Two, ... Two, ... Two Conferences in One


The VM and Linux Workshop is coming up next week. This year, it will be at NC A&T on June 26, 27, and 28.


Just prior, Velocity Software will present their performance seminar for z/VM and zLinux systems. Attendance to the Velocity seminar is free for those attending the workshop.


As Timothy Sipples mentioned, there is a lot of mainframe traffic in other fora. With respect to the workshop, I blogged about it myself ...


Kind of late notice, but I wanted to mention it. The workshop has seen steady growth so it's likely to happen again next year. Y'all come!


-- R; <><



by sirsanta June 16, 2014 in Events, Linux, z/VM
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Unplanned 3 Hour Global Mainframe Outage Scheduled

IBM is notifying all its mainframe customers that due to a once-in-a-lifetime "rear endian horological issue" of critical importance, all mainframes, worldwide, must be completely shut down and powered off for 3 hours on April 1, 2013. Any 3 hours will do, according to IBM's press release, but the downtime must occur on April 1, 2013, based on Mainframe Standard Time (MST). Moreover, the outage must be Sysplex-wide in order to correct the horological issue properly. All forms of GDPS, SRDF, and other cross-site recovery procedures must not be initiated. Failure to shut down on April 1 will result in random transposition of date fields so that, for example, April 2, 2013, which might be represented as 02/05/2013, could instead be rendered as 3102/50/20. Such improper date rendering could result in catastrophic business losses, such as bank account holders getting paid 0.1% in annual interest on their accounts.

There are only two exceptions listed in IBM's urgent "red alert." The first exception applies to customers that do not use the so-called "Western calendar" and which only process dates using other calendar systems such as the Maya calendar. They can postpone powering off their mainframes until 5 minutes before their IBM hardware service agreement expires. The other exception is Cyprus's Laiki Bank which the red alert describes as a "Permanent Mercy Outage (PMO)."

This worldwide mainframe outage is unprecedented, and it goes without saying it will significantly disrupt global society and our everyday lives. The world's financial systems, public safety including national security, Taco Bell's new SuperMax Burrito, and many other facets of our everyday lives depend on IBM's ordinarily incredibly reliable workhorses. That said, we humans always try to look on the bright side. The BBC interviewed Abigail Smythe, a customer of a large U.K. bank, who says she is looking forward to 21 hours of continuous service. Meanwhile, South Korean broadcaster KBS, which was on the air for 10 minutes today until anonymous hackers compromised their servers again to transmit footage of Kim Jong Un eating sushi and playing with an iMac, mentioned that IBM's red alert will not affect their operations. Visa and MasterCard announced that they've programmed all retail terminals to approve all charges during their 3 hour outages. Credit card industry spokesperson Stuart Umpton notes that "We don't want to do anything that will interrupt our cardholders' spending beyond their means, so we'll just approve everything and clean up any messes starting on April 2."


Mainframe users in Venice, California, express horror over the forced worldwide outage, warning the public using this helpful sign. Photo taken by Anthony Citrano (Creative Commons License).

by Timothy Sipples April 1, 2013 in Business Continuity, Events
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Miami, October 3-7, 2011: Be There

I've heard Miami has beaches. And there's an excellent conference. Just go.

by Timothy Sipples August 24, 2011 in Events
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Mid-January 2010 Mainframe Potpourri

It's once again time for some mainframe potpourri — those pseudo-random news items that have piled up in my inbox.

  • At 1:00 p.m. New York time on January 19, 2010, IBM is hosting a teleconference entitled "Making Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Drive Better Decisions." If you cannot join or missed the call, there's a replay available.
  • Or why not visit Berlin starting on May 17 for the "IBM System z Technical University"? I hear the beer tastes almost as good as Miller Lite.
  • IBM database ace Jeff Josten presented an interesting preview of "DB2 X for z/OS" via teleconference, and you can listen to the replay.
  • The press has been full of upbeat mainframe articles lately, including this one and this one. Also, The Register and both reacted to the BC Card announcement. (Was the Western IT press stunned or merely on Christmas vacation?)
  • In the U.S., the Fox television network will broadcast the penultimate episode of "Dollhouse" on January 15. In the episode, the lead character launches an attack on the fictious Rossum Corporation's mainframe. "Taking down the mainframe won't be an easy task." Indeed. Unless you set the password to "guest." Or unless you physically attack a mainframe. (Though GDPS could solve that particular problem.)
  • Has anyone else noticed that you don't need a notebook or desktop PC any more? At least in Japan that's certainly true. All the client-side energy seems focused now on the iPhone, Nokia S60/Symbian, Blackberry, and Android "smartphone" platforms. That trend is bound to influence IT architectures generally. Cue the "death of the PC" press articles.
  • Austin Modine opines that IBM is "big, blue, and boring."
  • BMC sponsored a survey of mainframe customers, and they say they're planning to invest more in the platform. Application modernization, disaster recovery, and server virtualization projects top the list of mainframe investment priorities.
  • offers its mainframe predictions for 2010.
  • "Invest in mainframe-related stocks," advises ZapThink in their forecast for the next decade.
  • Finally, if anyone needed yet another reminder that the government in Washington, D.C., is truly dysfunctional, take a look at the "Unplugging the Mainframe" video. The U.S. House of Representatives claims that they're "greening the Capitol." Yet this video is thoroughly damning: the House proudly shuts off its only remaining windmill (i.e. their mainframe, occupying a tiny corner of the data center) as the cameraman then pans across the House's vast data center, packed with coal plants belching smoke (i.e. their myriad other servers and equipment, scores of which were installed to stand in for the mainframe). Now that's some creative accounting, even for Washington, D.C. If the House wants to save energy, here's my advice: first, consolidate and virtualize, and use a 2010 mainframe as part of the strategy. (Don't pretend a nearly 20 year old machine is what you should be running in 2010.) Second, how about if the House walks across the building and asks the Senate to consolidate along with them, taking advantage of the mainframe LPAR separation and security that the U.S. military relies on to keep Top Secrets secret? Why is the U.S. House of Representatives running an entirely separate data center anyway? How...un-green. No wonder comments are disabled for that YouTube video. Taxpayers and environmentalists deserve to be outraged.

