U.S. Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Infosys

The Register reports on a new class action lawsuit filed against Infosys in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that Infosys practices employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin.

I have no idea whether the lawsuit has merit or not. That said, in my view Infosys is going to have a tough time explaining how the demographic makeup of its U.S.-based workforce is not prima facie evidence of widespread employment discrimination in the U.S.

Let be clear on a couple points, though. First, I'm a huge supporter of workforce diversity. Organizations are stronger and more effective, in my experience, when they have workforces consisting of talented individuals with the broadest possible range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. If the lawsuit is correct, that description does not apply to today's Infosys in the U.S.

The other point I would make is one I've made before on a few occasions in different ways. IT choices have great and growing impact on total staffing levels and costs. As businesses continue to try to find ways to reduce costs — or to further pad their profits if you prefer — they will continue naturally focusing on labor costs. This relentless business behavior is a major public policy challenge among other things. Like most countries, particularly among developed economies, the U.S. expects employers to follow a few rules to support some limited public policy objectives. Unemployment insurance is one example among many.

In general, organizations which are taking advantage of mainframe technology, especially new mainframe technologies, have strong, highly labor-efficient IT infrastructures. Yes, that infrastructure requires some competent, experienced individuals who command reasonable salaries and workplace comforts (and should). Greater overall business efficiency and better service qualities are never free. Unfortunately there are many organizations that are not taking advantage of these mainframe-unique efficiencies and that are trying to cope with escalating staffing requirements to manage sprawling IT infrastructure that's increasingly getting out of control. As those cost pressures further mount there will be too many individuals and companies that try to bend or break the rules such as important labor laws.

Maybe I just described Infosys and its behavior, or maybe not. The plaintiffs have to prove their case, and it's not particularly hard to file a lawsuit. I'll be watching this case and other, similar workplace developments to see what they portend for the future of IT employment in the U.S. and elsewhere.

by Timothy Sipples August 6, 2013 in Current Affairs, People
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New Mainframe Thinking at Canada's Department of National Defence

John Palmer pens an interesting article about the Canadian military's approach to enterprise computing in a publication aimed at government purchasing departments. DND's new IBM mainframes are vital in reducing costs for taxpayers, and they're also extremely well suited to Canada's new shared services approach to computing. They also happen to be rock solid reliable and secure — rather important attributes to a military organization.

by Timothy Sipples May 10, 2012 in Economics, People
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Forbes: "Kids See a Future in Mainframes"

Forbes has published an interesting article about the educational and career opportunities in mainframe computing. Here's a short excerpt:

Quawan Smith, who took [Professor] Dischiave’s course [on mainframe computing], now works at J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the underwriters of the Syracuse [University] program. Smith sees himself evolving over time into the networking side of things, but he found the course and its related lab a real eye opener. “There’s a perception in the tech industry that the mainframe is being replaced,” he says. “But that’s not the case.”

Smith will be cycled through a two-year training program at J.P. Morgan Chase, get a mainframe certification, and then work as technical staff. He’ll then have opportunities to move to other teams within the company. “You can make a pretty decent living,” he says, noting that he is able to cover the rent on an apartment in New York City. How many other 22-year-olds can say that?

How many 82-year-olds can say that?

by Timothy Sipples January 31, 2012 in People
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About Former IBM CEO John R. Opel

John Opel, IBM's CEO from January, 1981, to January, 1985, died at the age of 86. The New York Times, in its obituary, notes that Opel managed the introduction of the System/360 in 1964.

Opel presided over IBM during one of its most prosperous periods. The IBM employees who knew him and with whom I've spoken remember him fondly. Part of that memory is undoubtedly colored by the fact that IBM cut its workforce by almost half a few years after Opel's tenure as CEO. It didn't help that IBM agreed to Microsoft's licensing terms in 1981. The rest, as they say, is history.

by Timothy Sipples November 5, 2011 in People
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In Memoriam: Steve Jobs

T_hero
Photo © 2011 Apple Incorporated

Steve Jobs passed away earlier today (U.S. time) at his home in California at the age of 56. There's so much to say about Jobs and his impact, but I would like to highlight his significant impact on mainframe computing, specifically.

