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IT Management

Jun 1 ’09

Frameworks can be wonderful things. They help us organize how we think and communicate about complicated or ambiguous concepts. For many nontechnical people, data management seems both complicated and ambiguous. The differences between various data management functions seem unclear, and this leads to unclear accountabilities for compliance requirements and activities.

Finally, a framework is available that you can use to bring clarity to your work. It’s called the DAMA DMBOK, or Data Management Body of Knowledge, developed and published by DAMA International (The Data Management Association International).

The DMBOK (pronounced dim-bock) organizes data…

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CICS / WebSphere

Jun 1 ’09

IBM’s December 2008 release of CICS SupportPac CB11—CICS Events for WebSphere Business Events (WBE)—provides an introduction to the world of event processing with CICS Transaction Server for z/OS. (This SupportPac is available at no charge to all licensed users of the CICS family of products on the platforms specified in the SupportPac description, which is accessible at www- 01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=1 083&uid=swg24021039.)

This article documents an event processing scenario to illustrate an example of potential fraudulent activity in a banking environment. Account data is held in…

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Applications & Databases

Jun 1 ’09

Key Terms

• State: conveys the session status of interactions between two computing devices or between a computer application and a user ID, or a service and the service client. State refers to the degree of information retained and available about ongoing communications for the duration of the session.

• Stateless interactions: describe communications in which services don’t retain information, such as stored state variables or their values, between one event and the next. Each user-initiated action is treated as an isolated incoming application request with no extraneous information needed or kept.

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Operating Systems

Jun 1 ’09

Compiling and Debugging Applications on Linux for System z

Today, many high-level programming languages are in use; all are tailored toward our human way of thinking and, to a varying degree, to the needs of specialized application areas. Any program written in such a language needs to be translated into a machine-executable format. Compilers perform this step and additionally offer many kinds of correctness checks and optimizations.

This article provides an overview of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and some accompanying programs such as the GNU assembler and linker. We’ll begin with the overall information flow between all these programs and also:

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IT Management

May 27 ’09

You can hardly pick up a trade press publication today without seeing a major technology vendor announcing a new computing platform aimed at improving resource allocation and utilization efficiency in distributed computing to “near mainframe levels.” In the past few weeks, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, EMC, and even IBM’s non-mainframe departments have introduced solutions of this type.

Cisco stands out because the company, which made its bones in network switching, is now branching out into servers. They promise that the six or seven layers of proprietary management and traffic shaping protocols created for its…

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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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