Latest Entries

The largest improvement in aligning IT and the business that users should derive from the new IBM zEnterprise System is the ability to do cloud-like governance of scale-out blade systems in concert with management of scale-up mainframe systems. The key IT/business alignment value-adds from the new governance and administration abilities—assuming the IT department uses smart implementation—will be:

- More rapid, cost-effective adaptation to new business needs because administration is at a higher “service” level and has more choices of workload and capacity change tools
- Better communication of the information technology contribution to the business because cloud-type services are designed and instrumented better to translate information technology operations into business terms.
 
To determine how and where to apply the new zEnterprise System governance capabilities for maximum benefit, information technology buyers should understand not only the nuts and bolts of the new capabilities but also how they fit into an overall enterprise architecture. Perhaps the best way of summarizing the new governance is that it provides a “middle ground” between data center mainframe scale-up and public cloud scale-out of widely distributed server farms.

Like all middle grounds, the zEnterprise System plus governance isn’t an either/or alternative, but rather an opportunity to create a more fine-grained, optimal combination of all three platform types. Therefore, the smartest implementers will find the best combination of private or public scale-out, cloud-type services; private scale-up, cloud-type services; and middle ground, private cloud-type services for their businesses.

Nuts and Bolts

IBM’s new zEnterprise System story has three main parts:

1. An IBM zEnterprise 196 (z196), the fastest/most scalable system. Users can administer a z196 with the same tools as before.
2. A blade solution supporting some POWER 7, and later System x, blades (zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension, or zBX) that can be physically connected with the z196 and that has common governance tools embedded in firmware. This means that a common administrator interface presents the z196 and zBX to the user as one system and supports governance across both. Combining z196 and zBX results in a system that’s faster than the z10.
3. A software/firmware governance solution—the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager (zManager)—that provides virtual machine networking and administration, energy management, workload and performance management, and system/systems management across the zEnterprise. Embedding parts of zManager in firmware means better administrative performance on both blade-type (zBX) and mainframe/scale-up (z196) systems. Putting parts of the mainframe administrative tools in zManager means the mainframe extends its superlative security, robustness, and energy-sipping characteristics to a blade platform.

Best-Practices Fit Into Existing Architectures

The first key point for IT buyers to understand is that this new middle ground delivers the biggest bang for the buck where IT and the business are headed in the general direction of cloud-type computing, and especially private-cloud implementation. In this case, the services governance tool—zManager—operates on a platform requiring minimal effort and risk to migrate from existing mainframe and blade solutions, while giving the maximum of cloud-type-service support and global governance capabilities. Mainframe upgrade is as straightforward as usual; blade support involves copying from existing platforms, which may or may not imply moving applications from a remote site to the data center. In either case, users of both platforms should see relatively little operational effect from the upgrade or migration.

Meanwhile, the new solution will not only improve application performance and scalability, since it will be easier to move applications between platform types and resources across platform types, but also decrease administrative overhead, due to the new firmware and broader load balancing. Above all, the zManager will semi-automatically provide a services interface for some existing applications that had none, and will allow users to stage “servicizing” of groups of applications that aren’t as easy to move to a cloud-type environment.

The next key point is that z196-plus-zBX does best where it can enhance a clearly demarcated set of scale-out enterprise solutions. Specifically, it does particularly well where there’s what IBM calls an “affinity” between, say, mainframe strengths in scale-up data warehousing and scale-out/Linux’s strengths in multiplexing across a global, Web-based order entry and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Among the criteria that users ought to consider in determining affinity:

- Do the applications on each platform frequently communicate and share data?
- Are they conceptually part of the same business process?
- Will there be a big benefit with minimal implementation risk if the scale-out/blade Linux applications are moved to a single physical data center, with improvements in robustness/performance/scalability/security/energy efficiency, but less benefit and/or greater implementation risk if those applications are moved to Linux VMs on the z196?

If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, zEnterprise System is probably the way to go.

The last key point for IT to consider is that cloud-type governance across multiple platform types is a benefit in and of itself. Within a middle ground zEnterprise System architecture, zManager provides a “best of both worlds” combination of mainframe administration strengths and Web-standard/open source administrative tool availability with the added feature of better governance-tool performance. In other words, when it isn’t clear to the IT buyer whether to choose a z196, separate blade solution and mainframe, or a zEnterprise System, then the zEnterprise System may be the best choice, due to the governance strengths of zManager.

Implications for IT/Business Alignment

Over the last few years, a consensus has emerged that several technologies hold the best promise of improving the alignment of IT operations with business needs:

- Governance, or the presentation of IT as a business and applications as “service”-type products, to allow corporate to monitor and manage IT more effectively
- Flexibility, or the ability of IT operations to adapt rapidly as business needs change
- Agility, or the knack for moving proactively to anticipate future needs—including the need for innovative products.

Effective governance is a goal in and of itself; but good administration also improves operational flexibility by translating customer-demand changes into load balancing and capacity planning. In some cases, effective governance also improves IT agility, as monitoring of system-user demand changes can drive new product software or new business process development…

Read Full Article →

DETROIT--July 20, 2010--Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ: CPWR) today announced a new modernized open development environment for managing mainframe application development. Compuware’s innovative new approach gives customers the ability to increase productivity, reduce costs and address challenges brought about by the retiring mainframe workforce.

