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IT Management

Dec 11 ’08

While in Boston last month, conducting a training seminar on business continuity planning, I was approached by a fellow from a large financial house who was delighted to hear my comments both on mainframes and on x86 server virtualization. He was concerned that the media hype around server virtualization, together with frequent meetings between VMware and EMC with business managers at his company, was pushing his company toward pulling the plug on its Big Iron platform.

In fairness, he said, “Mainframe costs are reported as a single line item in the IT budget,” making them…

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Interviews

Dec 10 ’08

The State of Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) delivered an application that might sound too good to be true—but isn’t. It’s a difference-maker for the business that achieved green initiative goals, lowered Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), eased management of system assets and their retirement cycles, and was delivered seamlessly and transparently to users.

Serving more than 100,000 children per year, the OKDHS was looking for more effective ways to orient field staff to results-driven performance. A major part of the effort was giving field and central office staff ready access…

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Operating Systems

Dec 9 ’08

Some days, you’d think that Aristotle lives somewhere east of Washington, DC, and is making a living as a political pundit. The title of this issue’s column originally referred to the making of the scholar-prince in Greek society, but it’s also an interesting observation on the evolution of Linux distributions and the way we seem to be able to propagate special purpose items, or find some “generic” things in the oddest places.

Building a Linux distribution is a lot harder than it looks, and the value of buying a…

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Dec 8 ’08

In a survey we recently conducted we found that IMS/DB, IBM’s original mainframe database platform, has maintained its position as the leading pre-relational database in the z/OS environment since the ‘70s. Millions of applications, running in thousands of blue-chip companies around the globe, continue to deliver secure, high-availability service to users in a wide range of industries. Thanks to IBM’s continuing investment in enhancements and supporting tools, these systems can now integrate with other legacy and Web services-based applications.

Again related to IMB/DB, our survey also found …

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IT Management

Dec 4 ’08

As an IT community, we’ve co-invented a very complicated industry. With each new architecture and “must-do” technology, we’re continuously challenging IT professionals to absorb and implement a dizzying array of technology solutions.

With the plethora of architectural blueprints and white papers to digest, IT executives often end up with indigestion. And to some extent, the need for vendors to design apparently complicated systems is due in part to the expected price point they hope to command. Add to this a healthy dose of historic distrust of the vendor community, and the…

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IT Management

Dec 4 ’08

While BI certainly works for many organizations in a distributed client/server environment, the mainframe offers numerous significant advantages that can enhance the power of PC-oriented applications. Depending on the application and data volume, BI on the mainframe can be less expensive, less complex, less redundant, more secure, and more scalable.

The 44-year-old mainframe architecture, often supporting terabytes of data, is still the workhorse for many organizations, particularly in the financial services sector. The venerable architecture continues to see healthy expansion and market growth, with powerful new virtualization and workload management models, software offerings that host multiple…

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Operating Systems

Dec 2 ’08

A question often asked regarding VSAM is: When should you reorganize a VSAM data set? Many recommendations related to VSAM reorganization can be misleading and confusing. Unnecessarily reorganizing VSAM data sets can waste resources, but not reorganizing VSAM data sets also can result in longer processing times that may represent lost resources. This article explores reasons for reorganizing a VSAM data set, specifically a KSDS (Key-Sequenced Data Set), and tries to provide guidelines to apply to this important decision process. Note that the reorganization guidelines presented here vary on whether the data set is processed online (e.g., CICS…

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CICS / WebSphere

Dec 1 ’08

Shared Data Tables & CICS TS

A Shared Data Table (SDT) is simply a VSAM Key Sequenced Data Set (KSDS) that has been loaded into virtual storage and accessed as a table— reducing physical I/O and improving response time. The feature for using SDTs has been available in CICS TS since CICS/ESA 3.3, but SDT use has been somewhat limited in many installations for several reasons:

  • The amount of real storage required to support data sets defined as SDTs
  • The recommendation that SDTs be used for data sets that reflect a high read-to-write activity ratio or…
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IT Management

Dec 1 ’08

A new age of performance management is upon us. More than ever before, IT personnel need tools that simplify management of today’s complex infrastructure, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure continuous availability of the computing systems required to run the business. Years ago, most IT infrastructures were simpler and all users were company employees; today, the user base is the entire world. Business applications span multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, and a diverse set of networking protocols facilitate communication. Companies are doing more work with fewer people. This article discusses tactical approaches to intelligently and cost-effectively manage…

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Applications & Databases

Dec 1 ’08

Data Consolidation With Web Services in DB2

Most discussions of DB2 Web services position DB2 as a service provider. However, DB2 applications also can consume services provided by external Web application servers—either automatically, through a wrapped User Defined Function (UDF) triggered by a script or a stored procedure, or on demand in applications written in any programming language that supports SQL. Small projects that enhance existing DB2 applications to consume services from an intranet, extranet, or the Web can quickly show tangible results. At the same time, they leverage the enormous investments being made by Web service providers— up to $4.6 billion by 2013, according…

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Security

Dec 1 ’08

With RACF for z/OS 1.2, IBM introduced the RACF UNIVERSAL group. What differentiates a RACF UNIVERSAL group from a standard RACF group? A RACF UNIVERSAL group can have an unlimited number of AUTH(USE) userids connected to it, provided the AUTH(USE) userids don’t have GROUP-AUDITOR, GROUP-OPERATIONS, or GROUP-SPECIAL privileges. Since RACF maintains the group connect information for a userid with AUTH(USE) authority connected to a UNIVERSAL group only in the userid data, there’s no limit to the number of userids with AUTH(USE) authority that can be connected to a UNIVERSAL group.

