as the z14 is the first mainframe capable of real-time reconciliation. The holy grail of banking functions, real-time reconciliation represents an exponential leap forward in encryption, security, and analytics for the worldwide financial market.

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Myth-Information

Don’t Believe the Myth-information about the Mainframe: Part 2

In this series, Janet Sun explores and dispels numerous myths around the mainframe. Continued from Part 1.

Mainframes are Expensive?

Think that mainframes are expensive?  That depends on what you’re looking at.

If you are looking at acquisition hardware costs, certainly a single mainframe costs more than a single server or even several servers.  But, you would certainly need more individual servers to match the compute capability of a mainframe.  Add to that the idea that software and labor costs for servers grows linearly – the more servers you add, the more software licenses and the more system administrators are needed.  And yet, the mainframe delivers higher utilization, lower overheads, and the lowest total cost-per-user of any platform.  When all cost factors are considered fairly, the mainframe is usually the lowest cost alternative.

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3 Important I/O Features Coming with the IBM z14

17 July 2017 marked the IBM announcement of the latest IBM mainframe: the IBM z14.  Congratulations to the IBM Z team on a successful launch of what looks to be yet another in a long and distinguished history of superb enterprise computing platforms.  Similar to the z13 launch in 2015, the z14 features several new, impressive I/O features and functionality that will provide tremendous business and technical value to IBM Z clients.  In the remainder of this blog post, I’ll discuss the highlights of what I view to be the three most important:  RoCE Express2, FICON Express 16S+, and zHyperlink Express.

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Special engines that save cost on the Mainframe!

Do you know that mainframe systems have several kinds of engines (i.e., processors) not just a Central Processor (CP)?  Early mainframes had only one processor – the Central Processing Unit (CPU).  As the mainframe industry evolved over the decades, today’s systems have a Central Processor Complex (CPC) consisting of several different processor types.  Each processor type is used for a specific purpose.  Technically, all processors are the same out of the box, but are configured as specific engine types during installation, or at any time later by IBM.  Unlike CPs, which can be configured to run at lower speeds for software cost reasons, specialty processors usually run at full speed.

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Don’t Believe the Myth-information about the Mainframe: Part 1

When I heard about the HuffPost article highlighting a video debunking the myths that Hollywood has been repeating about the mainframe, I was cautiously optimistic.  Unfortunately, the writer chose to use only one reference book, and focused on the negative points.

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A Clear Picture

A Clear Picture

IT and business management are increasingly concerned with the rising costs associated with their highly complex and ever-growing mainframe and distributed systems data centers. They are also concerned about controlling outages and mitigating the lack of transparency that they have into cost drivers—including in their outsourced environments.

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Making a Modern Mainframer

It’s no secret that the dreaded “skills gap” is affecting the mainframe market. It’s getting harder and harder to find people who know COBOL or Assembler, and organizations that rely on these systems often have open job postings because there’s no perfect match for the positions they’re trying to fill. So what can companies and government agencies that rely on Big Iron do to foster the next generation of mainframers?

They should do absolutely nothing.

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What’s waiting round the mainframe corner?

Anyone who has been working on mainframes for any length of time knows that things are always changing. Many people can remember when DB2 was new (1983), the client-server period, and the need for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). And, I’m sure, can come up with a much longer list. I don’t want to look backwards at old ideas, I want to take a whirlwind look at what’s coming soon to (at least) a presentation near you.

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Does your Mainframe need an oil change?

Performance management is a key consideration on any platform.  A system may have several resources (CPU, I/O, storage, network etc.) that collectively work together to process a workload. To assess overall health of the system, mainframe system reports can be reviewed on certain key performance metrics on these resources. These metrics are measured and compared against the service level agreements (SLA), or performance Rule-of-Thumb standards.

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