Hi, this is Dave again. I just got back from IBM's SWITA and zITA internal University, where I was part of a team delivering the System z track. (SWITA is a pre-sales software architect, and a zITA is the same specializing in System z platform accounts). It's always good to step back and spend some time renewing oneself, talking to others who do similar jobs, and of coarse, when you deliver sessions, seeing how they are received and gauging where the platform sits with others who may not work with it every day.
One of the insights I brought away from this experience was to remember, for those of us who have spent a long time with System z (like when it was the mainframe!),is that 40+ years is a lot of time to not only layer functionality, butto lose layers reasons of why those functions were put in place.As we talked about some basic concepts like virtual storage, partitioning with PR/SM, and the original software virtualization engine z/VM, I was reminded of a friend’sreport on an interview he had a few years ago.
This friend had traveled to Texas to interview at a large IT installation, and was anxious that the interview go well. Towards the end of the day, while touring the data center, his guide stepped aside and gave him the feedback he was looking for. He indicated that the hiring team had been concerned since my friend was from the north and in their experience there had been difficulties with other candidates, who just didn't seem to fit in culturally. He shared in a Texas drawl that while the candidates were qualified and generally good people, that part of the reason they ‘just didn't get it’ was not their fault, as they ‘ just didn't know any better’.
Experience, context, and exposure. It's not the fault of those who haven't been around System z that they don't remember why functional recovery routines were put in place, exactly how virtual storage works to ensure memory doesn't get stepped on by those who don't belong there, or the context that two phase commit came out of.If you are one of those who have been around System z enough to understand its design point and value, take the time like a good Texan would with an 8 pound brisket and help others ‘get it’.
You may remember, I mentioned that there were a number of articles in progress on the system z10 Server.In the interim, the IBM Systems Journal and the Journal of Research and Development have merged, and those z10 articles are now available in issue #53 at this site.I was going to dedicate this blog to highlighting some of the articles in this issue, but I wanted to take a moment and share with you some of the progress that has happened in the last 90 days since IBM’s Sam Palmisano, gave his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations back in November on a Smarter Planet; the largest Enterprise System we humans deal with.
Since then, there is incredible amount of information, which has been made available both on the general IBM site, and some pretty amazing visibility through the media and Internet channels.On CNN, Sam had his first TV interview wth Fareed Zakaria, and on CNBC, we saw him with our new President Obama. If you look at YouTube, there are many new videos related to a Smarter Planet and what it means across industry, business, technology and society.Smarter utilities, telecommunications, energy, money, retail, infrastructure and more are being highlighted at the IBM and other sites including:
As I walked through these stories of Smart power grids, traffic management, new approaches to telecommunications, financial systems, food distribution and other solutions, I started to realize that this may be not only the largest initiative from IBM in decades, but a real tipping point for technology being applied to the world in a meaningful way.Whether you are an IBM employee, Business Partner, customer, or a citizen of the world, this initiative will affect you, and it is worth starting to understand what it involves and where it is going. I highly recommend taking the time-- I think you will be inspired.
I had the opportunity recently to talk with Paul Wirth, an IBMer who travels the country in support of DB2 and is a real smart guy. (… and not just because he agrees with me on so many things!). I had asked to talk with Paul after some reading about a new technology called pureQuery, which is part of the relatively new Data Studio suite. The technology is a result of a cross brand initiative from IBM software aimed at the intersection of application programmers and DBA’s for effective data access. This technology’s goal is to reduce the complexity of JDBC programming and queries to relational databases, Java collections and database caches.While there is a lot of detail (see the links below) on how this technology works, there are also a couple of System z implications that Paul shared.
The difference between dynamic and static execution of SQL statements is like the difference between compiled and interpreted execution. If you build static execution packages for DB2, you get a predetermined access path, built for the best performance and predictable execution of the workload. They're also benefits related to security isolation since the application accesses the package and not the database table (see SQL injections, fraud etc.) Those shops who have used the approach of static SQL statements via the whole mechanism of DB2 packages receive long known associated benefits of not only performance, but also cost, security, monitoring, and consistency. While previously available for Java via SQLJ, it was pretty complicated to do and only a limited number of shops did so. pureQuery makes this much easier to do regardless of your Java framework or the API you're using.