I "met" Steve Jobs once, in 1988. I might have shook his hand — Steve's famous reality distortion field might have warped my memory, though. Jobs was then the CEO of NeXT, a company he started after he left Apple. (Several years later Apple bought out NeXT, and Jobs returned to lead Apple.) I was lucky to be invited to the unveiling of NeXT's first computer, the NeXT "cube," at NeXT's event in Boston aimed primarily at the area's huge academic community.

Even by then, Jobs had perfected his technology solution stage show. I was seriously impressed with the thinking behind the NeXT cube. Jobs and his NeXT colleagues saw several unsolved marketplace problems and went about trying to craft a unique computing solution to address those unmet needs. As it turned out, NeXT was Apple's incubator, and way back in 1988 Steve Jobs foreshadowed what would come — what he would cause to come to the marketplace, actually. The $6,500 NeXT cube (university discounted price, 1989 dollars) was too expensive for most individual students, but Jobs explained that each student could carry his/her whole computing experience in a (large) pocket, sharing a NeXT-equipped lab. The NeXT machine could read and write huge (for the time) optical disks which could hold the operating system and an entire undergraduate education's worth of information. Arguably that was a cloud computing — or even mainframe service bureau — concept, reborn and adjusted for the technology limitations of the time. But that idea of computing presaged the iPhone and iPad, too. NeXT also featured Display Postscript, a reflection of Steve's tireless focus on making sure his products always looked their best. That focus was later manifest in his work at Pixar and in such technologies as the iPhone 4's "retina display." But in 1988, Display Postscript, even on a grayscale display, was seriously radical stuff. And there was UNIX, which served as the NeXT's operating system. But it wasn't an ugly, hard-to-use UNIX. It was the progenitor to Apple's Mac OS X and iOS, and NeXT engineers had worked hard to make sure the software was polished and approachable. They mostly succeeded at that time, and of course they've been wildly successful after Apple adopted most of those NeXT-incubated technologies.

NeXT was born almost exactly at the same time the Web was born, at CERN. History records that a NeXT machine was the very first Web server in the world. (One of Stanford's IBM mainframes was the second — and Stanford's mainframe also served the first Web application with dynamic content.) Maybe the Web would have been born without NeXT, maybe later, maybe differently, or maybe not at all. However, the birth and explosive growth of the Web has resulted in renewed interest and growth in mainframe computing generally (i.e. "host computing," "cloud computing," etc.), and IBM mainframe computing in particular. I think NeXT was the point in his career when Steve Jobs first understood the balance between personal computing and shared, networked computing. Apple's products continued to be intensely personal, but they also led (and continue to lead) the market in terms of community-building and service delivery. For example, the iPod is a great media player, but the iTunes Music Store was the key breakthrough that made the iPod a must-have. And the iTunes Music Store sure resembles a mainframe in many ways, although it's the combination that's magic.

I've also heard a lot of reports from banks, in particular, wondering why their carefully prepared five-year mainframe transaction volume forecasts are not accurate. Answer: smartphones, and particularly the iPhone, are generating more transactions (and associated batch processing) volumes. Thank you Steve Jobs for that.

Finally, I'm quite sure Steve Jobs spurred many IBM employees and managers to get off their butts, to stop living off the past, and to innovate. IBM's near-death experience in the late 1980s and early 1990s almost coincided with Apple's. Those two companies are more alike than most people realize. I think Steve Jobs realized it, though. Apple and IBM collaborated on a number of technologies, some with success and some not. Their business models are quite similar, even though they don't compete at all. Both companies are continually trying to figure out what unmet needs (and desires) the marketplace has and then, using unique technologies and packaging, to bring real solutions to market to address those needs. They don't try to be the cheapest, but they always try to provide maximum value-for-money. So let's always keep innovating.

