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Spotlights

Mar 21 ’10

The Datacenter Class Windows Server System

It’s not a PC

To refer to the datacenter class computers systems that comprise a modern Windows Server system as a “PC” is an uninformed or dogmatic statement of belief rather than current fact.  Or maybe a statement made by an informed person who doesn’t want to acknowledge the reality that technology which started in a PC in the last century, has over 20+ years evolved into a world class computing platform.  I’ll tell a story or two to make the point.

A couple of years…

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IT Management

Mar 19 ’10

An Innovative, Proven, and Fully Integrated Software Change Management Solution

Trying to compete in today’s competitive market with an unstable computing environment is expensive and will certainly lead to business failure. While an unstable computing environment can have its roots in multiple areas of the IT department, the most likely cause of such instability is the inefficient use of standardized methods and procedures for making changes to applications. To minimize the risk of introducing damaging changes, each and every application alteration must be made in a tightly controlled manner. Over the years, change management solutions…

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IT Management

Mar 18 ’10

When a star is born, the mass of the star determines how long it will live, ranging from millions to trillions of years.

Magnetic tape for data storage began life in 1951 and was used as a primary recording media by some until the ’70s. The continuous use of tape caused a buildup of market share over other tenable, long-term storage alternatives. But as the storage market universe continued to expand, other storage stars were created. The star power of tape is now fading; in an astronomical sense, it has exhausted its supply of market fuel, expanded…

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IT Management

Mar 18 ’10

Sometimes a technology comes along that changes everything. A very good example of this is the IBM mainframe: On April 7, 1964, IBM announced the System/360 and changed the face of business computing forever.

As it turns out, however, this wasn’t just a change of direction; it became part of a permanent state of change, as business computing manifested itself as a source and target of constant, dynamic change that compelled and enabled business to advance and adapt in new directions at an ever-faster rate.

The first decade of the mainframe’s existence&mdash…

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IT Management

Mar 18 ’10

One of Italy’s leading domestic oil players consolidates distributed platforms to System z10 for greater freedom of application choices. Since 1969, Gruppo API (www.apioil.com) has used IBM mainframes for its core processing, but its data center until recently also housed a total of 60 Intel-based Linux servers and IBM RS/6000 AIX UNIX machines. API IT management wanted to position the data center for business growth through a strategy of server consolidation and extended utilization of open application platforms such as Linux that would yield both flexible platforming options and reduced costs of software licensing and deployment. This…

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IT Management

Mar 16 ’10

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one: “Close enough for government work …”

I first heard it as a kid when my family moved to the Deep South in the ’60s and met people who didn’t hold Yankees, intellectuals, or “the government” in high esteem. When these people made the “close enough” remark, it was usually said with a sneer and a knowing nod that confused us Thomas kids. After all, we weren’t that far from the Space Center, where “the government…

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Applications & Databases

Mar 16 ’10

IMS and DB2 for z/OS are data management foundations for many enterprise applications. Many enterprise applications have continuous availability requirements to support transaction processing, Web access, or Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) applications. The DB2 and IMS systems used to support these applications must be highly available. Fast, non-disruptive backup and data cloning solutions are required to minimize their effect on enterprise applications while providing data recoverability and testing environments. Recovery solutions must be streamlined and fast to minimize application downtime in the event data recovery is required. 

Modern storage systems used to support database systems on…

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IT Management

Mar 16 ’10

To a great degree, IBM’s power to endorse a technology governs what industry and CIO/CTOs say and do in the five- to 10-year cycle following a major strategic announcement. In this case, it’s gratifying to see IBM endorse a massive-scale virtualization product. The IBM Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) offering might just be one of those game-changing announcements, provided IBM can deliver the necessary services and application integration to make the package palatable to VMWare-crazed infrastructure engineers.

The Enterprise Linux Server for System z offering combines z10 hardware, z/VM, assorted IBM middleware,…

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IT Management

Mar 11 ’10

“Pulling the plug” on obsolete legacy systems is the least talked about and most likely least understood of legacy modernization options. In our modern world of green economics and recycled resources, we often feel guilty for simply discarding a productive asset that duly served our business for many years. Contrary to all other legacy modernization approaches, this wasteful action makes no attempt to leverage any part of the residual value that can be found in the disposed system. This is a terminal event filled with so much negative connotation that we even had to create a special…

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IT Management

Mar 10 ’10

In 2009, there were quite a few “I told you so” bragging moments by many mainframe advocates. Contrary to analyst predictions, there was no millennium meltdown of Big Iron computing. There was, instead, a healthy recommitment to mainframes by many business and IT decision-makers who had long planned to decommission their rigs by now. Owing in no small part to the superior story the platform had to tell in the strategic areas of cost-containment, compliance, continuity and carbon footprint reduction, the mainframe received a new lease on life that will, by all estimates, carry over into the next…