One of the strengths of System z is its focus on mixed workloads, performance, and cost effectiveness as a platform. Being able to prioritize and manage workloads through workload manager is essential to accomplishing this. Unfortunately, much of the distributed Java transactions coming off the web to DB2 are only dynamic SQL workload. So, z/OS sees them as undifferentiated pieces of work unless the programmer sets the properties for the connection class-which is often not done.If you have a unique package name you can identify the application program which means it's easier to monitor, do problem determination and especially that it is eligible to manage via the z/OS Workload Manager (WLM). pureQuery gets you get those unique package names as you implement static SQL, and gives WLM the ability to assign them to specific service classes, and allow prioritization of the DB2 threads. (Note: it is not just the Java workload coming off the web, Java workloads via Websphere for z/OS, stored procedures, and CICS Java workload can potentially benefit from pureQuery via the pureQuery Runtime for z/OS).
A third interesting area to look at is stored procedures. First, if you have a simple, one statement procedure that doesn't contain business logic, rules, or network data filtering, and is used just to provide a static plan, then consider using pureQuery and rewrite the SQL statement in the Java application. The pureQuery statement is zIIP eligible, provides the static plan, and avoids the need for the stored procedure. IF the Java program is running on System z it also becomes eligible for zAAP processor use.
Next, we know that DB2 9 gives us the new, native stored procedures, which avoid the use of WLM because they run within the thread, and are zIIP eligible- when used over TCP/IP with DRDA. So, say you rewrite an external procedure (e.g. one that currently uses COBOL) using native SQL/PL. The result? A procedure which is more efficient and is zIIP eligible (DRDA).
As Paul said: “…if you think about it; pureQuery makes Java web applications behave a lot like CICS COBOL applications…”And that, as System z folks know, can be a good thing.
Whew... a lot to think about, but this is a technology to watch that holds the potential for improvements on numerous fronts.Watch this one as it moves in closer on the radar!
I had the opportunity recently to visit the zITA Boot Camp and speak with a community of Architects who watch over the mainframe or Enterprise Systems world. For those of you who don't know, zITAs are the System z IT Architect community in IBM. These are the guys who advise and guide the largest institutions as they keep the big systems evolving to meet current business initiatives with the appropriate technologies. Now I am not saying that there was not a few missing or grey hairs in residence, but there was a nice mix of what some HR folks might call 'vitality' representatives as well. While this community knows the intricacies of where virtual storage and channel commands started from, they were discussing developments that ranged from best fit and use of workloads across platforms, futures of zEnterprise capabilities, and guiding IT leaders on strategies for decisions based on Total Cost of Ownership based on the full range of use and expenditure categories that real clients experience. . . These folks are really the Trusted Advisors we hear about, the technical conscience overseeing change in our Enterprise Clients. While they were being vetted on topics from future extensions to current technologies, they were also looking at application in spaces such as Cloud, Industry specific frameworks and solutions, and the next stage of low level integration across component boundaries using open technologies to accelerate and increase options across technology providers that can give more options for solution innovation. As at any meeting or conference of this type, the conversations at breaks and meals are often some of the best. These are not individuals who are stuck in the quagmire of detail without a clue to what is going on with the business side at their clients. I heard conversations that included topics such as: how can we better understand industry trends our clients are dealing with, how can we help our customers better link IT and LOB initiatives so they are more effective and valuable once implemented, and what lessons can we leverage from other fields such as negotiation and the legal system to better communicate across disparate technical communities? . Sure, these guys know their availability strategies, but they also know what is going on with Web 3.0 and Linked Data, Economic and Risk Models of the Cloud Infrastructure, and what changes in compliance legislation might mean for reporting strategies and the systems behind them. . Who better to have guiding our largest and best institutions? Thank you zITAs.