The new intuitive Compuware Workbench provides an Eclipse-based graphical user interface (GUI), a common framework and single-launch point to initiate Compuware’s mainframe products with the capability to launch other mainframe and distributed products.

Mainframe Development Productivity

The difficult economy has caused many IT organizations to reduce their staff and put new projects on hold due to funding constraints. The Compuware Workbench helps organizations get the most from their limited funding by increasing the output of their existing workforce. The inherent productivity gains realized when using a GUI environment coupled with the tighter product integration offered in the new Compuware Workbench significantly minimizes the time it takes to complete individual tasks, increasing IT’s overall efficiency.

“IT organizations are constantly faced with two challenges – delivering on their commitments to the business while, at the same time, holding down costs,” said Rose Rowe, Vice President, Mainframe Strategy, Compuware. “By increasing productivity, IT organizations can address both of these demands. They can deliver revenue-generating projects on time and meet their service level agreements without having to add headcount.”

Retiring Workforce Challenges

“Workers who chose IT as a profession during the past 20 years have completely different sets of skills, and use different languages and application architectures,” said Dale Vecchio, Gartner (1) . “Consequently, the pending retirement of the baby boomer generation will have a significant impact on continuing to operate many of the legacy systems that focus on running the business.”

As the baby boomer generation looks ahead to retirement, IT organizations face the recruiting and training of potential new programmers. The next generation of programmers, who grew up with digital technologies, have not had experience with the traditional “green screen” (TSO/ISPF) interface. This means that these new programmers would not only have to be trained to understand the applications they will support, but would also be faced with having to learn to support these applications in an outdated character-based development environment. Providing them with this modernized, point-and-click option significantly reduces the time associated with what would otherwise be a costly learning curve.

Compuware continues to enable and support the needs of IT’s more experienced developers by offering the choice of either a green screen or GUI environment, giving them the option of using whichever platform best suits their individual needs.

The initial release of the Compuware Workbench is scheduled for August of this year. Learn more about the Compuware Workbench at http://www.compuware.com/mainframeinnovations/.

Compuware Corporation

Founded in 1973, Compuware provides software, experts and best practices to ensure applications work well and deliver business value. Compuware solutions optimize application performance across the Enterprise and the Internet for leading organizations around the world, including 46 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies and 12 of the top 20 most visited U.S. web sites. Learn more at: http://www.compuware.com.

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/compuware.

(1) Gartner, Key Issues for IT Modernization, 2009, April 27, 2009

###

Press Contact

Sean M. Patrick, Communication Analyst, Compuware Communications and Investor Relations, sean.patrick@compuware.com, 313-227-5594

For Sales and Marketing Information
Compuware Corporation, One Campus Martius, Detroit, MI 48226, 800-521-9353, http://www.compuware.com

Read Full Article →

The Secrets of Better Batch

The days when batch work was simple and finished early are long gone. More complex workloads, frequent changes, and a shrinking batch window due to the 24-hour business cycle of the Web make today’s challenges much greater than in the past. If nightly batch cycles aren’t completed on time—or are derailed by errors—business-critical online applications can’t be restarted, customers can’t access their accounts, merchants can’t process credit card transactions, and suppliers and partners aren’t able to access inventory systems. Some parts of the business come to a standstill. Worse, financial penalties accrue on top of the lost income. Fortunately, you can take back control by following best practices for improving workload performance…

Read Full Article →

DB2 for z/OS SQL Performance Choices

You can choose from many different ways to code an SQL statement to answer a given question. While the result set will be the same, performance can vary dramatically, depending on the statement construct and data structure. This article examines the major ways of coding SQL and when you should use the various techniques. We’ll address how to code joins, table expressions, and subqueries effectively for specific situations so you can better understand when to use these coding methods…

Read Full Article →

Your company is now global; you’re interested in pursuing the many goals of cost management, virtualization, cloud computing, and going “green.” But what is “the cloud”? According to www.Financenewmexico.org/definitions, it might be defined as “a new generation of computing that utilizes distant servers for data storage and management.” But the real idea behind it is to draw on computing resources located anywhere in the world, as needed, to serve your business. One resource too often overlooked in this exercise is your people; they manage the services, the hardware, even the applications. In the “inclusive cloud,” you can take cloud computing to the next level and achieve the rest of those goals—efficient, low-impact computing with a favorable price/performance ratio—while extending the concept of virtualization to your human resources…

Read Full Article →

In team sports, each player has a distinct way of making decisions and accomplishing his or her individual objectives as well as the team’s objectives. A baseball player may have personal goals, such as maintaining a certain batting average and zero errors in the field, as well as team goals, such as winning the game, the series, or the championship. For a team to be successful, the players must understand their differences, respect each other, and recognize the way each player’s skills complement those of the others. Successful teams take a holistic view and focus on the big picture of how each player’s unique capabilities enhance the team. A star shortstop who never misses a play is just as valuable as the consistent home-run hitter, but in a different way. Simultaneously, players must still address the challenges presented by their differences and find opportunities to improve the team…

Read Full Article →