I just got back from the SHARE conference in San Jose, and if you have never been, I would suggest you should try to go to this event. It's a great way to keep up with what is going on in the mainframe world. There are technical sessions on every subject you could imagine--zAAPs and zIIPs: Understanding the Basics, What's New in Enterprise COBOL Version 4, The Linux IPL Procedure, Mainframe Operating System Boot Camp, and Mainframe to Mobile: Push and Pull Data to Wireless Devices, to name a few of the ones I dropped in on. You get to see the latest solutions, applications, and mainframe-related products on the show floor. There are the large sessions, meals, and social events.
Mostly, you just get to hang out with lots of people from the mainframe world. If you're at all like me, you can be pretty heads down just geting stuff done, doing your regular job. When I get out to things like SHARE, the thing I really enjoy is finding out how much is really going on out there, how many creative, interesting things are happening on the mainframe, and how much energy there is to keep this a vital, strong, innovative part of the IT industry.
For example, I sat down over lunch at a nice Italian place called Il Fornaio in the historic St. Claire Hotel with the editors of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition. They told me all about the work they're doing with authors from universities who are so into some of the latest System z technologies they can't wait to write new articles about them. I can't tell you about them -- that would be giving away their secrets. But check out the magazine and you will see what I mean.
Of course, the event did have a downside--my hotel room looked right out over the local trolley system, which gets going on the dot at 5:05 every morning. Oh well, at least I got off to an early start every day.
Anyway, I will write more about some of the things I came across at SHARE. If you were there, respond to this and let me know what you found there, or just say hi.
In the meantime, go have a look at the SHARE web site and look at the conference proceedings. You can get a pretty good sense of what you can learn there. And check out the next event, which is going to be held March 1-6 right here in my home town, Austin, Texas. And, don't worry, we don't even have a trolley system so if you need to, you can sleep in.
And speaking of SHARE: Jeff Gould, director of research for Interop Systems, attended the event and came away realizing a couple of important things:
- "Cobol is not dead. And neither is the mainframe"
- If the State of California budget team had been at the event, they might have seen some ways to save money
According to Jeff, the California Controller is keeping money in the state budget to pay for Cobol development, claiming that the language is dead, there is no way to modernize mainframe applications, and that the only thing to do is to keep throwing money at the problem.
Dead wrong, says Jeff. Here's part of what he wrote: "In the past few years a whole new class of mainframe applications has emerged which bring non-mainframe environments such as Java and Linux to Big Iron. WebSphere on z, Linux on z – these are much more than mere checkbox options in some ... marketing scheme. A substantial chunk of the 10,000 or so System z mainframes in the world are actually running these environments. And they are doing it for big-time production apps too, not just development."
Have a look at the rest of Jeff's story
. Just more evidence proving what we already know. The mainframe is back, and it really never went away.[Read More
Hey z team--
Just came across a really useful site for those of you working with information management software for System z. It's the new Information Management Software for System z e-media site, and I think you'll find its collection of materials both interesting and useful. Check out the webcasts, teleconferences, brochures, whitepapers, and demos you'll find there. The URL is
Congratulations to those awarded the first ever IBM Destination z Scholarships. They were just announced by zJournal and the sponsors of the program.
The Destination z scholars are the following talented individuals:
- Adam Norwood, University of Arkansas, Management Information Systems master's program
- Sandeep Basnet, Illinois State University, Information Systems master's program, mainframe specialization
- Scott Wetter, Marist College, Computer Science undergraduate program
- Bob Molerio, Marist College, On-Demand with Enterprise Systems certificate program
Each of them has been awarded $1,000 to continue their academic pursuits. Again, congratulations to each of them.
Visit zJournal for more information on the scholarship.
We are working to build another scholarship program for the Fall 2009 semester, and we will announce it formally at the zJournal and Destination z web sites.
Are you heading out to IBM's Premier conference around SOA, WebSphere and the mainframe? If you are not, still time to consider it. If you are, please make sure you visit the zZone. What is the zZone you ask?
Well, it is a collection of our IBM Destination z members who can be found in a special area of the Solution Center (Exhibit Hall) at the conference. Our key Destination z Sponsors will be under the "Get into the zZone" banner. In addition, numerous vendors who provide applications, tools, and services to mainframe customers will also be identified by a zZone placard and will be included on a promotion that will allow visitors to earn a complimentary chair massage at the conference.
If your are attending IMPACT 2009, make sure you visit the zZone!
Finally, I will be there too. If you spot me, please stop and say hello!
For information on the conference, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/.
