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Applications & Databases

Jan 26 ’10

There are many sources of technical guidance for database administration, but sometimes the non-technical aspects are just as challenging. DBAs should be armed with a proper attitude as well as sufficient fortitude and knowledge before attempting to practice database administration. With that in mind, this month’s column offers some “life rules” to guide DBAs.

Rule #1: Write down everything. The wise DBA will always document the processes used to resolve problems and overcome challenges. Such documentation can be invaluable, should you encounter a similar problem in the future. It’s better to read…

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Operating Systems

Jan 26 ’10

Most organizations today are trying to maintain a delicate balance between staying competitive and meeting demanding business needs, while keeping development costs down. To help meet customer demands and protect your investment in CICS legacy applications, IBM continues to enhance CICS Transaction Gateway (CTG), which runs on z/OS, Linux, Linux on System z, AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and Windows.

This article provides an overview of architectural choices using different CTG topology to integrate CICS and WebSphere Application Server (WAS) on z/OS and distributed platforms, modes of implementation, and J2EE Connection Architecture (JCA) resource adapters. It…

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IT Management

Jan 25 ’10

It’s no secret that many mainframe organizations are looking at ways to control costs and increase agility.  Migrating applications off the mainframe to platforms like .NET are gaining momentum.  Why?  The results are compelling -- the ability to save 50% on operational costs with equal or better performance, reliability, service and functionality.  So what about mainframe migration for you and your organization?  For most, the thought of moving off the mainframe never seems quite that simple.  Solutions need to be evaluated, costs and timeframes researched, benefits weighed and risk calculated.  For…

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Spotlights

Jan 25 ’10

Data More Important Than Code

Listening to conversations about moving z/OS workload to some mainframe alternative (MFA) platform, I hear much about the programs and secondarily the data.  Maybe one reason is that I am listening to the conversation between the applications programming staff and management, and vendors who sell programmer’s tool.  These conversations neglect another, often forgotten migration, which is the migration of datacenter operations and application production support, and sometimes systems programming as well.  But IT Operations migration is a topic for another day.  Today’s topic is the data.

Distinct and…

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IT Management

Jan 22 ’10

Today’s youth have a mind-boggling array of ways to communicate— social networking, Tweeting and SMSing simultaneously with other less important tasks such as driving. It’s fascinating to watch their abbreviated lingo—BRB (Be Right Back), TTYL (Talk To You Later), and, of course, the ever popular LOLWES (Laughing Out Loud While Eating Sushi). The acronyms make it so much easier to swap info about the critical moments of their lives. And easy is the point of acronyms—or is it?

Whether technical, scientific, academic or governmental, most industries develop a…

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IT Management

Jan 22 ’10

St. Louis, MO-based UniGroup, Inc.’s mainframe deployment is a story about exploiting advanced technology to lower computing costs, overcoming internal politics, and modernizing an older, green- screen computing environment to centralize its mission-critical applications. By staying with its existing mainframe architecture, UniGroup has built a nimble, secure, highly integrated, well- managed information systems environment that provides a distinct competitive advantage over rival companies in the transportation and logistics field.

“Where we differ from our competitors,” says Randall Poppell, CIO at UniGroup, “is that we implement well-integrated technology capabilities that allow us to…

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IT Management

Jan 19 ’10

While legacy applications may still get the job done, business continues to push for software upgrades and faster performance. IT teams have long had little or no leverage to resist these demands. Unfortunately, over the past 30 years, this attitude has spawned an archaic mess of siloed legacy applications maintained by separate staffs that many organizations can no longer afford to maintain.

Nevertheless, legacy code increases at an estimated rate of 10 percent per year. Without modernization or some kind of risk mitigation plan, this rate will eventually become impossible to support as more legacy code specialists retire, leaving…

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IT Management

Jan 19 ’10

This has been an interesting year. In the business world in 2009, downsizing and rightsizing produced high “GDP per worker” numbers, suggesting that companies have shed all but the most productive people and are successfully running on much leaner operational models. As a corollary, mainframes have enjoyed a renaissance in companies that have largely deferred plans to abandon Big Iron in favor of presumably less expensive x86 platforms. In the x86 world, virtualization has been seized upon by a growing number of firms to shrink infrastructure, enable more applications to be managed by fewer people, and reduce energy…

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IT Management

Jan 18 ’10

Traditional mainframe roles are undergoing a metamorphosis that shifts the emphasis from product-centric specialists to a multi-role generalist. It is not uncommon in datacenters to see responsibilities shift from generalist to specialist and back, and always in an ever-increasingly dynamic and complex environment.

Has technology kept pace and actually helped users become more effective in managing their multi-role responsibilities?  The answer is, not really. While enhancements to operating system components and software products, and hardware innovations like zIIP, zAAP and IFL specialty processors – have helped to achieve business objectives and improve customer service, little has…

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IT Management

Jan 11 ’10

You may have noticed that we’re approaching an important anniversary in IT. Ten years have passed since the calendar flipped over to Jan. 1, 2000, and as the champagne corks popped across the globe, we held our breath and waited to see how effective all those Y2K compliance projects had been.

