Enterprise Class Innovation: System z Perspectives
Let's look at some more developing trends or patterns... IBM announces the Financial Markets Framework at the annual Financial Services Technology Expo in New York and not only refers to microsecond latencies and millions of transactions, but also builds on existing industry frameworks, adding feeds from disparate sources (think Info stream and stream computing from last year...) adding analytics and process extensions to address risk, regulatory and compliance areas. Do you remember the 20 plus times volume system that was announced about a year ago? Do you think that middleware is evolving still? (Do we need to mention what systems the Financial Industry runs?)
I stumbled on another source I should perhaps have known about called the Dancing Dinosaur blog, pretty interesting reading.
I found it after seeing one of the sessions at Innovate that had a demo to connect System z to smartphones, seeing the redbook, and curious to see if there were any mentions of it on the net. This ties in with a number of announcements to support phones like the recent Android support by collaboration software. Integration of the user to mainframe continues in all kinds of ways.
Well, I know this is a short one, I am off next week and then traveling. Oh, and take a look at the COBOL Cafe hub for the new Rational Developer for z Unit Test feature. It certainly adds some interesting possibilities for managing the test workload on z!
Just got back from Innovate 2010 and I encourage you to view the Keynotes; they will fire you up on innovation, the future, systems of systems and the future-- fer sure!
Take a look at the current IBM System Magazine to learn, among other things, how tape is far from dead -- 29.5 B bits per square inch demonstrated (44x today's capacity)??
The mainframe mag, zJournal, is now at the mainframezone, and the current issue has an article on mashups and Web 2.0 with the mainframe. (have you looked at CICS support for PHP?)
...and IBM has demonstrated a Graphene transistor based chip at 100Ghz -- as in single layer of carbon atoms exceeding cut off frequencies of silicon chips with the same gate length, is getting involved in more auto systems with Daimler, and there is a nice retrospective on Disney and IBM (with videos!) here.
So, I ran across a couple of interesting articles recently that, as a architect working with large systems and large enterprises made me stop and think.
First, in the Financial Times from June 8, a nice bit of thought on outsourcing, governance, and a reminder how key tech is and the importance of managing technology correctly!
Secondly, in the current issue of Strategic Finance (oops, sorry the specific article is for IMA members only it seems..) a good discussion on how to handle Idle Capacity Costs (pg 55). Without going into the detail, the point is execs at your enterprise are looking at these things.
And... what system helps manage resources to minimize excess capacity, maximize utilization?
... and oh by the way have you looked at moving to or consolidated non-System z systems on z lately?
Or would rather wait for your manager to ask why not?
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Last time we talked about acquisitions, and then IBM sets up to acquire Sterling Commerce and extends the idea of extended business networks for B2B (a term you don't seem to hear as much as 10 years ago) interactions. Does this affect System z? Gee, let me think, what runs most large enterprises? Who is concerned with process flows, transactions, CRM, SCM, PLM, ERP etc and has more than one partner? With enterprise transformations squeezing costs and increasing speeds, it just might be an interesting one to watch.
On the news from 'what, IBM is involved in that?', Texas A&M works with IBM to speed up drug discoveries to deal with Tuberculosis, big blue is working with Guang Dong hospital for analytics of treatment efficiencies, Linux hits 10 years on System z, and System z Expo is only a few months out (October 4) and is now called System z Technical University.
(With a slogan of: z can do it!, I can't help but think of Adam Sandler movies with Rob Schneider saying you can do it! )
Has it really been 10 years for Linux on z? (OK, a couple of other nice links for Linux and System z: : datasheet, white-paper)
Linux has had a pretty large effect helping consolidation efforts, moving the open movement...
Another smaller milestone happened In the last couple of days as I saw an item in the Financial Times on Google moving only to either Linux or Mac systems.
Who would have thought all those years ago when IBM added Unix Systems Services, it would lead to where we are today?
Sidestep to a USS z/OS implementation redbook reference: Redbook where it notes:
"In 1991, the US Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Document 151 stated that MVS must incorporate support for popular UNIX interfaces. So began the challenge of including UNIX functionality into the MVS operating system. The first implementation was known as OpenEdition (or OE, or OMVS), then it became OS/390 UNIX System Services, and then finally z/OS UNIX System Services, as we know it today." (Open Edition first came out in MVS/ESA V4R3 in1994)
Happy Birthday Linux!!