More on the zZone at the IMPACT Conference. Check out this link to see who the zZone Premium sponsors are. And if you are coming to the conference in Las Vegas, grab a zZingo card at the zZone and earn yourself a chair massage while you visit these sponsors and up to 20 other vendors in the zZone zZingo promotion who will tell you about their products and services.
Watch for me in the "zZone" if your there!
Click here to see the zZone Sponsors at the IMPACT 2009 Site
Hey everyone, we have two new members of IBM Destination z for you to check out. These new members are Gillani, Inc from Richardson, Texas and Tricept Informationsysteme AG, headquartered in Germany.
You can learn about these z partners by visiting the IBM Destination z site
Welcome to our newest members... and .. watch this space, we have more to come!!!
We had a great turnout in the zZone at the IMPACT Conference. The zZone sponsors including DataDirect Technologies
, Trident Services
, Serena Software
, Information Builders, Inc. (iWAY)
, Hostbridge Technologies
and IBM System z
greeted attendees to the "zone" , showed our products, and offered up a complimentary massage to visitors of each of the sponsors booths, plus a few more... :-)
Watch for upcoming zZone's at future conferences including the upcoming SHARE in Denver.
Hi everyone, DataDirect, one of our IBM Destination z members has just started their own blog called Data Connections. Check it out at DataDirect Technologies
Company url: http://www.pathpointsoftware.com
Partnerworld Global Solution
At our July Destination z teleconference, I had the opportunity to talk
with Bob Buchanan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PathPoint
Software. Bob is a veteran of the computer software and hardware
industry with over thirty years of domestic and international
Marc: Hi Bob, PathPoint recently joined our Destination z
community. Can you tell me a little bit about your company and the
solutions you provide?
Bob: PathPoint Software is dedicated to supporting the
application support needs of mainframe customers worldwide. We offer a
dynamic mainframe application discovery tool that provides a
breakthrough, execution-based, approach for understanding how mainframe
applications “really work”. Our produce, PathPoint, traces and captures
the sequential application-processing path followed by specified, user
entered, business transactions as they execute. Captured information
provides unparalleled insight into execution-based application facts.
PathPoint’s dynamic approach eliminates the need to analyze static
source code and “play computer” as you try to find the right code. No
more guess work. PathPoint helps you find the right code.
PathPoint is also included in the IBM Global Services AMS Toolkit.
Marc: What are you finding are the greatest challenges your
customers are facing and how does PathPoint Software help them?
Bob: Our customers are often facing a variety of challenges. They
need to drive efficiencies into their mainframe application maintenance
efforts, including analysis, testing and performance. PathPoint
provides a means for customers to reduce analysis time by 50% or more
and testing time by 50% or more and identify the cause of application
performance problems. Our value proposition revolves around improving
personal productivity, which drives down the time and significantly
reduces the cost associated with many mainframe application maintenance
PathPoint Software also helps customers struggling to understand how
legacy online or batch mainframe applications "really" work – of major
importance to customers who are need to make changes to existing
applications or to identify the source of application problems. Users
of PathPoint simply enter a business transaction of interest, or job a
step number, and the product traces and captures the actual
application-processing path followed by that executing business
transaction – all without any change to source code. Information
captured in the actual sequence of execution includes: input screen,
programs called, call statements issued, tables/files accessed, how
tables/files are accessed (CRUD) and output screen. Optionally, Cobol
source code can be parsed during post processing to capture the
conditional logic related to executing business transaction.
Marc: PathPoint sounds like it really helps customers quickly
identify the “right code” in a mainframe application and relate this
code to change requests and other problems. Please tell me a little bit
more about PathPoint’s role in addressing application-level performance
Bob: PathPoint captures application level performance timings for
specified user-entered business transactions – very unique and valuable
information. For example, we capture the elapsed time per call
statement, the interim time between call statements, and the frequency
of call statements. Using this information, customers can quickly
identify the cause of bottlenecks in their applications and how to
improve application performance.
Marc: What economic benefit would a user of PathPoint derive?
Bob: First of all, the mainframe application budget is a
substantial portion of the overall IT budget in today’s corporations,
as you know. And, application maintenance consumes a large percentage
of the application budget itself. We are confident that PathPoint users
can reduce their mainframe application maintenance budget by up to 20%.
Why? Because PathPoint enables users to reduce analysis time by 50% or
more, reduce system and regression testing time by 50% or more, and
reduce overall project time.
Marc: How can folks find out first-hand about your product?
Bob: We encourage all mainframe sites to try PathPoint. The product
can be installed in as little as 2 hours and does not require any
change to source code. Visit our website for more details.
Marc: One last question, why is being part of Destination z a
valuable community association for PathPoint?
