IBM Z: Making Dev Work with Ops

Recently, Clabby Analytics attended an IBM analyst briefing on the role of Z Middleware in digital transformation. We went to learn about IBM’s DevOps environment for the IBM Z (mainframe) – its development tools, operations management environment and overall digital transformation strategies. After a full day briefing we walked away with these key findings: IBM is strongly focused on helping its customers transform their information systems into cooperative, integrated processing environments that can easily mix and match existing environments and applications with new technologies and environments. In DevOps, IBM is focusing on the use of technologies that make Z more accessible to developers in general. IBM Z offers a wealth of open APIs, support for multiple languages, numerous development tools, support for open source development environments and more – a comprehensive set of tools, utilities, APIs and languages that support an open DevOps environment on Z. In short, IBM’s approach to DevOps is to be open/integrated with the world of Open Source tools and leading 3rd party vendors (e.g. Splunk, others); In operations management, the company remains focused on: 1) monitoring of application and system behavior; 2) visibility into systems/application behavior (discovery and analysis); and, 3) predictive analysis (the ability to identify problems before they occur and address them). The key message that IBM wanted to deliver regarding operations management was that IBM has a complete suite of operations management products and is a onestop-shop for enterprise operations management needs (this includes distributed computing environments, mainframe environments, hybrid clouds, networks and more); and, IBM strongly encourages its customers to build automated testing suites. By taking the time to automate testing, IBM customers can accelerate the deployment of new digital transformation applications – improving application quality while also improving speed of application delivery. The way IBM presented its products and strategies was threefold. The company discussed: 1) the IBM Z Digital Transformation Model; 2) what the development tools marketplace needs and wants; and 3) what the operations management side-of-the-business requires. We have organized our thoughts and analysis along these lines. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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…Infrastructure Compatibility and VMware Cloud on AWS

Much of the discussion when it comes to moving workloads from on-premises data centers to cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is about the need to lift and shift VMs. The problem is that much of the discussion is about what happens after the lift and shift, in terms of the operational and cost-side of running VMs in IaaS. What has been missing is the discussion of how to get those VMs into the cloud in the first place. I can always easily tell who has actually attempted the shift and who hasn’t by asking them about the difficulties of converting on-premises VMs to cloud VMs. If the company gets into details about all the different conversion options (data migration, VM conversions, compatible hypervisors) and the issues around each, then I know they have actually made the conversion attempt. It’s no wonder that companies that are looking at leveraging cloud resources in a hybrid cloud configuration value infrastructure compatibility. I’ve been writing about these types of configurations for several years. In my 2017 Hybrid Cloud study, I asked companies the question “What is or likely will be the main objective of your organization’s hybrid cloud strategy?” The most commonly cited answer was common infrastructure compatibility, with 31% of respondents. In the same study, 91% of companies expect to have at least half their applications and workloads on-premises in five years. Only 7% said they expected most, if not all, of their workloads will run in the cloud in five years. With this need for on-premises infrastructure compatibility, it’s no wonder that the AWS VMware Cloud on AWS solution from VMware has been gaining momentum. It’s a pairing of the dominant on-premises hypervisor in VMware with the leading public cloud IaaS provider in Amazon Web Services. VMware Cloud on AWS is vSphere running directly on Amazon EC2 elastic, bare-metal infrastructure, along with vSAN for storage and NSX for networking. This solution is the purest form of infrastructure compatibility between on-premises and cloud, running the VMware solution within the AWS data centers, which results in a cloud IaaS environment that is compatible with the on-premises infrastructure at both the VM and management level. This is one of the easiest ways for on-premises VMware customers to get into the cloud, with little or no conversion, yet still have high bandwidth, low latency access to cloud services from AWS. VMware recently made several new announcements about VMware Cloud on AWS, including: To read the complete article, CLICK...

