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IT Management

May 27 ’09

Symantec’s annual state of the data center report for 2008, released in January 2009, won’t surprise anybody but does offer some hints of what mainframe data center managers will want to put on their to-do lists. To begin, the study reaffirmed what most IT managers have realized for a few years: Users are demanding greater performance and have higher expectations while management expects the data center to reduce costs.

The study also found that disaster recovery plans are out-ofdate. Meanwhile, one-third of survey respondents report being understaffed while somewhat more than that (43 percent) are having…

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IT Management

May 21 ’09

Mainframe Executive recently visited with Chris O’Malley, executive vice president and general manager for CA’s Mainframe Business Unit. A 23-year veteran of the IT industry, he is responsible for defining and executing CA’s mainframe strategy. We asked him about CA’s new mainframe initiatives, and how they will impact mainframe sites and the development of System z’s next-generation workforce.

Mainframe Executive: There has been a lot of talk recently about a “mainframe resurgence.” Have you seen this in your business?

Chris O’Malley:…

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IT Management

May 21 ’09

In 2009, we’ve witnessed a landmark, historic event with the election of the first African-American president of the U.S., Barack Obama. On the very day his hand rested on Lincoln’s Bible, years of division and prejudice were transcended by his remarkable achievement. Perhaps we’ve finally learned that bigotry and racism have no place in our lives and only serve to make us less than we can be. By choosing to allow any type of difference to keep us from understanding and appreciating the unique gifts everyone has to offer, we miss out on…

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May 19 ’09

 

Today I’m introducing our new bi-weekly comic strip, “The Zone”.

Our hope is to amuse you with a comic look into the life of the IT staff at fictional company, Trans-Neighborhood Systems.

In addition to whatever ideas pop into Colin’s [our cartoonist] head, we thought this would be a great opportunity to ask you, our faithful readers, to tell us your great stories and anecdotes from the workplace.  If you would like to submit a cartoon idea, please email colin[at]mainframezone.com with your…

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Operating Systems

May 15 ’09

Contemplating the old tune “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from The Fifth Dimension somehow adds to the surreal nature of the idea of Sun as a potential part of IBM. If the deal proposed a few days before this column was written actually proceeds to a happy conclusion, it has two interesting points that may affect how the Linux world can proceed in the enterprise space. The tune proposes that universal enlightenment will arrive through love and understanding, but the quintessential message is that we need to accept what is, not what the surface appears to show…

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Operating Systems

May 15 ’09

IT organizations and the companies they serve are increasingly concerned about energy costs and environmental impact. Electricity use by data centers worldwide doubled from 2000 to 2005, representing an aggregate annual growth rate of 16.7 percent per year, according to a report titled “Worldwide Electricity Used in Data Centers” by Jonathan G. Koomey. This means IT decision-makers must start getting serious about bringing energy consumption under reasonable control.

Meanwhile, the mainframe’s unique attributes are making it more important than ever for today’s information-driven enterprises. Approximately 70 percent of organizations and governments are running critical applications…

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IT Management

May 14 ’09

Pop Quiz:

1. “When I first heard about GNU Linux on the IBM mainframe, I said:”

A. “Why and how much?”B. “Uh-oh …”C. “Overtime! Rad! Wait, I don’t get paid for overtime …”D. “Awesome. I’ll get started building gcc cross by configuring with –target=s390x-linux …”

If you answered:

A. You’re an IT directorB. You’re an IT managerC. You’re an IT techD. You’re a tie-dyed…

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IT Management

May 14 ’09

One of the promises of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the closer alignment of IT with business goals. While there have been great advancements in terms of flexibility and agility, the ability to also manage the IT environment from a business perspective is critical in understanding and reacting to IT events. This article discusses recent advances that can help executives manage business impact through the use of business events that tie business process management to the business services management technologies on System z.

Imagine you receive a text message at 10 a.m. from your operations director. One…

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Operating Systems

May 13 ’09

Global canonical database enterprise architecture offers the ability to layer a common component to the enterprise design that allows these heterogeneous systems to coexist and interface with a common language. (Canonicality depends on context, but is defined as the usual or standard state or manner of something.) Such an architecture supports a strong management desire to combine all related aspects of enterprise data-centric operations.

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is supposed to address the disconnection that forms between new applications and legacy applications. The disconnection occurs when, over the years, as technology advances, new systems are built using new…

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IT Management

May 13 ’09

With the financial crisis in full force and unemployment rates rapidly approaching double digits, the moral dilemma of outsourcing— home team loyalty vs. economic benefit—again takes center stage. The sluggish economy and a continuous search for cost savings are driving an increasing share of IT budgets to offshore outsourcing. In 2008, Indian outsourcers alone delivered billions of dollars worth of IT services while the growing number of offshore outsourcing providers in Russia, China, and a dozen more aspiring contenders are joining in the quest for a share of the global IT labor market.