Thanks, Steve.

by Timothy Sipples October 5, 2011 in People
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HP's Board Ousted CEO, Whitman Named (Updated)

Original Post: The Wall Street Journal (via The Australian) reports that Hewlett-Packard's board of directors met last night (September 21, U.S. time) to discuss firing current CEO Leo Apotheker. Apotheker began his tenure only in November, 2010.

During Apotheker's short tenure, HP's stock price fell 45 percent. But since rumors of Apotheker's possible departure started swirling earlier this week, HP's stock has rebounded by 10%.

HP is clearly a company in turmoil. The Itanium Meltdown is one big reason, and so is HP's restructuring.

In my view it's perfectly rational for prospective HP customers to hold off purchases (or consider alternatives) while there's so much uncertainty about HP's ability and williness to invest in particular businesses — and even uncertainty about what businesses HP will pursue and not pursue. That's particularly true in a tough global economic environment. I think Apotheker had some good ideas that might have fixed HP 5 or 10 years ago. He is significantly overpaying to acquire the wrong software company (Autonomy), but HP's board had to sign off on that deal and shares the blame. His execution could have been much more graceful, especially with the PC and tablet businesses. (The "we're getting out, but we're not sure how, except we're sure the HP brand won't go with it" announcement for their PC business was bizarre and disturbing.) When Oracle singlehandedly mooted HP's Itanium server business, Apotheker should have struck a deal with IBM along the lines I outlined previously. And Apotheker hasn't addressed how HP will move to where the market will be in 5 or 10 years.

On the bright side, HP still has lots of pricey printer ink to sell.

UPDATE #1: HP's board may name ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman as the new CEO. Whitman joined HP's board after her losing California gubernatorial campaign in which she spent $140 million of her own money and still lost by over 11 percentage points. That's despite the fact her party won the majority of races in the same 2010 election.

UPDATE #2: New HP CEO Meg Whitman talks with reporters.

by Timothy Sipples September 22, 2011 in Current Affairs, People
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Brief News Roundup for Mid-August, 2011

Here are some interesting mainframe-related stories from around the world:

  1. ComputerWeekly interviews 18-year old Danish mainframe engineer John Prehn.
  2. Data Center Journal reports on "Big Iron Today: The State of Mainframes." Answer: The state is excellent.
  3. T3 Technologies, TurboHercules, and Neon Software Enterprises have withdrawn their complaint lodged with the European Union's antitrust authorities against IBM. T3 and Neon both lost U.S. court cases against IBM earlier this year.
  4. The Wall Street Journal writes: "Behind the Youthful Sales Surge for IBM Mainframes."
  5. Aptly named Micro Focus is looking for a white knight. Meanwhile, Compuware and BMC beat earnings estimates.

by Timothy Sipples August 15, 2011 in Cloud Computing, Current Affairs, People
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A Century for IBM, Half a Century for Bob

IBM celebrates its official centennial this week on Thursday, June 16. By sheer coincidence — or with impressive planning! — Robert Neidig celebrates 50 years of service to IBM on the same day. Bob now serves as the Program Director for the System z Project Office, focusing on mainframe sales in Asia. His first day at IBM was June 16, 1961. I have absolutely no memory of that day because I was several years away from being born, and that was also about four years before first shipments of the IBM System/360 machines. In other words, that was a long time ago.

The Mainframe Blog congratulates Bob on his 50 years of IBM service and his contributions to the IT industry. We also wish him the best in his next 50 years. And if you've seen Bob or worked with him, you know that's the least we can expect.

by Timothy Sipples June 15, 2011 in People
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Oklahoma Considering IT Consolidation

Meet Alex Pettit, the State of Oklahoma's new CIO. He has uncovered some apparent inefficiencies in the way the state government delivers IT services.

For example, Oklahoma currently has 7 mainframes. If Oklahoma consolidated onto a couple of new z196 machines, they could probably run more efficiently. That sounds like a good idea, actually, but my advice to Mr. Pettit would be: why stop there? Keep consolidating the thousands of other servers you have onto those same zEnterprise machines. Perhaps he's already thought of that since he cites a figure of $100 million for consolidation, which I assume includes more than just relocating some LPARs.

