Enterprise Class Innovation: System z Perspectives
Did you see the entry on IBM being the first to eliminate these PFOS and PFOA compounds from its chip manufacturing processes? The range of announcements from Big Blue seems to be growing with a broad range of technology, collaborative centers for IT and even awards from the American Bar Association ---not for Patent Reform this time but legal assistance to non-profits. I was wondering if IBM is getting better at publicizing things in addtion to doing new and different things. It made me think of today's post theme as: "No one knows unless you tell them".
This started after I visited a client who went on and on about the wonders of virtualization and how being in a rack brought things close together. All true, but how about so close you avoid any network at all ( like hipersockets ---which has been around for years), or being at memory speeds at microseconds (yes, that is one millionth of a second) instead of potentially milli or even just plain seconds delay across a distributed infrastructure with systems laid across server farms?
System z's heritage of getting data close to where it is processed, handling huge amounts of data, and getting transaction levels of tens thousands a second, has lately been referred to in guidelines that say: Get your data and applications back together if one is on and one is off of System z! Our job as large systems folks includes telling others about this often silent world that sits behind the enterprises that run the world too I guess.
No one knows unless you tell them that object oriented programming started with COBOL (commercially oriented business object language), that high availability systems like GDPS can run synchronously and asynchronously and can be across huge distances in anticipation of disaster, or that innovation keeps moving on many fronts at IBM that are not always very visible. (Like the Innovate 2010 Jam that is going on right now internally to IBM, or a presentation I saw a bit ago that revealed System z clients grow twice as fast as non System z ones !)
I had another case recently that falls under the mantle of 'you need to tell or remind folks about things' that related to changes and technology. For those of use who have been around a bit it is like a part of our DNA to understand the key concept of how IT applied with custom implementations can provide true competitive differentiation for clients. In a conversation with some folks, we were reviewing the syndrome of how some enterprises either fall so far behind the technology curve, or get frustrated with IT's ability to deliver, and they abandon huge investments in 'legacy' resources as represented by their application base build over decades.
Now don't get me wrong, sometimes getting new suites of function makes a lot of sense, but sometimes leveraging or modernizing existing assets and processes can by done with strategies that not only take a lot less resource, but are more timely and effective. Think everything from web services to SOA to screen scrapping strategies as part of modernization strategies that can extend differentiation and advantage rather than throwing everything out and starting over again.
Alert System z clients have legacy capabilities that have been around for decades but also are continually updated and refreshed with these approaches. One example I crossed paths with recently addressed some of the older technology bases like Natural, Adabase, RPG, Cool:Gen 4GL. Rational Migration Extensions not only has the capabilities, but partnerships with specialists who have been in this space for years.
Before you throw anything important out with the bath water... see what can be renovated, updated, modernized. You might find with a little elbow grease you have a classic that works great in the 21st century and is surprisingly valuable!
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Consider this an 'extra'. If you have been watching the news lately, here is another great example of IBM depth in large systems. This all started when I did, way back in 1978. There have been articles in the 90's galore up to now....
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OK... Daylight Savings kicked in yesterday, even though the Vernal Equinox is not until next weekend, and green things are shooting up out of the ground (think 100's of Daffodils in the case of my lawn). Light is the theme in my brain as I think of the chips that communicate via 'light avalanches' or photon paths rather than copper ones. Are you kidding me? Wow.... Oh, and IBM research -with Stanford- announces environmentally sustainable plastics (or a start). Things seem to be accelerating. Don't forget the game changing p-series announcements with dramatic increases in parallelism, and now the x86 ex5 servers which decouple memory from the processors to potentially ' reduce the number of servers needed by half while cutting storage costs 97% and licensing fees by 50%'. (!!)
OK... when I see something with a SAM in it, I think access method. VSAM, ISAM, SAM, even QSAM for the older fuddy duddies in the crowd. But TSAM? Turns out it is Tivoli Service Automation Manager to automate requesting, deployment, monitoring and management of cloud computing services. First it was out for Linux on System z, and now we have if for cloud resources. Things expand in different directions. We have IaaS (information as a services) PaaS (Platform), and of course SaaS (Software). This is a big jump--- what will TSAM handle next....?
I am getting anxious, or at least eager, for System z to do its next revolution now that p and x are out. Will the platform that first started parallelism have some things in store? Will the platform that really got shared storage have some new memory schemes? What about the platform that started and still leads virtualization..... will it extend its arms further and in what direction? Virtualization software at the x86 level is great, but is still learning to walk compared to the mechanisms on System z that underlay consolidation projects and workload management techniques that maintain service levels while pegging utilization rates.
It is spring and a 'young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love', as Tennyson said, but at least for older farts like myself they also (hey, that is also, not instead!) turn to thoughts of how fast technology is turning.