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IBM Z Systems Software…

The interactions of computing software and hardware have long provided one of the best examples of truly synergistic relationships. Without hardware, software code is a mass of commands to which nothing listens. Without software, computers (especially enterprise systems) are little more than expensive, ungainly doorstops. However, working together they can make magic greater than the sum of their parts. Despite those interdependencies, public attention has long focused more on hardware than software. That may be because it’s simpler to get your head around physical objects than the abstract code that gives them life—easier to grasp and understand the machine than its soul. Whatever the case, the practice is unfair. However, that situation has been changing for the better as the critical importance of enterprise developer and operations professionals comes into ever sharper focus. Developers, after all, have instigated and helped to drive the success of numerous new technologies and behaviors, including public cloud computing. They’ve also been the core audience and interpreters of data- and data center-centric solutions inspiring new business growth and market opportunities. At the same time, enterprise operations personnel have never had a higher profile. As enterprises increasingly demand more efficiency and value from compute resources, IT admins and managers are the frontline troops responsible for achieving those requirements and delivering positive results. So, it made complete sense for IBM to host an analyst forum, IBM Z: Software for Digital Business Transformation, at its headquarters in Durham, NC. Along with highlighting the work and insights of its Z mainframe software teams, the event examined how those groups are interacting with developers and operations professionals to deliver strategic value to their enterprise employers. The event was also unique—in the dozens of IBM mainframe events that I’ve attended over the years, software has always been a supporting player, never the star. So, the meeting in Durham also qualified as IBM Z software’s first turn in the spotlight. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Talking Data Analytics…

In this installment of ESG’s 360 Video Series, “Talking Technology,” Mike Leone offers his insights into data analytics – it being a popular, almost prerequisite, term these days in any IT corporate or product pitch…its frequency often only matched by a paucity of understanding! Mike points out that the capability of data analytics is to not only make IT itself better (more productive, for instance) but to allow IT to support better operations (such as using insights to make previously unseen opportunities manifest). In an IT world – indeed simply a world! – that is increasingly data-driven, Mike explains how data analytics is not only an integral part of the emerging data platforms space, but can also be deployed in/from/with the cloud. IT has probably never been more complex and demanding than today: even as approaches such as convergence, myriad clouds, containers, and software-definition (etc.) seek to make operations simpler, so to a degree such elements can also obfuscate some of the underlying subtleties and opportunities of the foundational components. After all, while it’s great to focus on purchasing – for instance – application service levels or business outcomes, some understanding of the IT elements (and considerations or choices) that contribute to those is also often useful. That is the purpose of this video discussion series: it offers ESG’s subject matter experts discussing some of the key trends, drivers, and considerations across various IT areas. We aim to do it succinctly and to deliver it in engaging, plain English – while also tying each technology area back to its eventual potential to positively impact both IT and business results. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Cisco and Collaboration

I’m at C-Scape, Cisco’s big analyst event which is held during Cisco Live, this week. One of the more interesting sessions was by Jonathan Rosenberg who is the VP and CTO of Cisco’s collaboration business. What caught my attention is that he opened with Metcalf’s law, which states that the value of a network is the square of the number of people on the network and he suggested this law also applied to communications tools. The reason this caught my attention is that it seems that most of the folks that are building collaboration/communications tools seem to believe that just building the tool is all you need. But, as Jonathan pointed out, if you don’t have a critical mass of folks actually using the tool it is worthless. He made a number of interesting additional observations let’s cover a few of them. Tools Are Gaining Communications/Collaboration Features According to Jonathan, there are a ton of developer tools that are gaining communications and collaboration features which may be causing some confusion about the purpose of these tools. This doesn’t change these tools into an alternative to email—the features just enhance these tools. However, they are creating (along with the social media stuff) a huge problem with regard to tracking the related conversations and managing them. The implication is there is an increasing need for a tool that can aggregate all of these conversations for the user. Kind of like the BlackBerry hub or Hootsuite for social media, but with far more reach. Cisco is developing just such a tool—a tool that can aggregate all communications—with WebEx Teams. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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