IBM achieved a greater than 100 to 1 reduction in its own mainframe consolidation project, called "Project Big Green." IBM moved thousands of small servers onto just a few mainframes. IBM's "w3" intranet runs on mainframes, as a notable example. Oklahoma could easily do the same thing and achieve similar cost efficiencies.

Pettit also wondered why his state has 32 different circuits (contracted separately) for connecting its computer systems. That's a lot of duplicated cost, and reducing his state's network to two major network links, centrally managed, would reduce costs and improve network resiliency for everyone.

Good luck, Mr. Pettit, and please keep the public informed of your progress.

by Timothy Sipples April 14, 2011 in People
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A Future Mainframer

Sometimes the simplest phenomena are the funniest, as this adorable future mainframer demonstrates in this video:

I had exactly the same reaction when HP reinvented thousands of years of mathematics, declaring that smaller numbers are actually greater than bigger numbers.

by Timothy Sipples March 2, 2011 in Future, People
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Introducing the System z Job Board

Are you looking for mainframe-related employment? Or are you seeking mainframe-related professionals? Visit the new System z Job Board at SystemzJobs.com, sponsored by the IBM Academic Initiative.

by Timothy Sipples January 30, 2011 in People
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Home Again, At Last

I have been a little too quiet lately here on The Mainframe Blog, but I'm back in action now. I lived in Tokyo for over 4 years, but unfortunately I had to leave in early February. After a couple months of homelessness, I moved into my new home in Singapore. Now that I'm a little more settled, I can do some more blogging.

IBM's Continued Push into Business Intelligence

While I was on hiatus, I notice that IBM announced the Smart Analytics System 9600. The "9600" is a preconfigured System z10 (virtual LPAR or physical), plus DB2 for z/OS and associated software (such as Cognos for System z), that provides, well, smart analytics and business intelligence capabilities. It's packaged like an appliance. IBM shows up at your doorstep and gets it all up and running, ready to use. Of course this BI solution offers the most amazing qualities of service, and forget everything you ever thought about mainframe pricing. IBM has priced the whole kit to fly off the shelves, with a simple and aggressive multi-year bottom-line price. Just tell IBM how big you want your warehouse to be (in terabytes) and how many concurrent users you expect, and IBM will figure out the sizing and quote you a sweet price. Whether you already have a mainframe or not, you qualify.

Business intelligence and data warehousing are now mission-critical for most businesses and governments. This Smart Analytics System 9600 is a terrific answer to many pressing BI problems. And you don't have to do any work to justify "total cost of ownership." IBM has made it very easy: the price is truly market competitive. So if you can get business intelligence champagne on a beer budget, why not? The Smart Analytics System 9600 starts shipping on June 15.

Is There a "Mainframe Monopoly"?

That's easy: heck no! What an absurd notion. Unless you want to claim that Apple has a monopoly in Apple Macintosh computers, and BMW has a monopoly in BMW 3 series vehicles. Take a walk around any data center and see if you can spot the monopoly. Groklaw has some interesting reporting on the latest nonsense here:

Wanted: Top Mainframe Mistakes

I'm planning a series of posts describing the top "mainframe mistakes." But I'd like your help. Please post a comment explaining what you see as the top mistakes people make when it comes to (mis)managing their mainframes. What are the worst architectural mistakes? The most boneheaded and misguided IT policies affecting mainframes? The most awful chargeback schemes, most pitiful security practices, and worst decisions about what workloads to move on or off the mainframe? I'm inviting you to unload your frustrations and nominate the worst of the worst practices that you think merit particular attention as top mainframe mistakes. Thanks in advance for your help.

by Timothy Sipples April 15, 2010 in People
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How Much Do Architects Need to Know About Mainframes?

David Stephens asks an interesting question and tries to answer it. I find a lot to agree with in his article — and I might also have a few quibbles. Example: z/OS (which I assume the author meant) is exactly UNIXTM. It is much more, too, of course.