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Spotlights

Mar 9 ’10

No time for complacency There are a lot of “opinions” regarding mainframe security.  A simple Internet search yields numerous blogs and online discussions on the topic and the views are very diverse.  Found on one technical blog site, “hacking the mainframe is a perennial question, and as IBM opens up the mainframe to more and more unconventional workloads, such as SOA, Web 2.0 applications, mash-ups, business intelligence, mobile access and more, concerns about hacking persist.  If nothing else, mainframe data center managers increasingly have to trust external systems to authenticate users.  So hacking…

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IT Management

Mar 9 ’10

IT Sense: Welcome to 2010

The University of California at San Diego is the source of the latest installment of data points on the data burgeon. In December, they released the latest installment of the “How Much Information” study that has been refreshed several times since its inception in 1999. Back then, UC Berkeley started what has blossomed into an urban legend of technology: scary rates of data growth.

In fact, UC Berkeley’s study of the Digital Revolution was badly misinterpreted from the outset.  Researchers discovered that analog information was going digital at a phenomenal rate. They estimated…

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Operating Systems

Mar 8 ’10

Storage system design always involves a trade-off between cost and performance. A storage system full of small, fast disks may provide great performance and throughput, but the benefits don’t always justify the costs. “Tiering,” or using a mixture of faster and slower disks, is likely to produce a better price-to-performance ratio. You can reserve the fastest, most costly disks for the workloads that really need them and let large disks handle less active workloads. 

Tiered configurations are more challenging to design and manage, but with care, they can be significantly less expensive…

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Operating Systems

Mar 8 ’10

This time of year, news on z/VSE is typically slow … the fall announcements have been made, digested, and discussed. However, soon, the late winter/spring announcement cycle will begin.

In a discussion with a z/VSE user just before Christmas, he indicated his company was facing the potential problem of exhausting programmer logical units (SYS numbers, example SYS000 through SYS255) in a partition. The user indicated his site had only 48 free programmer logical units in the database partition and expected to exhaust those within 18 to 36 months. The current growth rate is 16 additional devices per year.<…

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IT Management

Mar 4 ’10

No longer solely the province of the mainframe, with its centralized repository and management, Identity and Access Management (IAM) has extended itself to distributed platforms such as UNIX, Linux, and Microsoft. As a result, enterprises are using multiple IAM systems on multiple platforms to manage identity and access. IT has to ensure it knows how to bring together all the IAM components running on desktops, LANs, the mainframe, and other platforms.

The increased emphasis on compliance, especially in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown and the almost-daily reports of massive data breaches, further complicates the IAM…

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IT Management

Mar 3 ’10

Here we’ll discuss how to get the network information needed to do your job well. This includes first, knowing what your networks consist of and then, how your network staff is configuring and maintaining them. You will likely find several opportunities for improvement by integrating the work of your TCP/IP, SNA, and security software staff.

You need only enough network details to know your technicians have the information they need to manage the networks well. If you aren’t sure of that already, ask them for a one-page map of 1) physical networks, 2) logical…

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IT Management

Mar 2 ’10

Success consists, to a large degree, of being able to spot opportunity where others don’t. This is particularly true in today’s economic climate. When budgets are tight and people are nervous about their jobs, it’s easy to just hang on for dear life. However, it’s also possible to take advantage of current conditions to achieve success for both your company and yourself. 

Here are just a few examples to consider: 

The thrift opportunity: Tight budgets are forcing IT organizations to find ways to cut costs.…

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Spotlights

Mar 1 ’10

Service Levels: Why and How

Why SLAs?

Exceptional delivery and support is never-ending. As soon as a service level agreement (SLA), or objective is exceeded, the ‘customer’ (be they customers or internal clients), sets a new minimum bar of expectation. The savvy business executive embraces the quest to best services as a core competency of their business, adopts an operational standard and adapts processes for continual improvement.

It is vital to any business to continually strive for service improvements as market competition demands service flexibility, speed, and customer satisfaction. Your customers need to continually deliver better and faster…

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Spotlights

Mar 1 ’10

Most large companies keep a significant portion of their workforce out on the road. After all, you can’t compete if you don’t have your people out generating leads, helping solve clients’ problems, and generally interfacing with the world outside company premises.

To do their jobs well, most mobile workers need information. The sales person needs to know the history of interactions her company has had with the client. She needs to know what products the client has already bought, and she needs to know pricing and configuration information on products the client…

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