EMC VMware Needs a Mainframe

Somebody stole VMware's source code — the company's most valuable (really only) trade secret — and it showed up on the Internet. I guess that's one way to open source your product.

Oh, the irony!

For the record, I think VMware is a reasonably good product for what it does — although there are plenty of fine X86 virtualization solutions, like KVM — but mainframes are different and special. It's the combination of hardware and software, focused by design on the same goals and outcomes, that matters. (See also: Apple.)

by Timothy Sipples April 25, 2012 in Security
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STASH: A "Skunkworks" Project for Secure Clients?

Joe Clabby reports on a (formerly) secret project to use IBM mainframes for virtual hosting of secure desktop environments. It's a fascinating read.

by Timothy Sipples April 23, 2012 in Analysts, Future, Innovation, Security
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Significant Changes in the z/OS Release Schedule

IBM is moving to a biennial release schedule for z/OS, a good move in my view. Here are some highlights:

  • IBM plans to introduce new z/OS releases every two years. The idea is that z/OS users will have more time to exploit new z/OS functions and spend less time installing and testing release upgrades.
  • IBM is increasing the standard support period for z/OS releases from 3 to 5 years.
  • IBM is also increasing the fee-based extended support period from 2 to 3 years.
  • The next release of z/OS will also be a new version: z/OS 2.1. This new version will require a System z9 or higher since it will exploit newer processor instructions.
  • There are going to be more Web-delivered enhancements between releases, which isn't surprising.
  • As another corollary, there will be more enhancements in each new z/OS release.

As long as z/OS users don't simply "slow down," I like this new release schedule. It should make life simpler for software vendors, too.

by Timothy Sipples April 11, 2012 in z/OS
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IBM PureSystems: Simple Is Good

IBM officially unveils its new PureSystems today. With it, simplification takes a big step forward.

Enterprise applications and their interdependencies have become extremely complicated: hard to deploy, hard to manage, hard to scale, and impossible to secure. IBM is really working overtime to tame that complexity. Do take a close look.

Keep in mind that if you've got a zEnterprise server, with its Unified Resource Manager, you're already taming complexity like nothing else. For instance, IBM PureSystems initially support 4 operating environments across 2 processor architectures in harmony, which is a tremendous accomplishment. With zEnterprise you've got 8+ across 3+. (I'm using plus symbols because it depends on how you count, but 8 and 3 are the minimum counts.) In other words, IBM PureSystems are part of a continuum, and your zEnterprise server leads the way. It's extremely likely you'll want some of both in your data center.

So that's my instant reaction, with more comments to follow no doubt. What do you think? What are your most urgent issues?

by Timothy Sipples April 11, 2012 in Cloud Computing, Innovation, Systems Technology
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Utah Department of Health Needs a Mainframe

Hackers, perhaps from Eastern Europe, stole the personal details of over 24,000 of Utah's Medicaid beneficiaries from a "server" operated by the Utah Department of Technology Services.

DTS has an "interesting" perspective: "The health department uses 125 of the state’s 520 servers.... 'We pride ourselves on our lean government.'" Those numbers are certainly not "lean" if you have mainframes. Raise your hand if you have 520 or even 125 mainframes. Oh, and I seriously doubt the State of Utah has 520 servers. Those are only the ones DTS knows about, and maybe not even that. For example, I doubt it includes servers at Utah's public universities.

The Utah DTS spokesperson goes on to imply that the solution to secure all those "lean" servers is...to hire more IT staff.

by Timothy Sipples April 8, 2012 in Security
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