There's a certain expectation that IT architects have superhuman talent, and I hesitate to pile onto the "architects need to know more to be competent" bandwagon too much. However, to expand on David's article a bit, I observe many IT architects struggling with cost and economic factors. Or, more strongly, I see many totally botching it, designing solutions with a weak grasp of true total costs. I have been fortunate to work with some smart people who understand IT cost patterns to an exceptional degree, and I have become a much better architect working with them. I would encourage other architects to seek out similar experiences.

by Timothy Sipples November 11, 2009 in People
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U.S. Air Force Mainframer Celebrates 50 Years of Service

Congratulations to Jerry Chalker, who celebrated 50 years of service to the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command. Chalker works at Robins Air Force Base near Macon, Georgia. According to the article, Chalker has been a computer technician for 50 years. "As technology accelerated, Chalker stayed on the cutting edge, working with mainframe computers instead of punchcards."

Chalker currently writes software to encrypt classified documents and communications, and he says his 2009 work is quite similar to his 1959 work, when he was paid $1.58 per hour: "We had an input and we had an output and we have the same thing today. It’s just done faster."

"Chalker has been eligible to retire with full pension and benefits for the past 15 years. In reading a brief biography of Chalker, Chief Master Sgt. Kathy Gregory had a bit of news for the Air Force Reserve Command staff. 'Mr. Chalker has no immediate plans to retire,' she said. The office instantly broke into cheers."

by Timothy Sipples October 16, 2009 in People
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EMC Cofounder Richard Egan Dies

Richard Egan, cofounder of EMC Corp., died Sunday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a long battle with cancer and other illnesses. He was 73.

Egan was the "E" in EMC which he helped found in 1979. The company started as a memory board supplier for DEC, Wang, and IBM mainframes and minicomputers. Egan helped pivot EMC into a broader array of storage products, including especially disk storage. Many IBM mainframe customers bought (and continue to buy) EMC's well-respected storage products. Egan's company eventually became Massachusetts's largest high technology employer. After retiring from EMC in 2001 Egan served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

The Mainframe Blog extends its condolences to Richard Egan's family and many friends, including Maureen (his wife of 52 years), his five children, and his 15 grandchildren.

by Timothy Sipples September 7, 2009 in People
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Share Your Comments on SHARE

SHARE holds its big conference this week in beautiful Denver, Colorado. It's one of the biggest mainframe-focused conferences in the world and arguably the most enjoyable. (But there are plenty of seminars on a broad range of IT topics.)

Are you attending this SHARE? Learn anything new and interesting? See anything particularly impressive in the exhibit hall? Did you see any old friends or make any new ones? Consider this an open thread to post your comments.

by Timothy Sipples August 24, 2009 in People
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Q&A Teleconference for z/OS Associate Certificate Program

You are invited to learn more !

If you or other colleagues in your organization are interested in the Marist z/OS Certificate program, please join us for a brief telephone discussion describing our Spring 2009 Enterprise Computing z/OS Certificate program.

Where & When
Date: January 15th-Thursday
Time: 12:00pm to 1:00 pm (EST)
Call in US#: 1-888-469-0495
International: 1-210-795-2680
Passcode: 63893

You will have a chance to ask questions and learn about various aspects of the program:

  • content and delivery
  • participation and companies represented
  • success and testimonials
  • enrollment/application process
  • tuition information
  • history of the program

Please RSVP by Wednesday, January 14, 2009 via email to: roberta.diggins@marist.edu

Please forward this invitation to other prospective participants. Thank you!

by JimPorell January 9, 2009 in People
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Come Together

by Timothy Sipples November 24, 2008 in People
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HP attacking the mainframe? Like a car vs. a truck

Well, HP is at it again. They are making more generalities about IBM’s venerable mainframe to scare customers off that platform. Check their facts and sources, though and you’ll find that something’s rotten in

Palo   Alto

. Their comparisons are just not realistic. In this note, I’ll be giving you some consolidation efforts that IBM has seen with its customers.