It felt like it's been about six months since the announcement of the z 10, so I took an informal web sampling that reflected the z10 announcement from different points of views. Naturally, I found a couple of excellent articles from Mainframe Executive (one from June entitled: Green Machines: The System z10 Enterprise Class, and the other from April: IBM Unveils New System z10: Vital Signs Remain Strong). I also found a nice entry from an electrical engineers news service in Asia with some comments from IBM z10 designer Charles Web who addressed the design challenges with the increase of speed to 4.4 GHz. Finally, I scanned the spring publication of the z 10 technical Redbooks : IBM System z10 Enterprise Class Technical Introduction SG 24 – 7515 and IBM System z10 Enterprise Class Technical Guide SG24-7516 ( along with loads of consolidation and green related items!).
One of the things that really stood out on the external entries were comments like: ‘The z10 chip is easily the most elegant enhancement in more than a decade’, ‘Rock-Solid Computing for the Next Decade’, and ‘the first ground-up CPU redesign in an IBM mainframe in a decade’.All the articles I read really underscored my initial impressions about how many different areas were changed at once (huge speed increase, buffer structures, infiniband connections, reducing chips from 16 to 7 on the MCM, etc. etc.) but also the commitment to the platform these new capabilities represent.
It's always been fun to see the technical changes, but it seems easier than ever to link them directly to the business behind the workload. Floating-point decimal functions gets moved from millicode (yes, there is a step between microcode and the chip) to the chip for the demands of workloads related to financial institutions. Support is added for growing encryption needs through enhanced cryptographic processor functions. An additional 50 instructions are added aimed at improving compiled code efficiencies for the software (i.e. Java, WebSphere, and Linux )that enables growing Internet and application workloads. These are all good examples of the platform evolving to a changing world.
Besides, seeing that quote: ‘long-time assembler programmers will rejoice’, or the fun fact of 20,000 error checkers on the chip, there seemed to be a lot of discussion about the design effort between the system z and System p teams.I like the phrase “shared DNA" for their collaboration on areas like the design of memory controllers, floating point processors, and I/O bus controllers, but also that the z chip is different due to platform focus on functions like cryptography, compression, and decimal floating point capabilities. (Or the different buffer structures for different workloads, levels of availability mechanisms, and something called local clock gating to reduce power consumption.)
Perhaps the nicest summary I saw was from Bill Carico, president of ACTS (an IBM Premier Business Partner), who wrote at Mainframe Executive: “… and a litany of other advancements, confirming that IBM remains strongly committed to keeping the mainframe on the cutting edge of technology. The one-sentence executive summary of the z10 announcement is simply this:‘The mainframe still leads the industry in its ability to run mixed workloads, share data, operate consistently at over 90% utilization and near 100% availability at the lowest cost of ownership (TCO) in an impenetrable environment that runs on autopilot.’No, I’m not saying the mainframe is the best tool for any job. I’m saying it’s the only platform with these unique capabilities”.
Says it pretty well, huh? Let us know what are you hearing about the z10 and its evolving role in the enterprise...
Well, a quick personal note to explain the absence of postings. On Oct 11, I started work and had a chest and jaw pain that, long story short, led to a heart bypass and my absence from this blog and work for too much of the fall. It was quite a surprise and hole to fall into, so welcome back me! . Some of my main observations from the sidelines include laughing at the new phone with tiles which lets you know there is activity for mail or social networking sites (see Lotus Notes basic concept that is how old? 10-12 years?), the zEnterprise system becoming available, and continued tech announcements from CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics (as in 10x density, with electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon) to a range of announcements on security, smart solutions, and the cloud. . I notices the magazine, Government Technology, had a good article on Modernization, as did zJournal, and Mainframe Executive had a cover story on the creation of the new zEnterprise systems. In the legacy systems article in Government Technology, there is a good reference to the NASCIO survey in '08 that has the top 2 drivers as changes to business processes, and inability to support LOB requirements. Nice reminder about where to start in an enterprise before any tech change effort, huh? . OK, back with more, gotta ease into things again ya know...
