Latest Entries

Building Systems Management Competency

In recent years, it has become more complicated to effectively manage technology. For the most part, improvements in individual hardware and software components have made it easier to very quickly put together large and complex systems. Yet, there are still major challenges with applications and platforms concerning integration, cost, complexity, and scalability. If companies are to achieve real success in meeting these challenges, they must address, or build upon, systems management competencies…

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To quote the oft-quoted Mark Twain, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” It is a hackneyed refrain but, nonetheless, describes the current physiology of the bits and bytes of CMOS technology that compose the heart and soul of the S/390 Enterprise System Server—the mainframe. To some, the mainframe may conjure up nostalgic visions of a time long ago when systems programmers roamed a computing landscape of refrigerated, raised-floor, maximum-security rooms with large, tape-whirring, light-flashing computers and ruled through cryptic technological jargon that left mere business managers in awe. To others, the mainframe may represent an outdated monolith; emblematic of a decade dominated by disco, Watergate, and Bob Dylan. These people may feel that the mainframe is old, clunky, and seemingly useless in the hustling, bustling “enterprise” world of Unix, Windows, and Web servers—the so-called real technologies of today…

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The increased pressure to get more value out of IT and to reduce related costs has pushed many companies to deliver business systems and applications by acquiring commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products and packages. This shift from “build” to “buy” has produced good results for many companies. However, this change has also adversely affected how some organizations make decisions about which products to acquire…

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CICS has undergone many changes since its inception more than 30 years ago. During that time, IBM has continually enhanced the product and enabled it to exploit new features in the underlying operating system and in other subsystems running alongside CICS. IBM has also restructured various components within CICS during its lifetime. Since the days of CICS/ESA Version 3, the internal structure of CICS has been managed by a series of domains. A domain is similar to the concept of a class in object-oriented programming languages, as it has clearly defined interfaces and executable code, and is responsible for managing any data that relates to that particular component. This encapsulation of data and function helps improve the reliability, extendibility, and serviceability of the product as a whole. Since CICS/ESA Version 3, different components of CICS have been restructured into their own domains. The CICS Log Manager is one such component. It was introduced in the first release of CICS Transaction Server Version 1 and replaced the older journal control management programs.

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“PLATUNE”: Taking Back the Data Center

It was the worst ever. Month-end was here and they had laid siege to us. Egad! Now I know how they felt at Dunkirk. We fell back to the machine room. They charged, lobbing jobs at us at horrific rates. “Who is it?” cried management. “It’s the ad hoc users,” we replied, “and a cohort of developers on our flank!” Management turned and ran. “OK, men,” I rallied. “It’s up to us now. We’re going to take back the data center!”…

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IT Sense: Truth in Advertising

About every decade or so, there is a brief flirtation in this country with ideas like “open-door politics,” “government in the sunshine,” and “truth in advertising.” What happens, basically, is that an organization engaged in selling something—whether it be an idea, a political candidate, a product, or an image—discerns a “climate of mistrust” within the buying community. It may not be mistrust of the vendor per se, but of all vendors, or of the system in which they operate…

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Like most people, I’m a sucker for a compliment. So, when I received one via e-mail in response to my June/July column on “Ethical Computing,” I had no choice but to respond to the writer of those kind words. She wanted to know whether I had ever seen a job description for a business solution integrator. I told her that I had not, but that this would make a good topic for a future column, so here we go…

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It’s often a challenge to come up with an efficient architecture for running WebSphere applications on Linux for zSeries. Such systems consist of zSeries mainframes running VM and multiple Linux guests, each running WebSphere and customer applications. With all of these components involved, it gets a little complicated ensuring that everything works together optimally. This article provides the basics you need to get started as well as additional references…

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Licensing Software for Capacity on Demand

In recent years, awareness of capacity on demand (CoD) and utility computing has increased significantly. Many hardware manufacturers provide systems with variable hardware capacity, which allows customers to purchase base capacity and request additional capacity when needed to satisfy their “on-demand” needs. By their variable-capacity nature, these systems have strained standard software licensing models, especially those that are capacity-based. This article examines these strains and proposes a solution that will allow software vendors to license software in a simple, equitable way, while addressing customer needs.

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