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News

May 18 ’11

CMG Regional and International Chapters Provide Education, Networking, Leadership Opportunities that Further Professional Education and Work SkillsThe Computer Measurement Group (CMG), a not-for-profit, worldwide organization of IT professionals committed to sharing information and practices focused on ensuring the efficiency and scalability of IT service delivery to the enterprise through measurement, quantitative analysis, and forecasting, today announced the most up-to-date schedule of affiliate groups located regionally as well as in several countries around the world.“Not only does CMG hold one of the industry’s most respected annual conferences, CMG’11, but we  also have chapters in…

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Spotlights

May 10 ’11

As recessionary pressures ease on businesses, IT priorities are switching from cost cutting to once again provide differentiating value. This new focus affects the way IT leaders are allocating their resources, and exposing them to new challenges.   To be successful, IT leaders must enable their staffs to work productively on both new and legacy applications without the need for extensive training.A Ground Level Perspective on Avoiding RiskNot long ago, application managers were focusing their most experienced resources on maintaining legacy mainframe applications as they weathered cost-cutting efforts which reduced both their staff levels and their depth…

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Blog

May 10 ’11

Two years ago, mainframes were literally and figuratively being pushed out of Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) in favor of distributed systems running various operating systems. Then the zEnterprise arrived. The DND mainframe team saw in the z196 and zBX a way to consolidate and centrally manage these myriad platforms as the core of a multi-platform, mainframe-based enterprise hosting strategy.

As a result, DND’s mainframe support section received funding that allowed for unprecedented mainframe growth, including virtualized Linux, model upgrades, increased redundancy, and the purchase of the first of several of the…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

By the time you read this, the 2011 hurricane season will be under way. Once again, the folks at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science are predicting an active Atlantic hurricane season with 25 storms and at least one serious storm (category 3 or better), making landfall in Florida or Texas. “No big deal,” you’re probably saying, if you don’t live on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. However, for those of us in those regions, anxiety is on the rise.

So, you may be wondering…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Facing steadily increasing growth that was pushing its existing z9 mainframe to the limits, JD Williams, a leading U.K. online retailer, turned to the z196 and a z10. The z10 would handle the company’s conventional business processing workloads. However, it wanted the z196 to handle its demanding Java and WebSphere workloads and perform image and video serving. Those aren’t typical mainframe workloads, but certainly not uncommon among organizations with big online operations.

The z196 announcement last year coincided with the company’s need to refresh its z9. Instead of just upgrading…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

In my work and personal life, I’ve often found myself in situations where I want to describe the mainframe to those unfamiliar with it and I’ve had limited success; if you’ve had a similar problem, perhaps this will help.  

With any project, I believe in being thorough—and I like the use of analogy—so I started at the origins of information technology and looked for a way to craft an analogy that would resonate with people. Almost immediately, I saw some amazing parallels between the mainframe…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

As our planet becomes smarter, we’re seeing dramatic shifts in the way the world works. Business leaders are demanding even greater agility from their organizations in the face of today’s environment of accelerating change and complexity. 

Nothing is changing more than information technology—the way it’s accessed, the way it’s applied, and the way it’s architected. As such, businesses are looking for information technology to:

  • Deliver more innovation and respond to business changes in applications more rapidly
  • Offer instant insight…
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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Charles Dickens, contrasting different attitudes during the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities, wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The last two years have been one of the best times in the past 20 years for the mainframe despite it being a bad time for the U.S. economy and much of the global economy. Increasing sales of IBM mainframes, fueled by the introduction of the zEnterprise, indicate the mainframe’s future looks quite hopeful.<…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Recently, the mainframe has been pitching the idea that it can play a key role in “green IT” by reducing energy emissions within the data center. It does have an advantage in this area—a fact that shouldn’t be obscured by the cacophony of competing claims. Indeed, if the average business enforces a policy of making the mainframe a fixed or growing percentage of future computing power, it will have an amazing effect on long-term information technology costs and the business’ green strategy.

Typically, a business should care about computing energy…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell notes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice and training to achieve mastery; many legacy mainframers would agree, having put in far more time than that in their quest to be excellent technicians. With the imminent retirement of many mainframe engineers, programmers and other experts, and a trough of interest in developing mainframe skills over the past decade, companies don’t have 10,000 hours to train the next generation of mainframer. But Gladwell did make it clear that 10,000 hours was only a part of it. Opportunity, timing, and support are also critical differentiators of who makes…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Cost-effectively and efficiently delivering more than one thousand hours of mainframe training for 150-plus topics

Rarely does a day pass without someone, somewhere, pointing out to top-IT management that there’s a lack of mainframe-trained information technology professionals. Some discussions focus on the lack of mainframe courses in today’s university curriculums, while others argue that many younger information technology professionals aren’t being given on-the-job, mainframe training. If you also need to advance the skills of your current mainframe workforce to perform additional job roles, how can it be best accomplished?