 

Before we get into that, though, let’s do a quick comparison benchmark to establish a baseline. Let’s compare a four passenger Mini Cooper car Minicooper to a two passenger Freight liner truck cabTruck . Benchmark 1: which is cheaper to commute to work in? Pretty obvious, but I’ll vote for the car. Especially given gas price vs. diesel now…the car is the “green” solution. Benchmark 2: We want to move the contents of our house. Most people would say the truck, but they’d be wrong. We need to accessorize and add a trailer to each vehicle. Now the Mini happens to put the tailpipe right in the middle of the car on many of their models. Why? You’d have to be a moron to put a trailer on their car. As for the truck, with a large enclosed trailer, you can put all kinds of materials in it. In fact, you might even put a couple of the Mini’s inside. So we’ve just proven that with the right benchmark, either solution is appropriate. But benchmarks aren’t reality either. Most people will move their family in the car and outsource to a shipping company to move the contents of their house. So continuing that analogy, there is no one computer that will solve all of a business’ problems, neither a mainframe nor a PC server will do the job by themselves. It’s all about collaboration and using the best servers for the right jobs.

 

So let’s get back to HP’s claims. I’m a little confused by Robert Frances Group claims right now. In the HP quoted report, they say you get less electricity and floor space with a PC server than you do with a mainframe. I’ve never seen a mainframe that only ran a single workload. Most of them will have transaction processing, batch, interactive, query and decision support running all at the same time. It’s true that you can take one workload off of a mainframe and run it on a PC server and then compare that PC server to a mainframe. The data might actually be real, but as information, it is “incredible”. A single PC server may be smaller than a mainframe and use less electricity (The car). But no single PC server is going to be comparable to a mainframe running multiple workloads. In fact, RFG published a paper in which they said a mainframe will use 3% of the electricity of a comparable PC server cluster attempting to accomplish the same workload. It will also use a fraction of the floor space. (The Truck). But don’t believe me….here’s exactly what they said:

 

RFG believes mainframe computing platforms have many of the characteristics that will ameliorate, if not eliminate, the current challenges data center managers face with power and cooling. First, mainframe power consumption and heat characteristics are, for many companies, the most efficient servers in the data center. This is true in an absolute sense, where the energy per square foot is lower than any data center system measured by our clients. More significantly, this is massively true in a relative sense, when comparing power used per transaction. On a total workload throughput basis, mainframe system power consumption is almost negligible when compared with distributed systems on a power per transaction basis. As power and cooling costs continue to rise, IT executives should reevaluate mainframe computers total cost and overall value in reducing data center operations costs.

Quote used with permission of Robert Francis Group.

 

So who are you going to believe? RFG or RFG? Well, in the HP cited paper, RFG just republished the results of a report done by HP. So don’t throw RFG under the bus. Just understand that it’s HP’s low quality and misleading information at work, once again.

 

As for the Alinean update, it’s a single workload in each example. And in them, they talk about the SAP application server. But what about the database server? Typically, if the application server is on z, the database server is in DB2 for z/OS. Did that move too? The labor costs for System z appear to be much higher than the norm for a business. The report discusses the price of an older mainframe and again, some incredible Software license charges. But what if SAP was added to a newer mainframe? How would that have compared in this report? What if it was added to an existing, newer mainframe, what would the incremental charges be as compared to net new computing servers?

 

HP mentions the BART system avoiding 50% of their paycheck errors. Wow…that sounds like a big number. They went to Peoplesoft, from what I guess was a homegrown application that was running on a mainframe…at least that’s what HP wants you to believe. So it sounds like the BART people are better running trains than they are at writing programs? I doubt it. That wouldn’t be fair to the hard working people at BART. But remember, if there are two paycheck errors a month and it goes down to one paycheck error a month, that’s a 50% reduction as well. (The Car). So sometimes the big numbers quoted are really just a meaningless indicator to scare you into thinking something else. How many errors a month was BART really seeing? I don’t know and neither do you based on HP's comments.

 

So let’s talk about something I do know about….consolidations of servers are occurring and System z has been a great place to do that. Nationwide and DGTI are two examples.

