DataDirect Technologies is an IBM partner and provides data connectivity and mainframe integration software for corporate enterprises and independent software vendors. DataDirect Shadow is mainframe middleware software that accelerates the participation of mainframe systems with Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), data access or business intelligence (BI) initiatives, and/or composite application development- all with unique capabilities to dramatically lower mainframe TCO through specialty engine exploitation.
I had a great discussion with Gregg Willhoitt, the Chief Software Architect at Data Direct about lowering mainframe TCO and their views on IBM IMPACT kicking of in Vegas next week.
Sandy DataDirect offers some excellent cost saving strategies. What are some of the messages you'll be sharing to help customers thrive in today's economy? (One of their Session Titles is 'From SQL to SOAP to Events - with zIIP: Cost Effective SOA Solutions for CICS TS V4.1) Gregg: I think it is very important that mainframe customers understand the tremendous opportunity that exist for lowering mainframe TCO while still growing their SOA initiatives. Sounds too good to be true, but this is what happens with innovation. The catalyst for this was the introduction of specialty engines for handling specialized workloads on the mainframe. This allowed processing that would normally be handled by the General Purpose Processor to be diverted to the specialty engine, where it could run without incurring a charge against contracted mainframe MIPS capacity. Initially the benefit was isolated to DB2, Java or Linux workloads – but not anymore. DataDirect has introduced patent-pending technology to more fully exploit specialty engines, expanding the range of environments that can use the zIIP engine to reduce mainframe TCO. With Shadow, DataDirect’s mainframe middleware, customers can offload up to 99% of their SOA-related integration processing to the zIIP specialty engine. For CICS customers, this means more control over costs and the ability to aggressively pursue their SOA initiatives. But the benefit doesn’t stop at CICS. We know the heterogeneous nature of most enterprises, so with Shadow you can leverage the zIIP specialty engine for Web services, SQL or Event processing across a wide range of environments, including Adabas, DB2, IMS, IDMS, VSAM, and Natural. The end result is extra mainframe capacity - a dividend if you will – to support the development of new business services, and in this economy, doing more with less is definitely a strategy for success. Sandy: How does the Impact 2009 SOA Conference help DataDirect, a provider of world class solutions in Data Connectivity and Mainframe Integration, reach new customers and maintain your expertise in today's marketplace? Gregg: To be honest, industry trade events have not fared very well in this down economy; however SOA Impact has been the rare exception. The event has grown to become an excellent forum for all things SOA, providing business and IT management, as well as application developers and systems programmers a great educational resource for examining the practical aspects of how to align SOA capabilities with business goals. Taking part in the technology exhibition is a great way to meet prospective customers, get a better understanding of their integration requirements and provide them with an up-close product test drive. This year, I am sure the focus will be on CICS TS v4.1 and how Shadow complements and extends the product with mainframe Web services, real-time event capture or SQL access. The education outreach this event provides is the perfect context for DataDirect to explain our product’s value proposition for accelerating mainframe SOA enablement. In addition, our technical staff always looks forward to this event for technical presentations and demonstration of the latest IBM SOA products. Sandy: DataDirect is an official sponsor of the Impact 2009 zZone which showcases SOA solutions for System z audience. In fact, this is the second year; you've been an Impact zZone sponsor. What's so special about the zZone? Gregg: The zZone makes all the sense in the world to us given as a product, DataDirect Shadow is singularly focused on the mainframe. Our goal for customers is to reduce the cost and complexity of integrating mainframe data and applications with Service Oriented Architectures, data-centric initiatives like Business Intelligence and Data warehousing, and new application development initiatives that rely on .NET or Java application frameworks. The zZone brings together an elite group of System z partners to complement the IBM System z experts and technology on-hand. It makes quite an impression to customers to see that big z10 mainframe sitting in amongst the exhibit booths. It is here, for example, where a customer can drill down into a technical discussion on zIIP offload or take a tour of our new mainframe TCO calculator for modeling MIPS savings, because it is the right context for that type of discourse. Also, the zZone is a destination for mainframe interests within a larger SOA context. Where else would you expect to find new strategies for redefining the economics of mainframe SOA? Last year, DataDirect was one of the founding members of the zZone at SOA Impact. It was then and still is an ideal setting for demonstrating how new technologies, like Shadow, can help accelerate the mainframe’s role within SOA. The new twist this year is how to make SOA cost-effective for the mainframe. In short, it is all about lowering mainframe TCO. Any mainframe customer looking for technologies to lower SOA-related integration costs will find it at the zZone at SOA Impact.
Great talking to you, Gregg! Don't forget to check out Data Direct at the Impact 2009 zZone.