<…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

As we continue exploring the information you need to do your job well, let’s examine how to prepare for the coming Audit Revolution. In many organizations, Information Systems (IS) auditors  haven’t been providing useful information to financial auditors or mainframe executives.

Financial auditors are charged with answering such questions as:

  • Are the numbers reliable?
  • Are assets protected (including information assets and information processing assets)?
  • Is the organization in compliance?
  • Is it a going concern (i.e., will the business operate indefinitely)?
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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Applications are the lifeblood of businesses today. Yet, technically speaking, applications are also one of the most complex assets to be managed by an IT organization in any business. The typical mainframe-centric business runs hundreds to thousands of applications per day that the business heavily depends on in many ways.

The Challenge of Application Performance

While every application isn’t necessarily categorized as mission-critical for availability purposes, most businesses want each of their applications to perform at their best all of the time. Business and IT managers don’t want some applications to…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

One of IBM’s best-kept secrets is that information technology buyers can save more than a million dollars if they deploy workloads with heavy Input/Output (I/O) on a mainframe as opposed to deploying these same types of applications on a group of x86-based, multi-core blade servers. Benchmark data shows that large-scale architecture (such as a mainframe) doesn’t require as much headroom, or spare capacity, as smaller systems to execute heavy I/O workloads. So, a mainframe can run 240 virtual machines as compared to about 10 virtual machines per blade on a typical Intel 8 core…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

I wonder how many people who watched a computer defeat two Jeopardy champions understand the implications? The Jeopardy-playing machine that IBM calls Watson uses algorithms to sort through unstructured data and find answers to questions. This is analytics on steroids, and harnessing such capabilities will eventually change the way we live. The system stores 200 million pages of information, uses 5TB for storage but has 15TB of RAM. The advantages of parallel computing are brought to bear and as much horsepower as needed is provisioned to first grasp the nature of the question being asked and then plow through the…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

Like most large organizations, the U.S. Coast Guard constantly faces the challenge of integrating its various IT systems. Some mainframe applications were bought decades ago and don’t work with today’s standard interfaces. The Coast Guard has also built or bought applications for specific departments and wants to use them more widely. They certainly have some integration challenges, but it’s worth the effort. By consolidating, they gain control. They can make things run more smoothly, and with less cost, thus achieving economies of scale.

The Coast Guard views their mainframe applications…

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IT Management

May 6 ’11

To communicate orders to the far reaches of the empire, Roman generals used variations of a cryptographic system known as the Caesar cipher. Each letter of the alphabet was shifted by a fixed number of places; for example, an “A” would become a “C”, a “B” would become a “D”, and so on. This isn’t exactly a secure system by modern standards, yet, in its time, many Roman officers trusted the Caesar cipher with their lives.

Today’s road warriors require much more sophistication, as hackers…

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IT Management

May 5 ’11

This is a sidebar to the article “Volvo IT Delivers: An Interview With Volvo Group’s Per Johansson.” To read the entire article, please click here

The powerful new mainframe configuration at Volvo IT includes:

  • New zEnterprise hardware: Two IBM zEnterprise System z196 model M49 three-book systems
  • New Hybrid zBX hardware: Two IBM zEnterprise System BladeCenter Extension (zBX) chassis
  • Platform management firmware: IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager on all above soon 
  • Volvo IT-enabled z196 capacity: Approximately 23,000 System…
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IT Management

May 5 ’11

Earlier this year, Mainframe Executive had an opportunity to talk with Per Johansson, senior manager of Mainframe Global Infrastructure & Operations. Johansson leads the mainframe operations of Volvo Information Technology (Volvo IT), a billion dollar (U.S.), wholly owned subsidiary of the Volvo Group with 5,000 employees, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo IT provides computing, telematics, consulting, and other information solutions, operating as an independent IT services company to its largest customer, the Volvo Group, and to external customers such as SCA (tissues, packaging, and forest products), Assa Abloy (locks and door items), Skandia (insurance), and the City of Stockholm.…

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