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Well, I had some folks wondering when the next System z is coming along, since it was February '08 that the z10 came along, and we had those nice Power7 announcements this fall. Naturally, I can't say even if I knew, but I did see a nice counterpoint on the System z skills discussion on gomainframe.com with a document from Clabby Analytics called: The Alleged Mainframe Skills Shortage. It is part of a counterpoint to a recent consultant release on mainframe skills. I will leave you to read it, but not that there are some nice tidbits in it, including: IBM's $100M investment for easier management interfaces for the mainframe, some detailed demographics vs anecdotal information on mainframe support, and a few comments like 'silly' and 'daft' to suggest that there is anymore a crisis than for IT skills in general. Of course, you add the thousands of new graduates and 100's of schools that are flowing from the Academic Initiative, and one wonders what issues are really behind this urban myth.
With the recent bid by SAP to acquire Sybase, I noted in the Financial Times and other sources how IBM is setting aside $20B for acquisitions at a pace that will double the last decade in the next five years. Wow! I maintain a site internally that helps keep track of acquisitions at a high level, guess I will have to ramp it up. And yes, the wheels are spinning for candidates in my brain....
On an unrelated note, while we know the next major phase after services may be cloud, but looking back to a push that is still very much alive, I have been noticing how Enterprise Modernization is very much alive and well, incorporates some aspects of e-business, SOA, and really underscores some potential culture clash issues between the free wheeling internet boys and super systems management Systems z folks. If you happen to be modernizing a part of the company and IT that has not been touched by that upstart internet, just be extra sure you look at ALL the security implications, and review infrastructure, development, and governance! (Hey, there are some acquisitions that relate to these too... like ISS, AppScan (Watchfire), Ounce Labs, and of course Rational itself which now has the system z Rational Developer for z we have talked about.)
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So, what is going on?
Green Chips Stocks had their view of the tightening of Environmental standards reflected in the IBM Suppliers announcement on Global sustainability, while IBM acquires Cast Iron Systems for cloud initiatives and the delivery of SaaS, and also now has a follow on game to Innova8 with the new CityOne game.
Wow.. you really don't have to work that hard to see these patterns of Big Blue just moving along on their long time stated intentions of moving the bar forward on basic beliefs of making a difference for their customers and the world... while being a strong business entity. I mean, hey, let's be good citizens, let's help our suppliers do the things we have been on green initiatives, and let's continue to bolster the cloud offerings we are developing! (Yes, I am going to point out the obvious: what systems predominate in the cloud of the future, or those huge system outsourced floors IBM runs? Hint: Enterprise........Systems!)
There is a new Poughkeepsie green manufacturing system, there are new Business Process components announced at Impact today in Las Vegas, and IBM has signed an agreement with Drawbase software to support the smart building initiatives. (see previous entries on the amount of energy used by buildings and the growth of cities....)
OK, so there are patterns other than development or design ones. Here is one: I just got back from a meeting (yes, I am an internal IBMer architect) where the Enterprise Systems architects from North America got together for some updates -- and to see one another face to face--- of course.
Besides learning about some of the cool stuff coming down the pipe (oh how I wish I could share!!), there was lots of comparing notes on what clients are doing, talking with those with decades of experience with banks, government, health, and manufacturing institutions, and plenty of 'what would you do' chats on behalf of clients.
And the pattern? The big boys are as dedicated to Enterprise Systems as ever, to growing and modernizing them, and to adding workload (as we have talked about with Chordiant, ACI, WAS, Development, Warehouse and others --see Solution Editions).
And, that while thinking of the conversations I had with other IBM'ers, looking at the news, and the stuff coming... well, it all reminded me of the IBM Values:
Well, I almost missed IBM being named the top Security Company by SC Magazine. Naturally, it got me thinking of how the company is pushing ahead on many fronts so the technology is there when clients need it.
Besides the announcements on making plastics from plants, Tivoli has been looking at security needs for SOA and clouds across different environments and believe me, it is a whole lot more complicated than just you typical e-business application from a few years ago!
Across platforms, the internet, and different infrastructures you run into SAML, WS-Trust, Kerberos certificates, RACF Passtickets, LTPA tokens, keys and oh yeah, passwords and IDs. Yikes, it gets complicated quickly... I used to think in terms of Tivoli Identity and Access Management (TIM and TAM), but we now need to think about Federated Identity Management (TFIM), and a relatively new set of functionality called Security Policy Manager (TSPM) to address the life-cycle of policies, credential translation, and identity propagation across an SOA environment. Now I am certainly not going to go into any detail here, this is more of a heads up on where to look if you are getting into the next phases of this stuff. (And look at the Redbook too!)