UPDATE: IBM has some more teleconferences (live and as replays) scheduled for February: "IMS and WebSphere Application Server: SOA in Action at Delta Airlines," "IBM Looks to System z and Cognos 8 BI," "IMS Tools Solution Packs: End-to-End Solution Saves Time, Resources," "Opening the Door to your Enterprise Infrastructure: WebSphere Business Events on System z," and "Reduce IT Costs and Improve your IT Service (with z/VM and Linux)." If you happen to be in Barcelona in late February, and you're interested in core banking, IBM and Oracle have an event for you.

by Timothy Sipples January 15, 2010 in Events
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Random Mainframe News for Early July, 2009

The Mainframe Blog takes no summer (northern hemisphere) vacation, nor does mainframe-related news. Here are pointers to the recent mainframe stories and happenings that interest me and hopefully you as well.

  1. IBM is introducing a free development tool for Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) which is highly relevant to System z. EGL is a 4th generation language (4GL): easy to learn, powerful, and easy to maintain. The runtime for the free tool is any operating system with Java capability, including z/OS and Linux on System z. I like free stuff.
  2. Analyst firm Clipper Group published a new whitepaper: System z as a Cloud for Business Services.
  3. CA published this paper: Usage and Plans for Mainframe Linux.
  4. IBM released WebSphere Application Server for Developers. Also free. You can install this version on any PC (Linux or Windows). Everybody using WAS for Developers is also already a mainframe developer. What you run on WAS for Developers can also run on WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and WebSphere Application Server for Linux on z.
  5. IBM has several teleconferences/webcasts scheduled (usually with replays available if you cannot join live): Misconceptions and Old Wives Tales on DB2 Database Maintenance and Recovery (July 7), Get Smart IMS Applications with COBOL and Java Interoperability (July 14), DB2 9 for z/OS Utilities: Best Practices Update (July 21), CICS and Rational: Increase Business Agility Through Innovative Tooling (July 22), and IMS Connect Extensions: Revealing the Secrets of IMS Connect (July 28). UPDATE: There's also Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Linux on System z: 64-Bit Benchmark Results (July 16).
  6. DataDirect's Gregg Willhoit thinks there ought to be better (and more) TPC-style mainframe benchmarks, especially for specialty engine exploitation measurements.
  7. Congratulations to KLM which has now fully upgraded to 64-bit z/TPF technology. (I mentioned JAL's upgrade previously.)
  8. Craig Gentry at IBM Research has solved a decades-long cryptographic riddle: is it possible to design an encryption scheme that allows calculations to be performed on the encrypted data without compromising the underlying secrets? Yes, it is possible, at least given a few years to solve the remaining engineering issues. This breakthrough should help make encryption much more convenient and promote more widespread adoption.
  9. The 2009 Australian "Master the Mainframe" contest is now running.
  10. Congratulations to Westpac which is now fighting bank fraud with ACI Worldwide's Proactive Risk Manager running on System z.
  11. From Slashdot: "Microsoft Backed-Firm Says IBM Is Anticompetitive."
  12. Tom's Hardware, a Web site which normally focuses on PC technologies, spent a lot of time developing a section entitled "A Complete History of Mainframe Computing." One of the section's pages discusses the System z10 Enterprise Class. Some of the technical details are not quite correct, starting with the name of the mainframe (they say "eServer zSeries E64"). But it's quite nice they made the effort. (UPDATE: The author has now revised the article to correct the minor technical errors.) Tom's Hardware likes good hardware design, and it's clear the author appreciates the System z10.
  13. eWeek reports that BMC's mainframe push is paying dividends: growth in their business.
  14. Meet Audible Mainframe, a hip-hop band originally from Boston. (Heads up: there are a couple "F word" utterances toward the end.)

by Timothy Sipples July 1, 2009 in Events, Innovation
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