Bob: PathPoint is delighted to be a part of the Destination z
community. As an Advanced IBM Business Partner, a very active
participant in the IBM Academic Initiative program, we are eager to
engage in discussions with other IBM Business Partners serving the
System z community. We feel that the Destination z community enables
mainframe customers to understand that innovation continues in the
world of mainframe computing – PathPoint is just one example of such
Marc: Thanks Bob. And I welcome readers to listen to the replay of
our July 29th Destination z call featuring PathPoint Software. Visit
the Destination z website
Primeur, a multi-national company, is a leader in Governed Managed File Transfer and End-to-End Security solutions. Primeur also offers total integration with WMQ File Transfer Edition, further extending its specialisation in adding value to WebSphere with SOA enabled products and services solutions.
Allan Somerville Brown:
Allan leads the Primeur business in the North America. Before joining Primeur, Allan worked for several years at IBM. Throughout his career within the company, he covered various management roles and worked on major customer accounts during his time as the world-wide sales leader for the IBM WebSphere MQ software family of messaging and connectivity products. Allan was responsible for driving the MQ business to meet its revenue targets.
Q1. Primeur has been providing the System z Community with solutions and services for nearly 20 years. Why do customers turn to Primeur year after year?
A1. Primeur’s first customers, over 20 years ago, were mainframe users. We and they have continued to believe in the mainframe and have invested accordingly, making sure that our software remains optimised for the mainframe, now z/OS and z/Linux. We work closely with our customers to ensure they continue to achieve an excellent Return on Investment both technologically and functionally – for instance our recent File Services Governance solution for providing platform independent audit, compliance and governance for corporate wide file transfers regardless of protocol.
Q2. We continue to see Primeur expanding globally, at a time when the economy is extremely challenging. What’s your secret?
A2. Yes, despite a difficult economic climate, our company continues to grow. We believe that there is a tremendous business opportunity in the market in which we operate not only for helping our customers reduce operational expenses, but also in bringing batch processes into a SOA environment. When we think of SOA, we generally tend to think of on-line transaction processing. However, most of the enterprise mainframe environments use batch systems so our customers are asking "when I transform to SOA, what about the batch applications and systems?" Primeur’s experience with mainframes, batch file processing and WebSphere puts us in an ideal position to help answer that question.
This makes it an opportune moment also for Primeur to invest in the future. Earlier this year, we announced the expansion of Primeur in the United Kingdom, and we opened a new subsidiary in the Asia Pacific region (Sydney, Australia) Since May, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the Director of Primeur’s first North American office, located in Virginia.
Q3. Why is being part of Destination z a valuable community association for Primeur?
A3. Being part of destination z is a very valuable community as it affords Primeur access to the wide experience through collaboration with customers and IBM. Perhaps the best way to understand fully the value of System z and value of destination z is to watch the video, recorded at Impact 2009 by Peter Sedgwick our director of the new UK company. This can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pHV04EsiaM
Q4. Why is System z important for Primeur’s customers?
A4. Batch/Legacy applications are best run on system z as it is optimized for handling these applications and the way that these applications communicate is through files.
Very large numbers of files are processed and sent/received every day. The increasing focus on securing sensitive data means that systems z’s outstanding security capabilities make system z the ideal platform for processing files. Customers can take full advantage of system z to process and secure the key data used to run their business, safe in the knowledge that Primeur’s software will securely deliver the files to the desired destination reliably and in a timely manner. Primeur’s Governance solution determines when the batch file is ready to be sent and tracks it to its ultimate destination, thus ensuring audit and compliance. One can’t run a business without secure and reliable processing of data – the combination of system z and Primeur’s software ensures that customers can rely on the efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness of their core data processing.
Thank you to Allan for sharing his thoughts. Join me again when I continuing blogging on my journey to Destination z!
Students taking mainframe courses at an IBM Destination z member school can now apply for the IBM Destination z Scholarship. To see the sponsoring organizations and to access the application, visit our website at IBM Destination z Scholarship Information.
OK, time for me to wake up and start bloggin' It has been months since my last blog which happens to be on the announcement of the scholarship for 2009. Well, I'm back, the winners have been named, and you can find out who the talented winners are by visiting the new Scholarship Program link
. Please note our generous sponsors who made the scholarships possible.
Congratulations to our winners!
I'm going to try to bring more interesting and frequent materials to you here, so keep tuned.
Destination z member company:
Primeur is a multi-national company
with over 20 years of experience specializing in Managed File Transfer,
End-to-End Security, File Transfer Governance, and WebSphere Integration.