Oh, and take a look at the IBM Security Framework. With the zSecure suite, the ISS contributions with the Proventia suite, the acquisition of Guardium for DB security, and AppScan products for applications (as just a few examples), security is being layered and added by Tivoli security and others ALL through the IT infrastructure.
Hey, guess what? If you take things out of the black box and distribute them all over the place you need more than RACF!
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.
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What can’t run on the Mainframe?
OK, we know about system Z’s heritage for running the big boys, and we have talked about how there are thousands of applications that have been certified over last few years for Linux on system Z.
…. But what about all of that .NET workload out there?
Here is a Hint: If you do start consolidation onto VM or Linux on Z, don’t overlook a key component of the project: monitoring. Take a hard look at Velocity Software, a partner started by ex IBMers that has worked with IBM since 1988, works with the system z labs, and has been involved in VM Early Support Programs since then too.
Note: Another important virtualization
management consideration dealing with multiple platforms is also reflected in
the creation of the IBM Systems Software organization. Covering
components from System Director, VM Control, and Active Energy Manager (to name
but a few), the portfolio addresses management, security, energy, availability,
virtualization and of course, operating systems.
For fun: Take a look at this video on You Tube: How IBM Software Works--- A nice summary of where IBM software is going.
If you saw this weeks Power7 announcements you may have had a similar reaction to mine. First, of course, was whoa... increasing threads to nearly 10 fold? Or increasing the chip power, structure, etc and the middleware is all ready to take advantage?? When you look at the details, or if your friendly local IBMer gives you a presentation, look at the performance and cost charts and see the dramatic bend in the curves for Power7. This is a game changer... really. It will force us all to take a hard look at design point, fit and sweeping changes could come to certain datacenters this year. Secondly, if you have been around awhile, and remember the design charts for large systems processors over the years, and the way System z has dealt with mixed workloads, you may have had a sense of deja vu. I often have said since starting in large systems in the 70's that I have sometimes felt like I have been cheating as I watch large systems concepts move over to other systems. Well, this is a big one and I feel as if I have lost some of my crib sheets!
On an unrelated note, I was looking at BPM BlueWorks, the new LotusLive facility for customers to be able to freely model and share their strategies, capabilities, and processes as well as leverage sample models and maps from their industries. As I understand it, you can then flow these models to tools like Business Modeler for more elaboration and the development flow. Powerful stuff indeed. I always thought that SCP stood for systems control program, but I guess it is now: strategy, capability, and process....
Finally, start studying (as I will be) the preview of z/OS v1.12. It appears the future does keep moving in z land and it we pay attention our crib notes are still there: Predictive Failure Analysis, automatic partitioning, avoiding VSAM data fragmentation, workload driven provisioning of capacity, the extended address volumes coming into their own and further enhancements to cryptographic processing algorithms. The preview is entitled: Heralding a new Generation of Smart Operating Systems. Boy those enterprise systems guys, just when you think you haven't heard heuristic or ease of use in a while you get a statement like: 'IBM has taken the long-term outlook by simplifying a mainframe system from the inside out and from end to end.' There is a lot associated with this announcement and phase: Tivoli Service Management Center, CICS Explorer, Rational Develop for z, ZMF, all the health checks...
Well, better get out of here and start reading!
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As I went through my feed aggregators the last few weeks, another software acquisition (National Interest Security Company) showed itself along with the Smarter Planet exhibit at Disney World. These juxtaposed themselves with articles and blogs about how technology continues become 'commoditized', how hard it can be to explain the value of z technology ( even though it quietly runs the world's major institutions ), and a haircut where I actually had a barber ask me: 'Does IBM still make computers?' Ouch.
I have been tracking the software acquisitions (well over 80) and acquisitions of other companies that do things like process mortgages, automate and move workload, and other related to systems outsourcing for about a decade. It has been a fascinating puzzle picture building for those who want to watch if form, and the crystallization of the Smarter Planet strategy is one that makes real sense if you are both a tech watcher and futurist.
While some some talk about the cloud as the latest marketing spin (see a recent YouTube video by a sailing officianado..), others recognize it as the next tier in the 'distributed' model.
The pieces are coming together, and the case studies or examples are starting to pop up from hospitals, cities, power grids etc. Imagine if all of these endpoints of intelligence not just in devices, but instruments, industry, and networks, from PCs and phones, temperature regulators and flow valves, assembly lines and portable diagnostic devices.... This is so big and exciting it hurts the brain a little bit BUT... that is why it is so important as system z and Enterprise Systems folks to explain what has quietly been going on behind the scenes for the last 40 some years.