Few events have tested the relationship between IT and business quite like the Millennium Bug. For several years during the late ’90s, strategic development in many IT departments was frozen while application code was scoured for offending two-digit year codes and other potential technical…

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IT Management

Jan 11 ’10

In the early days of computing, everything was easier to secure. The data center was behind a wall of glass and secured behind locked doors opened only by those chosen few with the magic key. Data security was rudimentary compared to today; RACF was in its infancy; and data theft, destruction, and alteration did occur, but always as an inside job. Even in those early years, tools existed to tighten controls on data access, but it was up to systems programmers to use them.

Data communications, based on Binary Synchronous Communications (BSC) or Systems Network Architecture (SNA)…

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IT Management

Jan 11 ’10

If you’re a newcomer to the IT industry, you might think virtualization is a relatively new development, but it’s not. At MetLife, virtualization has been around since the ’70s, when the company started using the MVS and VM operating systems on the mainframe. Since then, MetLife has continued to look for ways to leverage the newest technology with the latest developments in virtualization, specifically on the mainframe, to improve performance and capabilities. As part of this commitment, MetLife in recent years sought to prove Linux could run on the mainframe—and do so…

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Blog

Jan 10 ’10

Welcome to the new MainframeZone.com Website and to the first edition of my newly-named Bob’s Big Iron Blog!

We are real excited about MainframeZone.com – it is our hope that it will become your first destination for mainframe information. Check it out and let me know how you like it and how we can improve it.

 

Mainframe Trivia Contest #17

In 1968 IBM shipped the industry’s first hierarchical database management system. What was its name?

  • Datacom/DB
  • ADABAS
  • IDMS<…
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IT Management

Jan 4 ’10

Recently, Burton Group declared SOA dead. Well, not really, if you read the report. The fact of the matter is that SOA architects are suffering through a bit of a hype hangover at the same time budgets are contracting. Thus, SOA is taking a beating. In some cases, enterprises are shutting down their SOA projects.

However, when you do a bit of digging, you’ll find SOAs that work. What they have in common are management support, the right approach, and defined and measurable value.

There are really two schools of thought around enterprise…

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Applications & Databases

Jan 4 ’10

Java is popular throughout the IT industry and, for many organizations, is now their programming language of choice. CICS Transaction Server (TS) has steadily extended its support for Java-based workloads as part of the drive toward modernizing business applications and using them in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

CICS TS Version 3.2 adds further support for Java, making this version essential for anyone already running Java workloads in CICS environments. It includes enhancements, based on real use cases, for better manageability, serviceability, and usability when running Java technology-based workloads in CICS TS.

The expectations of CICS customers…

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IT Management

Jan 1 ’10

We’re counting on 2010 to be another excellent year for z/VSE with notable deliverables in software, hardware, education events, and conferences. What follows is the z/VSE 2010 calendar and news from z/VSE Development.

April 9-13, 2010—WAVV: WAVV 2010 will be held at the Embassy Suites in Covington, KY, which is across the river from Cincinnati, OH. The agenda grid with session titles is available at www.wavv.org; abstracts will be posted as they’re completed. Take a look at the session grid for WAVV 2010; these great sessions and speakers are sure to…

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IT Management

Dec 20 ’09

Recently, at several client sites where my firm has been working, we noticed a cadre of IT folks—sometimes permanent staff; in other cases consultants and bodies for hire—have been pulled off other projects and assigned to find ways to put data right for regulatory compliance. Sarbanes- Oxley (SOX), Graham-Leach-Bliley (GLB), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) recently all hit important watershed dates, and companies spent enormous sums of money trying to plug last-minute holes in their system and data validation schemes.  

Reminiscent of the Year 2000, companies worked furiously to…

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Operating Systems

Dec 20 ’09

IBM has posted an updated version of “Hints and Tips for VSE/ESA 2.7 and Earlier” on the VSE/ESA Website at www-1.ibm.com/servers/ eserver/zseries/os/vse/. This is the eighth version of this exceptional document. Two previous versions are also still available on the Website:  

- “Hints and Tips for VSE/ESA,” Sixth Edition, July 2002

- “Hints and Tips for VSE/ESA,” Fifth Edition, May 2001

If you don’t already have a copy, download one now! If you have an older copy,…

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Storage

Dec 20 ’09

Since early 2003, it’s been possible to combine mainframe FICON storage networks and open systems fibre channel Storage Area Networks (SANs) onto a common storage network. This is known as FICON/FCP Intermix. Although Intermix has been blessed by IBM and FICON director vendors, many end users have been hesitant to try Intermix for a variety of reasons, including security concerns, management concerns, and a lack of understanding over how FICON/FCP Intermix really works. Recent advances in FICON director technology and disk array technology have provided many advanced features and functionality, such as logical domains and storage…

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IT Management

Dec 20 ’09

Live servers jumped more than fivefold from 6 million in 1996 to a stunning 32 million globally in 2007. They were mostly distributed servers. This sprawling flood of servers had dire effects. Blame the RISC-UNIX and x86/x64 cartel vendors for hyping and pushing these distributed servers to users. This last decade of wild proliferation in scale-out distributed computing drove the huge increases in IT operating costs detailed below.

These soaring distributed server units drove such IT management costs as software, staffing support, and data center up six-fold from $22 billion in 1996 to an unsustainable $120 billion in 2007—and they’re…

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