I had the opportunity to hear a podcast this week of a Town Hall meeting where the story of Baldor Electric and their evolution from a mixed infrastructure to almost exclusively System z was compellingly shared. The journey, also shared on Mainframe Executive here, took 12 years and serious focus to achieve technical and fiscal performance they can be proud of.
The Baldor story reminded me of Project Big Green, where IBM is moving 3900 servers to 30 some System z servers ( which I think is now around 19 wth system z10). We are two years into what may be a five year cycle of better optimizing our own systems and part of a transformation which has already seen a reduction of CIOs from 128 to 1, and data centers from 155 to 5 (east and west coast of North America, Australia, Asia and Europe for the curious out there).
It occurred to me that neither story would be possible if the full usage or exploitation of the platform had been happening right along --including at deal old Big Blue!! Growth, politics, and taking your eye off of optimization in the big picture is an easy thing to do across an enterprise, but fortunately the promise of System z and the Mainframe Charter (innovation, community and value) continues to roll out with happenings this summer including the Solution Edition offerings, IFL and memory pricing actions, and Academic Initiative thresholds being passed as more students and universities become part of the program.
After seeing the news about IBM scientists (working with Caltech) using DNA molecules as scaffolding with carbon nano tubes as part of new sub 22 nm lithography processes, I found myself thinking about progress on the storage side as well.
Remembering how storage, back in 1956 with the 5 MB and 50 platter devices, has evolved in 50 years to multiple TB sizes, or how with solid-state storage now can completely eliminate seek and set sector activity, it does all blow one's mind. (here's a nice white paper on SSD performance) Still, I guess we need these kinds of improvements when data doubles every year and a half, or there are estimates that is growing at 60% compound growth rates which are depicted as seemingly relatable examples as how many libraries of Congress per day we add.
Fortunately, at least in System z land, we have decades of evolution in management systems which can help government, control, and manage the scale of technical resources we use. Whether that storage is in the mainframe or on the floor, or it is memory, specialty processors, programs, tasks, or workloads... it's not version 1 approaches we have helping us. (A example of continued platform simplification is the recent announcement of the z/OS management facility -- announcement letter here)
By the way, this month's z/OS statement of direction notes IBM intends to use DVDs to deliver systems, adding the latest V2 Internet Key IKEv2 support, pulling DCE (technologies come and go!), and based upon customer feedback, not dropping support for VSAM IMBED, REPLICATE, and KEYRANGE attributes. for all the details just see the link above.
Last week found me reviewing a series of case studies that showed the risk in migrating platforms without a careful analysis of design points and the related total value cases in different infrastructures. As you might guess, these had to do with System z, and for these unfortunate institutions, they moved from z; hoping to garner significant benefits.
As you might also guess, that did not happen. It did not happen to the tune of having new environments that cost multiple times as much as what they moved from.Just as I wondering how the message (after 45 years) of managed virtualization, lower manpower costs, and Qualities of Service still seem to be underestimated for System z, I heard about a new case.
It seems there is a State institution out West that took several years and 10’s of millions of dollars to ignore their well running CICS application base and create a new distributed set of applications that resulted not in the sub-second response time they hoped for, but coffee break long response times.
Many in System z land have heard of the metaphor for System z where they show a draft horse pulling a large load and then another picture with scores of chickens hooked to the same load.In this case, being out West, I envisioned Buffalo and Prairie Dogs as horsepower instead hooked up to a covered wagon.
Care to take a guess which one might move the wagon load best?
No doubt you saw the recent entry that IBM researchers have
developed a computer based upon a cat’s brain
in complexity. To wit: (IBM Link here)
‘Scientists, at IBM Research - Almaden, in collaboration
with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have performed the first
near real-time cortical simulation of the brain that exceeds the scale of a cat
cortex and contains 1 billion spiking neurons and 10 trillion individual
learning synapses. ‘
I asked one of my friends if that meant that when you talk
to it …it ignored you.. (drumroll please!)