We have been building and refining ways to deal with mind freezing amounts of data, processing, and workload balancing. Virtualization, automation and availability strategies, and frameworks have been improving quietly in this world the general population and popular media rarely becomes aware of.
The pieces are coming to together, and we get to explain the story about not only what happened 'in the beginning', but be able to explain about how 'that is why they were able to make cities livable, find ways to live sustainably and save the planet'.
And then not say: Then End.. but instead: The Beginning....
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OK, so maybe it is because it is the start of the year and I try to refresh bookmarks, or I was thinking about talking with a new contact at a system z partner, and what sources to point him to... But I found myself entering the waving fingers, doodledy doo music, and time transition to compare what finding things was like in the 70s versus now.
Announcements: Then, we had blue letters for announcements that came in secure shipments that we would read through at our desks, and then reread again for the following week or so. Now, we go online, don't have desks, and may have them delivered via RSS feed aggregators or podcast series. We would schedule auditoriums in every even close to large city, and announce with fanfare the yearly changes after doing the same with the branch after staying up all night learning about them-- having gotten a signature secured box the night before!
Systems Engineers evolved into Architects and IT Specialists, and Business Partner counter parts, and Orange books became Redbooks. In the branch (the what?) I started at, we had ONE dot matrix printer, a green screen dumb terminal in a room for all to share and could not have imagined the social sites for large systems that include: destination z, mydeveloperworks, the mainframe blog on typepad, and system z on Facebook ! We would have never imagined the need for the academic initiative, the SOA Social Network, or that there might be IBM channels on youtube...
As an architect I, and many of you, have to keep up on executive topics, and so look at magazines for the CIO, CFO, Mainframe Executive, in addition to IBM Research journals like the Systems Journal. I go to the Institute for Business Value, as well as Investors Business Daily, the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and the wonderful NY Times Reader.
When I make time, I may use igoogle, my yahoo, feedly or other aggregation methods to look at news from tech, industry, and partners who build solutions. I have a feed for pictures from Flickr, press releases looking for key works like acquisition, and created a search widget or gadget for IBM when it pops up out on this interweb in any of 'those tubes'. The information overload and anxiety drives a person to feel he needs these tools, just as business intelligence and information analytics is a needed response at the enterprise level. Without these tools we just would not know what is going on. Things have changed for sure, but fortunately there are ways to not feel as if we are waiting for the newspapers to show up from the ship landing from the 'continent'....
What are you pet techniques to stay current? Let me know....
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So, looking for patterns, have you noticed the increase in Smarter Planet activity involving government entities, power, water, traffic, medical records etc? This stuff is building and becoming real and is not just some marketing Public Relations. Take a look at the press room or the sites related to Smarter Planet for this growing trend!
As part of this entry's miscellany, I noted some announcements related to Solution Edition (for Chordiant's Customer Experience Management solution - think CRM plus...), a z-series Linux Enterprise Server for consolidation strategies, and ran across an entry that talked about how the top 50 banks are all running z-series. (We've seen lots of top enterprises running z stats, I had just not seen that particular one before..)
Tech folks are, from my experience, optimists, eager to apply innovation for the betterment of their enterprise, and yes, the world. As a new year starts, I know you join me in being ready to go, to dig in, help out, and make a difference. It is not just IBM values to make a difference in the world.. I think all you you techies love doing so too... I look forward to joining you in doing just that in 2010 ! !
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So, you probably saw the announcement for the Linux enterprise server and maybe thought of the recent Solution Edition for Linux.
If this doesn't line up nicely with all of the virtualization and consolidation efforts going on, I sure don't know what does!
Being December, I find myself looking back and thinking about some of the high-level enhancements in enterprise systems in 2009. From z/OS management facility to CICS Explorer to the 45th Anniversary of the mainframe (CICS turning 40, or COBOL 50), and the Academic Initiative hitting new levels of participation, it has been an interesting year.
Whether from increased integration through enterprise modernization (especially CICS Web services), insights through deeper analytics, or efficiencies from green characteristics, it seems system z keeps pushing forward in meaningful ways on many fronts.
Being December, I find myself paging more than normal -- as many of you probably do --but I wanted to stop by and especially wish you and yours the very best of holiday seasons and hope you join me in looking forward to the exciting developments awaiting us all in 2010.