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I recently read the results of a survey of how more than 100 different companies managed IT service. The study covered a variety of subtopics, including questions on how IT personnel are notified of an urgent situation in the middle of the night. It turns out that manual dispatch is still a common method, and those companies that have moved beyond that—setting up an electronic dispatch system—generally use set and forget methods that are passive and lack audit trails. Nobody can be sure the message was received, and no automatic actions are taken when the dispatch isn’t accepted after a preconfigured interval…

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Thanks to increasingly affordable processing power, bandwidth, and a greater awareness of the strategic value of automating business functions, many companies have spent years building function-specific applications in all areas of their organization. However, the ability to automate discrete processes— for marketing, finance, sales, or manufacturing, for example— has created its own daunting challenges…

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IT Sense: Get Ready for the Regulators

You don’t need a political science degree or an MBA from Harvard to know that additional regulations, particularly in the financial industry but also for all publicly traded firms, will shortly pass the legislatures of most developed countries. Accountability and transparency are in; abstractions and derivatives are out. And, as usual, the systems and networks that process the work data of companies will shoulder most of the burden of change…

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Virtual Memory Operating Systems first arrived during the ’60s. Storage virtualization was pioneered on mainframes during the ’70s as virtualization concepts began to advance from the processor into storage subsystems. In the mid-70s, the original IBM 3850 Mass Storage System used virtualization to make a helical scan tape cartridge look like a disk drive to the mainframe operating system. The late ’70s witnessed the introduction of the first solid-state disk, a box of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) chips that appeared to the operating system as several rotating magnetic disks…

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In 1993, when the mainframe was under heavy fire from alleged alternative platforms, I created a presentation titled “Downsizing, Rightsizing, and Fantasizing: Is Client/Server Really the Answer?” During the Total Cost of Computing (TCOC) section, I discussed my daughter’s first year at college. Though I had planned for tuition, books, and board, I quickly learned the total cost of college also included new clothes, a mini-refrigerator, dormitory accessories, bank account overdrafts, long-distance telephone calls, and extra trips home…

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CIOs and CTOs should take a fresh look at modernizing mainframe applications. The impact of a sluggish economy on capital expenditure is one of the many forces that could converge this year, perhaps with a vengeance, to make the case for modernization stronger than ever. Modernization in many organizations is 10 years or more overdue; it’s time to plan for and act on this opportunity with urgency, responsibility, and foresight. Modernization should be a multi-year initiative to carefully take the enterprise through a planned, flawlessly executed path of constant, responsible transformation—not a hurried agenda of modernizing various random elements…

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