Evangelizing Mainframe
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Balog: In a New Era of IT, zEnterprise is Ready

Self-proclaimed “infrastructure guy,” Doug Balog, IBM System z GM, proclaimed a new era of IT on Feb. 5 during the SHARE in San Francisco conference’s keynote, titled “Smarter Computing in an Era of IT.”

Doug-Balog-low-res-(1).jpgAfter 29 years with IBM, including involvement in storage, x86, blades and mainframe, Balog said, “I’ve accepted I’m an infrastructure guy, I like infrastructure, and I’m excited about it.”

“It’s a new era in IT,” he told the audience, “and it’s going to affect every one of you.”

Today, CEO’s see IT at the forefront of what they need to accomplish their business goals; and that’s a fundamental change, he noted.

Social business and mobile computing are changing the market. For example, people who use mobile banking are also using their devices to engage on social media. “So if a bank’s mobile app goes down, people are immediately using their smart device to bash the bank,” he explained.

For mainframe professionals, the three key technology areas are analytics, security and cloud computing. “Smarter computing involves the way the infrastructure supports the Smarter Planet,” Balog noted. “Is it data ready, cloud ready and security ready?”

About operation data and analytics, he said, “System z is made for data. Want to know where the truth is, it’s on System z.” With Netezza technology and the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) organizations can perform faster analytics on that data without the extra step of moving the data to a separate database, which costs time and money. It can reduce queries from hours to seconds, Balog added.

On the subject of availability and security, he said pointed to the IBM zEnterprise System’s “integrated by design” approach, enabling intrinsic security that’s deep in the stack—processors, middleware, compilers, etc. “You can’t do what we do with x86. You can’t do what we do with System z.”

Regarding cloud, Balog summed it up with one line: “System z was a cloud before cloud was a word. It was virtualized from the get go.” As a result, it’s been an agile—if sometimes overlooked—cloud platform for more than 30 years.

Turning to common mainframe misconceptions, he addressed some myths about the decline in System z as well. Among other points, he noted:

• System z revenues grew 56 percent in fourth quarter of 2012, part of a three-year trend that started in 2009.
• That quarter saw a record number of MIPS in mainframe’s 49-year history.
• More than 180 new clients have joined the System z community since 2010, one third of those form growth areas like Brazil, Russia, China and India.
• IBM has sold more than 220 zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) boxes, which is a faster adoption rate than Linux on System z following it’s initial introduction.
• More than 1,000 universities worldwide have joined the IBM Academic Initiative and are teaching mainframe skills. “Can’t find talent? All you need to do is hire them. Colleges are in the business of producing skills. If you need them, they’ll produce them.”

Based on the evidence, “It’s a viable platform now and in the future,” he added.

Looking to that future, Balog outlined a few of the Feb. 5 zEnterprise announcements made during SHARE, including a set of signature solutions built specifically for certain industries, such as government and banking.

• The IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities
• IBM Smarter Infrastructure for Social Services—Curam on zEnterprise
• IBM Smarter Analytics Anti-Fraud Infrastructure
• IBM Smarter Analytics for Retail
• IBM Enterprise Key Management Foundation

He also noted two previews for z/OS V2.1 and z/VM V6.3.

And that’s enough to get any infrastructure guy excited.

Mike Westholder is site editor of Destinationz.org.

Posted: 2/12/2013 12:01:01 AM by Mike Westholder

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