Have retailers not learned anything from past Black Friday and Cyber Monday disasters?

In my last article, Are You Ready for Growing Mobile Workloads, I asked you to keep an eye out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday success and failure this year. I was really curious to see if retailers had learned their lesson from past years’ online retail disasters.  Well, for this year, the answer seems to be yes and no. Not surprisingly, there were a few retailers who experienced failure for the first time (or for the first time that we noticed…) and some retailers with past bad experiences learned from their mistakes and escaped this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday blitz unscathed. Incredulously however, there were others that had repeated failures and clearly had not planned properly.

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Every IT Professional Should Work in a Mainframe Environment (…at some point)

Talk to anyone who has ever worked on a mainframe and you will see that they are acutely aware of important factors that are sometimes overlooked on other platforms. Things like security, control, scalability, and reliability are second nature to mainframe computer systems and applications. Unfortunately, though, the bulk of new IT developer and programmers are not mainframe literate. This should change. But maybe not for the reasons you are thinking.

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Are You Ready for Growing Mobile Workloads?

More and more businesses are introducing mobile applications as part of their business activities intended to be more competitive, to increase market share, and to increase customer satisfaction. The motivation isn’t hard to fathom – creating mobile applications answers a perceived need to be more responsive to customers, and to provide improved access for your customers. Here are some interesting numbers regarding the growth in mobile application deployments out there – 92 of the world’s top 100 banks, 23 of the top 25 US retailers, 10 out of 10 of the world’s largest insurers, and 23 of the world’s top 25 airlines currently have mobile applications.

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5 best practices for a well-managed z/Datacenter

Over the past few years, IT departments have come under increasing pressure to plan and manage their budgets more efficiently. End users are more discerning than ever: they demand the ability to do more with less. Consequently, optimization and rationalization are now key words for every IT manager.

To help IT better address this new reality, we analyzed five key steps to optimize efficiency in a z/Datacenter.

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On Mainframe Availability and Performance

On January 14, 2015, IBM announced new mainframe hardware (z13) with a new Operating System version (z/OS V2.2).  Together, the new hardware and operating system bring the IBM mainframe firmly to the forefront of supporting mobile smartphone applications and cloud infrastructure. The hardware and operating system upgrades are the result of a five year $1Billion investment, and resulted in over 500 patent applications.

The combination of the new hardware and operating system changes provides enhanced security, performance, and capacity for new mobile applications. IBM estimates that for each smartphone transaction, anywhere from 4 to 100 subsequent transactions are spawned throughout the application. The z13 with z/OS V2.2 can process 2.5 Billion transactions a day. The hardware/software offers real time encryption and fraud detection for mobile applications as well as embedded analytics.

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Mainframe – the dinosaur on the cutting edge

There was a time, quite a while ago now, when there were serious IT executives announcing that the mainframe was obsolete, overpriced technology and that its days were numbered. It was a dinosaur. But these folks weren’t well informed, and perhaps had certain biases that clouded their judgement. Gone are the days where a CIO would start a new job with the intent of “getting off the mainframe” just for the sake of doing it. There have been too many failed attempts at that (here’s an example), and even successful migrations have left IT departments with less capability than they had before the migration.

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My mind is getting cloudy…

I’m sitting in a big Dallas hotel with hundreds of other attendees at a “Microsoft Cloud Roadshow” event. This is not a “C-Suite” event; I’ve been the only CIO at the table each time. No, these are programming managers, security officers, infrastructure geeks. I’ve asked around every chance I get, and after my (totally unscientific) poll, here’s what I discovered: more of these technical folks attending a cloud event trust the mainframe more than the cloud!

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Getting off that mainframe – or maybe not!

Historically, IT organizations have abandoned the mainframe platform for cost reasons. It’s a fact, and there’s no getting around that; it’s true. Now whether that makes sense or not is another matter.

Howard Rubin has mentioned that 68% of production workloads is handled by mainframes, but mainframes only account for 6% of the IT cost. So, dollar-for-dollar, has the mainframe been replaced with a system that has as much throughput? In most cases, probably not. However, you can build a distributed computing solution with transaction throughput capabilities that are equal to a mainframe system, and you can indeed build a distributed computing solution as reliable as a mainframe system. That is also true. But the issue of the cost is probably just a case of the mainframe seeming like Bart Simpson. No matter what happened—it was his fault.

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