The Mainframe Blog Kindly Redirects You

Due to some continuing limitations at this site, including commenting issues we haven't been able to resolve to our satisfaction, we advise you to continue learning more about the world of mainframe computing at the following blogs:

There are many, many other mainframe-related blogs, and you can find many of them via the sites listed above. We are not endorsing any particular site as a successor to this one, though at some point I will likely choose one of them as my preferred place to continue sharing my views.

I'll see you at the other sites where we can interact better and exchange views much more easily — where the social media facilities are a bit better developed. I sincerely appreciate your many years of readership, commenting, suggestions, complements, and even criticisms. The posts here should remain available for quite some time to come (and then after that in Internet archives), but over time I'll move and update some of the best bits, for instance the "Mainframe Freebies" information.

OK, you can click or tap now. See you there!

by Timothy Sipples September 20, 2013 in Blogs, Future, History
Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It's Time to (Mostly) Retire Historical Mainframe Photos

325px-Candlestick_phoneChris Gaun at Gartner asks "Can Mainframes Be the Least Expensive Option?" (Well of course they can!) But I must take issue with his editor who decided to illustrate Mr. Gaun's blog post with a photo of an IBM 704 mainframe taken in 1957.

What's the freakin' point? Shouldn't illustrations have some reasonable relevance to the story? (And why stop there? How about a picture of Charles Babbage's difference engine? Or an abacus? Good grief!)

Here's a proposition. If every news editor starts illustrating all Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, and RIM BlackBerry stories with photos of analog cellular "bag" phones or rotary dial "candlestick" phones, and if every editor illustrates all stories about Apple iPad and Google Nexus tablets with photos of a 12th century monk's manuscript, I'll drop my objection to illustrating mainframe-related stories with photos taken years or decades before I was born. Do we have a deal?

Unless you're specifically writing about an IBM 704 and its use in 1957 at NASA, that's a really, really dumb photo to choose for your story about the popularity of 5.5 GHz IBM zEnterprise mainframes in 2013. Update: NASA didn't actually exist until 1958. However, NASA is the source of the photo Gartner used. The photo might make sense accompanying an article about NASA's computing history. That isn't Mr. Gaun's article.

Smartphone, circa 1928.

by Timothy Sipples January 29, 2013 in Analysts, Blogs, Media
Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another zEnterprise Blog to Add to Your Bookmarks/Favorites

IBM has started an official zEnterprise blog here:

I also enjoyed reading Sharon Machlis's blog entry over at Computerworld (LI Power Fail: I Doubt It's COBOL) about Long Island Power's challenges in restoring electric service after Hurricane Sandy.

Keep visiting this blog, too. You already know my fellow bloggers and I like to offer our views. We'll keep doing that.

by Timothy Sipples December 9, 2012 in Blogs
Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Insight into IBM's New z114

Rob Enderle's reaction to IBM's introduction of the new z114 mainframe is quite interesting and thought-provoking. In short, he notices that major IT vendors have flipped roles, with Oracle (and Microsoft, I would argue) now emulating IBM's worst behaviors from the 1980s, undermining trust among formerly loyal customers and partners. Enderle also observes something I reported in my reaction to the z114's introduction, that IBM is passing along its cost savings (and perhaps more than that) to its customers — clear evidence that IBM is focused like a laser on growing the mainframe ecosystem. Said another way, Sun customers are to be milked, and IBM customers (current and prospective) are to be delighted.

Another way IBM is delighting current and prospective mainframe customers is on the software side. As most people in IT purchasing know, software licensing and maintenance fees are increasing quickly, in general. I point to these key drivers:

  1. Commercial software is a close substitute for labor. (You can either buy software or build it.) Given long-run global trends in labor and in business sophistication, we would expect commercial software to take a progressively bigger role in IT projects with correspondingly bigger shares of the project budgets.
  2. There has been quite a bit of consolidation in the software industry generally. Less competition tends to result in higher prices. Interestingly, there has been increasing mainframe software diversity in recent years.
  3. Virtualization tends to drive down the number of CPU cores required to perform the same work. Software vendors have been racing to claw back their licensing and maintenance fees as customers have virtualized their software products, most of which are licensed per core.
  4. In some industries there's unexpected growth that's driving additional infrastructure expense (including software). For example, I'm hearing from a lot of banks that smartphones (such as Apple's iPhone) are driving up transaction volumes and infrastructure requirements.
  5. As software becomes more sophisticated, new entrants face tougher challenges getting established. If there's less competitive threat from potential new entrants, then prices will tend to be higher.

That said, IBM is consistently driving down mainframe software unit costs, something that's quite rare or even unique in the industry. The z114 continues that evolution, with even more attractive software licensing terms. IBM dropped prices for z/OS and other mainframe-unique software products. You'll probably see a reduction in z/OS-related software charges ranging from 5% to 18% just by moving from a z10 BC to a z114. Interestingly, IBM's most aggressive z/OS pricing is for single z114 customers. Coincidentally my favorite mainframe configuration is the "single machine virtual cluster" Sysplex approach, and IBM's new pricing is especially friendly to that mainframe-unique, parsimonious way of delivering exceptional reliability and availability.

At the same time, IBM dropped its prices for its Linux-based software products. Pricing per core fell from 120 "value units" to 100, a decrease of almost 17% compared to the z10 BC. Core performance is up substantially, so that means IBM reduced unit prices roughly 29% (by my quick calculation) compared to the z10 BC.

There's no question this IBM behavior is customer-friendly, and it goes a long way toward explaining why IBM is enjoying such phenomenal mainframe growth. I hope more IT shops understand this stuff, and soon.

by Timothy Sipples July 22, 2011 in Blogs, Economics
Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

The Register: "Reconsider the Mainframe"

The Register just published a new paper: "Reconsider the Mainframe." The authors encourage IT organizations to understand the modern mainframe's leading capabilities, and they also summarize the key organizational issues preventing proper consideration of the mainframe's role. Many of those same issues hinder quality IT service delivery generally.

There are a lot of false myths and superstitions about mainframes. I think this paper helps dispel at least some of them.

by Timothy Sipples June 22, 2011 in Blogs, Economics
Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The postings on this site are our own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of our employers.
© Copyright 2005 the respective authors of the Mainframe Weblog.