zNextGen at SHARE

The zNextGen community for new mainframers is busy making preparations for the SHARE conference in Seattle, March 5-10.  Even if you're not attending SHARE, you can still get involved!  Check out the zNextGen website for more information: http://seattle.share.org/znextgen.  You'll find all the information you need for zNextGen registration at the bottom of the page.

Also, if you'd like to be the first kid on your block with a zNextGen sticker, send a note to Mike Todd at todd@us.ibm.com.  Offer good while supplies last!

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by Christopher Baran February 28, 2006
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Upgrading an old mainframe: sensible?

Here's an open question to Mainframe Blog readers: does it ever make sense to upgrade (specifically, to add a processor) to an "old" (5+ years) mainframe? Or is it a better idea to get a new model mainframe?

Be sure to consider both financial and technical implications in your answer. Discuss. :-)

by Timothy Sipples February 27, 2006
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Maybe migration wasn't such a good idea.....

From the Alabama Watch blog post, "Jefferson County Spends a Lot, Gets Almost Nothing:"

"The IT staff has ballooned with new Visual BASIC, Java and Oracle programmers, some of whom sit virtually idle, while 98% of the work is still being cranked out reliably and cheaply by the old mainframe system. The current IT budget is roughly 5 times what it was five years ago, only a small fraction of which is spent on the bread and butter mainframe system doing almost all the work."

by Timothy Sipples February 27, 2006
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Mainframe Magazine Reader Quotes

Coming up shortly, IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition (formerly eServer Magazine, Mainframe Edition) will be up for review by the powers that be in IBM. This is when IBM decides on the value of the magazines we produce. To help augment the presentation that will be given in New York, it would be helpful if some magazine readers outside of IBM would provide a very brief paragraph highlighting what they find valuable about the magazine. So, if any of you happen to receive the magazine, any feedback you could provide would be appreciated, either in the comments here, or at my e-mail address: rhodesr@us.ibm.com

Incidentally, awhile back I asked if any of you would be interested in helping me form a magazine reader board. I had two interested mainframers. Unfortunately, their e-mails were purged and I can't find their names. Yes, I'm THAT disorganized. Anyway, if those two interested people would raise their hand (or send an e-mail my way), that would be great. Additionally, I'm still open to other interested potential reader board members, so if that sounds like something you'd like to do, please let me know.

Thanks!

by Yossarian9 February 27, 2006
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Mainframe Momentum

...and to the naysayers, ServerWatch reports in "Hardware Today - Mainframes are Here to Stay:"

According to Gartner, the mainframe gained 16 percent of market share in the high-end server category since 2001. During the same period, more mainframe MIPS (millions of instructions per second) were shipped than in the previous 36 years.

by Timothy Sipples February 23, 2006
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Old and Getting Older

[Crossposted from The New Mainframe.] Part of my challenge in writing this blog is to provide enough meaningful information about why I'm in Japan without giving away sensitive IBM details. Please bear with me if I seem a little abstract in this update, but that's the reason.

Several days ago I mentioned that it's harmful to your business if you allow your IT infrastructure, including your mainframe, to deteriorate. Inertia can often be the most costly decision of all. One simple situation that everyone can understand is if a person is bleeding. Of course that person would seek a doctor immediately, understanding there will be costs. But the costs of inaction are far more dire: death is much more expensive.

The analogy is imperfect but valid. Let your mainframe age too much — get behind in your upgrades, hang onto old hardware too long, rely on unsupported middleware — and your business will suffer. You will pay more for software, maintenance, and support (if you can get it) every month. You will buy demonstrably more expensive computing solutions as your businesspeople desperately try to deliver new function, bypassing what you've neglected. You will bleed talented employees who will leave to work for a more progressive company. You will compete against businesses who have better technology and thus superior business functionality. You will actually experience more planned and unplanned outages with longer recovery times — newer hardware and software have substantial improvements in those areas. And you will risk compromising your customers' privacy because newer systems have better encryption facilities than older systems. Already one corporation which couldn't protect customers' privacy went out of business.

I guess it's no secret that the most technologically advanced industrialized country in the world, Japan, is struggling with this issue of aging IT infrastructure spectacularly and uniquely.

SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is part of the answer. SOA fosters reuse of IT assets so that your technical infrastructure can respond much more quickly and easily to changing business demands. It's also one of the few ways businesses and governments will be able to reduce their IT expenses over the long term while actually improving their capabilities. SOAs will only be successful if the mainframe provides services (the S in SOA) and hosts at least the major part of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). (The ESB is the core foundation of any moderately sized SOA.) Quite simply, if your mainframe is not the key ingredient in your SOA then you really don't have an SOA strategy.

Mainframes are as youthful as you want them to be, and they deliver the highest qualities of service for the lowest total costs per transaction. SOA means you can exploit your mainframe's abilities for maximum business advantage. You can bet at least one of your competitors has already figured out these facts.

by Timothy Sipples February 11, 2006 in Future
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