Now more…

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Operating Systems

May 12 ’09

Data warehousing is again becoming a well-discussed hot topic in the mainframe world. Warehousing has always been popular on System z, though it seems few want to talk about it. With all the “green” talk about System z and the rising cost of power to run large server farms (assuming you can even get additional power where your data center is located), warehousing on the mainframe is becoming even more popular.

It’s not just hardware that’s intriguing; it’s everything that runs on that hardware. Having an Integrated Facility for…

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May 12 ’09

The Mainframe Trivia Contest #10 is now over. SHARE, GUIDE, and WAVV are/or were all mainframe user groups. COMMON is a midrange systems user group.

The winners of a mainframe T-shirt for correctly answering the Mainframe Trivia Contest #10 question are:

· Robert Payne: Tarrant Appraisal District, Fort Worth, Texas

· Mike Watkins: Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Chantilly, Virginia

· John Greer: Syncpoint Software, Wayne, New Jersey

Mainframe Trivia Contest #11

Possibly the best book ever written about software development was titled, “The Mythical Man- Month”. It…

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IT Management

May 6 ’09

Weak economy, budget cuts, credit crisis . . . . Is there any good news? Actually, there is. You can leverage your old standby, the mainframe, to help you improve efficiencies and increase IT staff productivity.

Most companies have already re-engineered their business processes to improve economies of scale and increase productivity. It’s time for IT—the primary enabler of automation that makes the overall business more productive—to focus on improving IT processes. Why? Because despite the fact budgets are steady or declining, IT must continue to meet the service levels required by the business. To…

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IT Management

May 6 ’09

Everyone’s jumping on the green bandwagon these days. Governments are implementing environmentally friendly policies, companies are using their sustainability credentials as a marketing tool, and more people are opting to make ecologically responsible lifestyle choices.

IT hasn’t escaped the trend, and that isn’t surprising. According to a 2007 study by Jonathan Koomey, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a consulting professor at Stanford University, the powering and cooling of servers and auxiliary infrastructure accounted for 1.2 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. during 2005, and cost U.S…

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IT Management

May 6 ’09

Compared to the myriad of “integrated” systems most companies are managing today, Master Data Management (MDM) solutions are much simpler to manage and maintain, and provide companies with more business benefits. Unfortunately, MDM technology is developing a reputation for being complicated and time-intensive to implement. The reality is that the process can be dramatically simplified if companies plan before they implement.

To streamline the implementation process, companies need to make several decisions about data, business processes and technologies, before an MDM project begins. First, they need to make critical decisions about what data to master…

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IT Management

May 5 ’09

What’s stopping you from embracing virtualization? The potential cost savings and the ability to rapidly respond to changing business environments provide an unprecedented level of agility. The reality, however, is that managing a virtual environment also creates significant challenges.

In fact, respondents to a recent Gartner Data Center Conference Survey cited “controlling virtual machine sprawl” as their biggest challenge to managing server virtualization environments (see “Addressing the Operational Challenges of Virtual Server Management,” Cameron Haight, Feb. 27, 2008).

Without proper controls, virtualization increases business risk. The potential for service disruptions, noncompliance…

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Applications & Databases

May 5 ’09

Here I will address the answer to a question I’m frequently asked: Whether two-hop cascaded FICON will be supported in the future.

Prior to the introduction of support for cascaded FICON director connectivity on IBM zSeries mainframes in January 2003, only a single level of FICON directors was supported for connectivity between a processor and peripheral devices. Cascaded FICON allows a FICON Native (FC) channel or a FICON Channel-to-Channel (CTC) to connect a zSeries/ System z server to another similar server or peripheral device such as a disk, tape library, or printer via two FICON directors…

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Operating Systems

May 1 ’09

When z/VSE 4.2 was announced and delivered, the extended task support—255 to 512—received significant attention among the z/VSE users, as it was an important extension and enhancement. But z/VSE 4.2 also contains many other important enhancements.

The z/VSE real memory capability has been extended from 8GB to 32GB. Many users running a large z/VSE image with data in memory via VDISK or Data Space will now dramatically extend the data in memory concept. More data in memory means fewer real I/Os, better performance, improved throughput, and better system utilization. In a 3…

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Applications & Databases

May 1 ’09

Much of the world economy is now in a recession. Companies are failing; unemployment is rising. How badly will IT be affected? Will DBAs still have jobs? This article addresses nine topics for the DBA’s consideration; addressing all of them can help you stay productive—and may help you keep your job.

Notion #1: Database Recovery

Ensure data recoverability. If there’s one thing to get right, this is it. While other things (such as performance or security) may seem more urgent, ensuring data recoverability is the database administrator’s most…

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Operating Systems

May 1 ’09

With the global economic slowdown and projections for a prolonged recession, funding those “must-have” IT development projects this year will be a challenge. In 2009, IT managers will be lucky to get a fraction of the resources they’ll need to keep up with their organizations’ growing information IT requirements, as many planned projects are likely to be dramatically delayed, severely cut, or eliminated outright. Not surprisingly, IT managers this year will focus on maximizing the performance and functionality of existing computing systems in any and every way possible, while avoiding situations that require additional resources.<…

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