Another indicator about how things are about to change in
some pretty big ways our recent developments from IBM and cloud computing. As I
listen to these developments, I can't help but reflect on how many of the goals
tie back nicely to enterprise systems kinds of goals. Think of being able to Log
onto an essentially dumb terminal (in the old days a WYSE terminal, today
through a browser). Imagine the cost and management savings of not having to maintain
thousands of endpoints beyond their just being endpoints! (think POT: plain old
When I hear the story
of the Pike County school system (and their implementation of cloud computing
for the desktop), there is a part of me that starts to jump up and down and
scream: ‘It's coming! It's coming!’ We really are moving into the age of industrialization for information
technology. (Our old friend Irving Wladawsky-Berger talked
about it earlier this year when he talked about the industrialization of
services, and there are other recent articles such as this one by strategist Gene Wright where he references
Simon Wardley’s lecture
on YouTube.---Look for the cats in his slideshow!!)
I heard a great analogy for the ‘older ones’ in the
audience: …think about when you had to use an operator for phone calls, then
for long distance, then for overseas, and now you don’t even need a phone!
Oh, and what do we think will be running the clouds most efficiently
in that sky?Enterprise systems??
Have you been reading, google-ing, listening to podcasts on ‘The Cloud’? (Not The Blob, that was a 1958 movie with Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut and Jane Martin. )
I’ve decided not to rush to understanding this still forming next wave and am starting to see a set of cloudy parameters for watching the waves we will all be riding for the next decade or two…Besides the obvious cost savings public and private clouds promise, here are some patterns I see evolving: (what do you see??)
Immenseness & Immediacy: This cloud is so big, our brains may have trouble understanding the associated scale.and orders of magnitude.Mainframes were a big deal with thousands of green screen terminals, then distributed computing brought applications to millions of new users, and the Internet now connects billions of people, sites, and programs.But you haven’t seen anything yet.
New intelligent units are getting connected into networks that generate connection points or interactions that go way beyond a billion to a trillion (10 to the 12th )to .. well…. who knows, really big numbers like Nonillion (10 to the 30th).
There are devices everywhere that are joining up. We add newintelligent devices; like phones, cars, refrigerators, game stations, stoplights, valves, pacemakers, cement mixers, cameras, bottles and dog collars.Sensors, RFID tags, intelligent end- points, input devices and computing nodes all join the mix.You don’t churn your own butter, you don’t have to walk to the corner to place a phone call, and as anyone with a smartphone can tell you, you don’t need a computer to work with applications.
Incredibleness & Industrialization: We are only beginning to see the industrialization (standardization, automation, virtualization) of information technology.(Start a sound track in your head; say, a Carl Stalling score in a Warner Bros cartoon where they are stamping something out in a factory!) Just as each generation of Tool & Die makers create templates for more amazing creations, the adolescentIT world is growing up, reaching past the apprentice stage, and creating its own master works.
Besides the visible advances of putting computers in nearly everyone's hands, or the important connections between individuals across social software, major advances in technology, infrastructure and services science have been building in places like IBM Research and Development enabling startling and incredible announcements such as financial trading systems with 20+ fold improvements, inline analytics (system s) with microsecond response times for the study of Space Weather or new, complexNeonatal monitoring.
Immersion & Intensity: We will all be interacting with more of our senses (think Second Life and gaming), different devices, and on new scales. When you smash things together in new ways you can end up with wonderfully creative results or horrible tasting desserts. Fortunately, enterprise sytems has been playing with the pieces (many of which we have invented) for a while now. (Think AP, MP, parallel sysplex, VM, GDPS, WLM...)
Well, I just got off US District Court jury duty and it was quite an interesting view into a different world. As one who had not avoided but just not participated before, you can imagine my little IT head's dialogue: where are the pictures? There is a whiteboard there, why don't they use it? Couldn't they put together a better compiled document of evidence briefs than this? I admit, I do the same thing when I go to the doctor's office and see the wall after wall of paper file folders and watch the physician dig through the handwritten notes jammed into the folder. Anyway, if a vacation is a change of scenery, than maybe that is what I had, but it sure did not feel like it!
