Responses to research we’ve done indicate that 72 percent plan to analyze transactional data from enterprise applications. Approximately 80 percent of the world’s corporate data resides or originates on mainframes. The greatest value of analytics occurs when you execute analytics where the data originates. We’ve done studies and found that in organizations performing analytics on transactional data, up to 20 percent of mainframe processor time has been spent moving data off the mainframe using the traditional extract, transport and load (ETL) process so data could be analyzed. In many cases, this meant the data was being moved from the mainframe to a database off the mainframe. It’s also common practice to extract multiple copies of the data. This poses a security exposure and the risk of not working with current data.
The best way to perform analytics is to have the data and the compute capacity co-resident because you will need to access the data often. If the data and compute capacity aren’t in the same place, computing resources is expensive and accessing the data will take longer. Since structured and unstructured data need to be analyzed, the most efficient way to process the information is to be able to access both types of data at the same time.
EE: What announcements did IBM make in regard to helping solve the inefficiencies of moving data off the mainframe and to speed the access of structured and unstructured data?
Newman: To enable both structured and unstructured data to be analyzed without ever leaving the mainframe, we introduced Hadoop for Linux on System z (read the press release at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/43607.wss) on April 8, 2014, through our partnership with Veristorm. In one test using two Integrated Facility for Linux [IFL] processors, two billion records were processed in two hours, demonstrating the power of this solution. This complements existing mainframe analytic solutions such as the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator, SPSS and Cognos mentioned earlier.
We also introduced flash storage options for mainframe storage, further increasing the speed of access to data. In fact, flash can deliver a 30-times performance benefit over traditional high-density drive [HDD] spinning disks. Flash storage is a game-changer with high storage utilization at low cost compared to HDDs when you look at the cost per I/O. Don’t do the cost per gigabyte; do the cost per I/O. Flash support is being implemented in the IBM DS8870 so customers can mix both HDD and flash drives in the same device.
EE: IBM also made an announcement regarding ease of access to mainframe data from mobile devices, right, in addition to the mobile pricing announcement?
Organizations have always been able to write their own access to various types of mainframe data. The IBM WebSphere Liberty for z/OS Connect solution simply provides a standardized way of connecting to mainframe data.
EE: As organizations process more and more mobile transactions, some of it’s net new business revenue while much more of it’s simply activity, such as balance look-ups, which increases mainframe users’ costs without an incremental increase in offsetting revenue. How does the new pricing announcement help here?
Newman: We recognized the dilemma and announced the new System z mobile workload pricing (read the press release at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/43608.wss) available for zEC12 and zBC12 machines with no infrastructure changes required. We can tell if a transaction was started with a mobile device or somewhere else. Mobile transactions could cause an organization to exceed its capacity agreement. If that occurs, we’ll reduce the incremental growth in capacity caused by mobile transactions by up to 60 percent, thereby permitting organizations to embrace the use of mobile transactions without fear of economic impact.
EE: The future of the mainframe is dependent on skills and technology. Can you give us an update on the progress being made in increasing mainframe skills?
Newman: Skills are important, and there’s a lot of excitement and progress. In 2003, we launched our academic initiative. Today, 180,000 students in 1,400 universities in 70 countries either have or are currently benefitting from our academic initiative to build the talent of the future. As just one example at the event today, Professor Cameron Seay at North Carolina A&T has placed 70 of his students in mainframe jobs.
Our newest initiative (read the press release at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/43607.wss) is the launch of our first three massive open online courses (MOOC). This initiative offers online courses to anyone, anywhere at any time at no charge through a partnership with Marist College, Syracuse University and the Linux Foundation. Marist is offering the course “Introduction to Enterprise Computing,” Syracuse is offering the course “Enterprise Computing Strategies” and the Linux Foundation is offering “An Introduction to Linux.” Students can sign up for these free courses by visiting the IBM Academic Initiative website.
The Master the Mainframe contest is another great initiative that has been very successful. The contest is focused on university students and high school students and has been implemented in 38 countries on six continents and more than 70,000 students have participated. We just completed our first world championship this week with the best 43 students from around the world joining us in New York City. We invite everyone to learn more about the contest at www.ibm.com/systems/z/masterthemainframe and help spread the word.
EE: What would you like to say to our readers about the next 10 years for the mainframe?
Newman: The future of enterprise computing is bright as we enter the era of cognitive computing. The latest generation of mainframes is built to provide superior service, insight and transaction processing at lower cost through its cloud architecture, to be a foundation for a mobile and social enterprise and to be a robust, flexible and trusted infrastructure. In each generation of mainframe, we invest more than $1 billion in development, and you can be assured we will continue to evolve the platform and incorporate the latest and most advanced technologies; as an example, in just the past 12 months, we’ve registered more than 500 new patents focused on the mainframe.
The mainframe will continue to enable leaders to innovate and impact business, industry and society in a positive way. In addition to new technologies, today we made important announcements about using the capabilities of the mainframe to help in the battle to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Ghana. Dr. Elijah Paintsil, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and pharmacology, Yale School of Medicine and the director of the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health, is leading the joint effort with IBM to tackle this dreadful disease. The mainframe is, and will continue to be, the Engine for Progress.