IBM has published a paper on SAP consolidation capabilities on System z. The HP press release described a customer that had mainframes and Windows servers. By eliminating the mainframe, they had a common skill set based on Windows. But how real is a customer with a single computing infrastructure? Maybe for relatively small customers, but not with larger ones. RENFE is the Spanish national rail agency. Prior to its reorganization into the two new operating companies, RENFE was composed of 18 separate business units, each with its own intranet system running various line of business applications. These included human resources systems, helpdesk applications and various internal communication portals. To drive better integration across the business and improve process efficiency, RENFE made a strategic decision to create a single information portal for all employees and that was based on System z.

 

IBM is eating its own cooking by consolidating many of it’s thousands of application and database servers onto System z. But that’s not the whole story either. They are also consolidating some onto System p and some onto System x. In each case, IBM is looking at underutilized stand alone servers, the baseline for the PC server marketplace and leveraging virtualization technologies to get a large reduction in physical server images. IBM is putting the right workload in the right place that makes sense for the business environment. (The Trucks).

 

We see constant examples of taking 100’s of underutilized standalone PC servers and consolidating through virtualization down to 10’s of higher utilized PC or RISC servers or individual mainframe servers. In each case, the customers are saving substantially on labor, environmental and capital costs. HP will tell you that 100’s to 10’s is good enough.

IBM mainframes, though, can get that down to single digits in many cases.

 

Look at HP’s Brazilian Navy example. A lot of folks may perceive that a mainframe could never go on a Battleship, Aircraft carrier, early warning aircraft or other military location. Well, those folks would be wrong. Today’s modern mainframe, the System z, going as far back as the zSeries z800 processor meets or exceeds the electrical, floor space, ambient temperature, humidity, air pressure and vibration specifications necessary to satisfy the locations in which those servers may be deployed. See page 12 to view a subset of these specifications. In addition, it provides operational redundancy built into the hardware architecture and operating systems that exceeds the availability requirements necessary to satisfy those particular business needs. And with its open programming models, including Java, J2EE, C/C++, in addition to the venerable COBOL and PL/I capabilities, it provides a hosting environment to capture those programming needs.

 

In fact, development belongs on the desktop. The most creativity and tooling is possible in that desktop and you can reboot the system at will to test your applications. IBM’s Rational Developer for System z (RDz) and Rational Team Concert suites provide an Integrated Development Environment that can leverage the simplicity of the open programming environment through its Eclipse.org tool base, but easily apply those skills and knowledge to mainframe application deployment. You want mainframe development skills? You have them in your hands already. Get the tools and put those people to work.

 

One of the principals of the mainframe has always been that the operating system, middleware and hardware are responsible for data locking, security, system resilience, storage management and capacity management. This enables multiple workloads to operate as individual processes and maintain the integrity of the system and the data. On other platforms, it’s typically the application that is responsible for many of these characteristics. In order to achieve these qualities of service, additional products must be acquired and additional code may have to be written by application developers to deliver these qualities. The point of this all is that a business might actually reduce the amount of code necessary to achieve their business objectives if it was targeted for deployment on System z and reduce their operational risk at the same time. To summarize this point, it can be the same code from distributed systems in a mainframe operational container and deliver superior operational performance. Same code, different container with superior operations model.

 

So this started by pointing out inaccuracies in the HP press release. How can a business use that information? Well, maybe to buy an individual compute server, that information may be helpful (The Car). But looking at an enterprise that needs to satisfy multiple business needs, it doesn’t appear too helpful at all (The Truck). They use Apples to compare to

Oranges

. Customers continue to grow their compute power on IBM mainframes. New problems are being solved in creative ways, leveraging the best of the mainframe in collaboration with other systems. Like RENFE, get on board the IBM mainframe.

 

 

by JimPorell November 12, 2008 in Economics, Innovation, People, Systems Technology
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Recession-Proof Mainframe Jobs

NBC's Today Show featured a short segment on "recession-proof jobs." It's a short list, but as you can see in the video toward the end of the segment, one of the big categories includes IT professionals with mainframe-related skills.

by Timothy Sipples November 7, 2008 in People
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