How about the Amazon cloud outages and Sony security exposures? Characterized by the headline in the Economist as: Break-ins and Breakdowns, it seems we are seeing more of these sorts of things almost weekly. Again, whether it is cloud or general platform selection, put your enterprise systems hat on and access the Service Level Agreement section, remember the decades of work to define qualities of service and non-functional requirements that Enterprise Systems represents when you think of moving workload. Just because you are used to it all being built in and there, does not mean it will be in a new environment unless you make sure of it!! (Yes, System z and Enterprise Systems work with cloud and are still the most secure....)
A final quick note, and a reflection of what I am sure we all do... as I was looking across the functional portfolio of our acquisitions, I thought to myself: what is Jeff Jonas of SRD doing these days?
Well, it turns out he is speaking at IDUG, infusing his solutions into ILOG and Infosphere portfolios, and still thinking hard about privacy, in stream analytics, applying these new ideas to IBM 'Smarter' solutions, and earlier this year talked about his G2 or sense-making project that came out. quietly back in January. He talks about it several places and there is a nice slide deck on Slideshare here. where he talks about the skunk works G2 project, sense-making and the larger picture of work he is doing with the deck entitled: Confessions of an Architect. This is good stuff around both advancing and controlling the next generation of analytics which, as he puts it, deals with Privacy and Performance, and is Smarter and More Responsible.
Did you miss the last months birthday? Yes, COBOL turned 50 last month. I could blather on about how there are 30 billion COBOL and CICS transactions a day, or how their are still well over 1 million COBOL programmers, or about how there may be as many as 5 trillion lines of COBOL code out there running there largest institutions. Instead, let's just say Happy Birthday, to this commercially oriented business object language and, like your grandpa, remember to give it some respect!
As a field architect, I have the opportunity to run into all kinds of customers and situations. This means I get to read all kinds of technology. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a closer look at one aspect of virtualization across our server platforms in IBM and found myself very encouraged in the direction we're going. You may recall last year at this time IBM announced, and later followed through on, the acquisition of the Transitive company.
About six months later, IBM announced PowerVM, which provided the capability to consolidate sets of applications across power systems (AI, IBM i, and Linux). This included the rapid deployment of workloads in partitions, and even the live transfer of running workloads. There's a lot of detail in features about the resource sharing, the implementation of micro-partitioning where you can have as many as 10 dynamic logical partitions per processor core and so on, but the exciting thing is to see the direction of virtualization and that concepts started on System z percolate down across other platforms. I recently heard about the impact at a conference where a video running out of a partition was moved across physical machines live on the conference floor -- who wouldn't like to have seen that?
Remembering how the i-series was moved to power systems, learning that Transitive helped move Apple systems across chipsets, and seeing examples everywhere of increased management and utilization of processor resources (such as the recent z/OS enhancement for zAAP eligible workload on zIIP engines), it just gets one itching to see the next result of that virtualization acquisition in Transitive!
Large systems, as represented today by System z shops around the world, has always led the way in applied technology across industries of finance, technology, commerce, and government. It has lead recent innovation waves , includinge-business, On Demand, SOA and Green technologies. On November 6, IBM's chairman, Sam, Palmisano, gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations as part of their corporate meetings program. The subject was introduced as proposing an increased infusion of intelligence into decision-making, but the larger issue addressed in this talk is an opportunity for leadership in the context of the current economic, financial, and political turmoil in the part technology plays in creating a smarter world.
Building on the concept of the Globally Integrated Enterprise, (see the 2006 paper), Sam talks about the window of opportunity leaders have to effect change in the current climate of receptiveness for change. Building on Tom Friedman’s observations about a flattened world in dire need of greener and more environmentally responsive approaches ( Hot Flat and Crowded and Tthe World Is Flat), he suggests the world also needs to be smarter and to accelerate the convergence between digital and physical infrastructures. Suggesting we move towards the future rather then hunkering down, Sam reminds us ofthe inspirational effects of taking action towards a hopeful future rather than trying to defend the past. (Something System z and large systems understands too well!)