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Operating Systems

Dec 1 ’08

IBM has a dedicated kernel development team that codes new functions for Linux on System z. There are three main areas for these development activities. First, many new features for the upstream Linux kernel are added by the community, some of which require architecture-specific back-ends. Second, our team tries to support features of the new System z hardware as early as possible. Third, Linux on System z is improved so it works better in the special hypervisor environments z/VM and LPAR.

This article examines a sampling of new features for Linux on System z developed in…

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Storage

Dec 1 ’08

A major theme for organizations of all sizes in 2009 will be doing more with less, boosting efficiency while sustaining business growth in an economical and service-friendly manner. This article explores five major data management, storage, and networking trends for enterprise environments for 2009. General themes include:

• Continued focus on boosting efficiency and productivity with virtualization and other technologies

• Changing workloads, access and data lifecycle patterns

• Green IT computing and green storage

• Data footprint reduction and data management

• Data protection and security for virtual and physical…

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IT Management

Dec 1 ’08

For the last three years now, we’ve done primary research in the mainframe market to understand where things are headed for the IBM System z platform. This has taken the form of a survey that touches approximately 1,000 respondents from some of the largest, most recognizable mainframe users around the world.

Each year, we pay particular attention to this question: “For every dollar spent on your mainframe operations, how much of it is allocated to software, hardware, labor, and other (e.g., facilities, energy, etc.)?” Our respondents report that software is always the largest…

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IT Management

Dec 1 ’08

It’s “business as usual” for the mainframe this month— business class, that is. The z10 Business Class, IBM’s latest offering for the small to mid-size mainframe user, starts at less than $100,000, with an impressive 130 different capacity settings and top-end performance of around 2,500 MIPS from its 10-processor architecture (five general purpose engines and up to five specialty slots). As expected, the marketing rhetoric for the new system highlights the consolidation of distributed applications and energy saving—one specialty processor supports up to 7,500 Domino users, and 1,000 email users can be added for the…

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Applications & Databases

Dec 1 ’08

Over the years, I’ve collected quotes, sayings, and proverbs that have some applicability to database administration and DBAs. With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you.

Unfortunately, I don’t know who originally uttered my favorite quote, which is, “The best thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” But I’ll bet everyone reading can relate to it! Not to mention industry standards and regulatory standards, too. It would be one thing if there were one standard…

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IT Management

Dec 1 ’08

When I was offered an opportunity a few weeks ago from CA to brief me on the latest release of its mainframe database product, IDMS—a database system that I knew in a former life as Cullinet—I took the meeting mainly out of a sense of nostalgia. I had much experience with Cullinet in the early ’90s, when the technology was being used as the foundation of the U.S. Secret Service’s post stander systems, used to coordinate the myriad details of protection services for U.S. politicians.

Hearing Greg Beedy,…

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IT Management

Dec 1 ’08

It’s tough when you work in an environment that isn’t understood by many of your stakeholders. Mainframes really make a lot of sense, but to many people, they’re “black box technology.”

In this case, it can be difficult to argue in favor of adherence to your own requirements without the discussion devolving into “because I said so.” Many mainframe professionals avoid this by using metaphors to explain how the mainframe works, and then articulating clear and concise principles for working in the mainframe environment.

So,…

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Operating Systems

Dec 1 ’08

Notable deliverables in software and hardware, and excellent conferences and education opportunities made 2008 a remarkable year for z/VSE. We expect no less in 2009. This column identifies the dates of significant events and happenings related to z/VSE for the coming year. This includes milestones, deadlines, events, and information publication dates that z/VSE users can use in their planning efforts.

May 15-19, 2009: WAVV

WAVV 2009 will be held in Orlando, FL, at The Florida Hotel & Conference Center. WAVV is a z/VM, z/VSE, Linux, and off-platform volunteer user group that sponsors a yearly…

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Applications & Databases

Dec 1 ’08

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” If Mr. Franklin had lived long enough, he surely would have amended his quote to include the phrase “IMS changes.” Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web front-ends have breathed new life into IMS. With new uses for IMS, change is inevitable.

Because IT success is measurable against corporate objectives, it’s imperative you quickly and efficiently respond to changes. Implementing IMS system definition changes tends to be difficult and error-prone. However, with the proper tools,…

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