Marc: Hi Allan. Primeur is known for its leadership in helping customers,
in every industry, to deliver real business benefits as they journey towards
successful implementation of SOA technology. Tell me more.
Allan: Primeur helps companies across a wide
spectrum of industries. We have customers, subsidiaries
and/or partners, across North & South America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the
Middle East and Africa. As we continue to expand our operations, we have found a
growing need for the management of file transfer across all industry sectors.
Primeur specializes in Managed File Transfer, End-to-End Security, File Transfer
Governance solutions, and extending those capabilities to the WebSphere
Integration portfolio. Our solutions offer the ability to extend the SOA
environment to include internal and external file transfers. Primeur solutions
are a key component in an SOA environment, they offer our clients the ability
to provide data as well as transport level security, improve business
efficiency, and become a more agile company.
Marc: Primeur was
positioned as a visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed File
Transfer, released September 18, 2009. What does this mean to Primeur?
Allan: Primeur believes placement in Gartner’s
Magic Quadrant confirms our recent growth in North America, Europe and Asia
Pacific regions. This successful growth is due primarily to our breadth of
vision, especially in regard to innovation, understanding the market, and the strategic
direction of our products. We are very pleased that Gartner recognizes us in
the Magic Quadrant. We feel this recognition is for both our expertise in what
is required by today’s customers, and in our vision of Managed File Transfer being
much more than simply managing a protocol. The Magic Quadrant can be found on http://www.primeur.com/news_events/.
Marc: Primeur has been a key
sponsor at IBM's Impact event since we first began this event.
Impact 2010 will be held in May in Las Vegas and once again, we're looking
forward to seeing Primeur featured, this time as part of the zZone. Why is this
an important event for Primeur?
Allan: It is an important event
for Primeur since it represents a single event with visitors from many industries.
The visitors to this event represent a group that will be interested in
solutions specific to zSystems. This provides Primeur the perfect platform to
show our latest offerings. Although we have offerings which operate across platform,
we will be participating in the zZone this year. Primeur’s first customers,
over 20 years ago, were financial industry mainframe users. We and they have
continued to believe in the mainframe and have invested accordingly; making
sure that our software remains optimized for z/OS and z/Linux. We work closely
with our customers to ensure they continue to achieve an excellent return on investment
from both a technology and functionality perspective.
Marc: What else will we be
seeing from Primeur at Impact?
Allan: We have a booth in
the zZone where visitors can hear about our solutions and see a demonstration
of our latest software. We will also be leading a Birds of a Feather session
entitled, “How Important is it to Define, Regulate, Audit, and Manage Your File
Transfer System?” Our aim here is to encourage visitors to bring their thoughts
on the matter and be prepared to share them. This session is designed to be
very interactive and should be a great learning experience for all.
Marc: What is new that our readers should know
Allan: We will also be
showing our new Spazio Ad Hoc solution, at our booth. Primeur recently announced
this important new solution. Spazio Ad Hoc can securely manage the occasional
exchange of files of any size using either an email client, web application, or
direct from a backend application. It includes all of the features of a
traditional Secured Managed File Transfer system, with no change required to
the configuration of email servers and the users email experience remains the
same since it is a server side solution. The solution provides visibility, security and control
for files transferred and, importantly, is easy to configure. If you are
interested in more details prior to the event you can find them on our web site
Marc: What’s the best way for potential clients to
find out more about Primeur solutions – or even take a test drive with some of
Allan: At Impact
the best way would be to come to our booth in the zZone. We will be happy to
discuss the benefits of our solution and how they can be integrated into a
customer’s environment. We will also have a short slide presentation and demo
of some of the capabilities available. Outside of Impact, we do offer a free assessment
service to help clients understand what their current file transfer environment
looks like. We find that many clients do not understand the true extent of the
files being transferred across their company. Knowing how many files, how big
they are, where they came from, where they are going, and any failures is very
important. Once clients understand where they are today, they are better able
to form a modernization plan that will carry them into the future.
Marc: Great talking to you, Allan. Readers and IMPACT 2010 attendees, don't forget to check out
Primeur at the Impact 2010 zZone.
I was at the WAVV
conference this past Sunday and Monday. I walked around the exhibit hall and saw 10 of our IBM Destination z member companies on the show floor. Included (besides IBM
), were aMOD
, GT Software
, Velocity Software
, Mainline Information Systems, Levi, Ray & Shoup (LRS)
, Fischer International Systems Corp.
, Red Hat
, and Illustro
. Also exhibiting were our supporting member zJournal
and Mainframe Executive
If your going to the IMPACT 2010 conference, visit the zZone where more of our membership will be set up to greet you.
Yours in z,