Christmas 2008 Potpourri

Ho Ho Ho, it's time for some Christmas cheer with the last Mainframe Potpourri of 2008:

  1. The University of South Carolina finds a new and extremely valuable tenant for its "Innovista" research campus: System z. "There is no better platform."
  2. An IT prognosticator in India lists his top 10 trends for 2009. #4: "Protection of the mainframe environment."
  3. The State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development signs a contract to move their data from IDMS to DB2, both on the mainframe. (So says BluePhoenix Solutions.) I wish the story had more details about the project's benefits. I tend to think most relational versus non-relational technical debates fail to illuminate. Quite simply, some data are well suited to one form, some the other. (XML, as it happens, is hierarchical.) But let's hope this project goes well.
  4. Out of Trinidad & Tobago comes news of "Unbeaten three-year-old Mainframe, who is seen as the biggest threat to Storm Street...." Unfortunately All for Java died of a heart attack.
  5. Tim O'Brien, Microsoft's senior director of the platform strategy group, says "There's a joke about how we had cloud computing since the 1960s and it was called the mainframe. There's some truth to that." Actually, Tim, it's no joke, and System z already is the pinnacle of cloud computing capability. Increasing numbers of people are wondering why all the hype. Such as this guy.
  6. In the contest for the "stupidest misconception about the mainframe" we have a new entrant from Sacramento: "...All communications had to be encrypted which would have been impossible with the previous mainframe-based system." Oh, come on, did someone really write that about one of the few machines that actually has built-in cryptographic processing circuitry and which pioneered it in the 1970s? Which most of the world's very cryptographic-intensive financial services industry relies on? Yes, somebody wrote that. Fact: direct-to-mainframe network encryption is a standard feature of mainframe operating systems and has been for years, going on decades.
  7. Robert Crawford suggests some improvements to the IBM mainframe.
  8. "'Let me make sure I get this on the record,' said IBM Senior Vice President and Group Executive, Systems & Technology Group, Robert Moffat in an interview with ChannelWeb. 'The stuff that Mr. Hurd said was going away kicked his ass: Z Series [mainframe hardware] outgrew anything that he sells. [IBM] Power [servers] outgrew anything that he sells. So he didn't gain share despite the fact that we screwed up execution in [x86 Intel-based server] X Series....'" Reminder to HP: don't fib.
  9. Testing tool vendor Original Software added better 3270 support to their product, and "The response astonished us," says the company CEO.
  10. How'd you like to become a Regional Sales Manager for mainframe and distributed software, based in Saudi Arabia? Dust off your resume.
  May you and your family enjoy the holidays, and may we all see peace and prosperity in 2009.

by Timothy Sipples December 24, 2008
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Think Again

IBM is encouraging customers and policymakers to think more carefully about the choices they make in such diverse areas as electricity generation and distribution and....shipping frozen chickens and fresh carrots?!?! Yes indeed....

Our planet faces serious challenges. Information technology — yes, including mainframes — must rise to solve increasingly complex optimization problems. Sure, it's marketing, but the message is both serious and exciting for IT people like me. IT itself, poorly optimized, can negatively impact the planet. Certainly this blog has raised the point repeatedly that mainframes help slash data center energy costs like nothing else, and (some) IT people need to get past their prejudices and start implementing more mainframes and fewer servers averaging 5% busy. (And application and information architects need to stop sitting on the sidelines and actively help optimize data centers by making energy-sensitive architectural decisions. Infrastructure does matter a lot and must not be an afterthought.)

But it's not just about energy, and it's not only about the data center. For example, why does our planet still waste up to 50% of food? Why are we still supplying full power to vacant homes and offices? Why are over 40,000 Americans still dying every year in car accidents?

Let's solve some of these problems. We have the technology. What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for?

UPDATE: Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors, just released a study which evaluated 63 companies in the technology, consumer products, leisure, and drug sectors. They looked at corporate environmental policies, including focus on averting climate change. The #1 company? IBM. Tesco, Dell, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike round out the top 6.

by Timothy Sipples December 8, 2008 in Innovation
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