Sam shares the current urgency to start by reviewing some arresting facts; such as how 40 to 70% of energy is wasted in poorly managedpower grids, how half of the world doesn't have sanitation facilities and one in five don't have safe water to drink. Or, how a large part of the recent financial crisis was due to a lack of mechanisms to track and manage the risk, and how huge opportunities exist in managing traffic, supply chains, and especially the health care systems. Then, he reminds us of our collective technologic progress;how our planet has almost a billion transistors/person (at a cost of one millionth of a cent each!), 4 billion cell phones, 2 billion Internet users, and 30 billion RFID tags. He shines a light on the pervasive use of sensors, connected and networked to provide a growing base of intelligence and capability; representing a potential for problem solving with a huge future potential.
In short, an emerging world is revealed that is digitally aware, and intelligent or smart. If growing these capabilities is possible, affordable, and can make a significant difference in our world, then someone will do it. Sam asks: Why shouldn't it be you, your company, your country? (And naturally, IBM has examples of involvement in many areas from MRI Coils to Solar Capacitors, from Trraffic and Power Grid Management to Risk Systems).
Talking about the importance of this moment in time, Sam summarizes saying :Everyone has to come out of their lanes. It will take collaboration across government, academia and industry; with skills that are multidisciplinary, and end-to-end. (Hey, a lot like architects!) To dig out of this current situation, will require a realization that we need to move forward and create an even smarter world. As one of the audience commented, citing Peter Drucker's paper (1994 The Age of Social Transformation):
There will be no "poor" countries. There will only be ignorant countries.
As part of the System z and large systems community, I think we will once again be on the leading edge of this next transformation as we become more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent; as we become a smarter world.
z Growing: In the recent z/Journal I noted some impressive numbers for growth as shared by Bob Thomas on the publisher's page. In just the fourth quarter of last year, MIPS grew by an amazing 58% (the highest growth in a decade) and sales grew by 70% in the same period. zEnterprise systems pushed over 450 shipments representing 1.5 million MIPS. Whoa... no editorializing needed there, right?
GUI GUI everywhere... I was talking with some folks in a session about the new interfaces for development (RDz and IDE vs ISPF and lovely green screens) and the enhancements with sysprog, sorry systems programmer, tools with z/OS Management Facility and it made me flash back to when, in the late 70s, we worked with a customer to demo a function where you could actually start to put customized screens in color on ISPF. It was a pretty exciting thing-- that unfortunately went nowhere between the novelty, customization, and the fact that despite multiple run throughs ahead of time, the demo ran into (ahem) unforeseen technical difficulties. BUT the point was just the idea of color something we all agreed would be nice someday. Heck, even the 3290 gas panel display with its pretty orange characters was enough variety to get many speculating. (I mean come on, color TV only broadcast around 1967, right?)
..and Smarter everywhere... This all made me think about how we are simultaneously getting further away from our systems while interacting with them more intensely all the time. With phones and iPads with touch screens the distance and links in the chain is longer than ever and yet the response and interaction is greater too. In a matter of minutes I have watched a demo where a CICS transaction gets enabled with EGL and modern tooling from Rational to expose a banking application on an iPhone. Between CICS events, Webshere process engines, and appliances like DataPower, or ILOG rules engines, the options for dynamic interactions in flight are now astounding. Change a business rule, a process, a partner or supplier and it is not 2 years of waterfall development and testing, it can be moments. It is not just intelligent and instrumented devices as part of a smarter planter that are interconnected, there has been a lot happening back at the old IT shop too! Don't forget those web transactions have at least as many CICS transactions to match them every day (around 30 Billion the last someone looked at it a few years ago). And yes, most of the data is still back home in the datacenter for enterprises-- and moving there more daily with private clouds too. So go and play, do real work, whatever.... don't worry, we (z and enterprise systems) got it covered behind the scenes.