Will Cloud DevOps Re-Energize ‘Big Iron’?
Oct05

Will Cloud DevOps Re-Energize ‘Big Iron’?

Not only has ‘Big Iron’ shrugged off its naysayers — suffering neither Monty Python’s ‘flesh wounds’ nor Mark Twain’s ‘reports of my death’ — the mainframe appears to be poised for a renaissance, one that software developer Compuware hopes to accelerate with its recent DevOps announcement for Amazon’s popular AWS cloud platform. “We’ve made Topaz [its flagship solution for mainframe Agile/DevOps] into what customers are evaluating and incorporating as a force multiplier,” said CEO Chris O’Malley. “The next step is bringing Topaz to AWS,” he told IT Trends & Analysis, accelerating DevOps availability to “minutes instead of months. In some cases, it can take more than a year for competitive products.” The mainframe, or at least IBM’s version, has been a staple of IT for more than 50 years, and it shows no signs of disappearing. The numbers speak for themselves: 55% of enterprise apps need the mainframe; 70% of enterprise transactions touch a mainframe; and, 70-80% of the world’s corporate data resides on a mainframe. However the installed base appeared to be shrinking as newer, less-costly alternatives proliferated. Annual mainframe system sales have declined from a high of about $4 billion earlier this decade to $2 billion in 2016, accounting for just 3% of IBM’s total revenue (although the associated hardware, software and technical services accounted for nearly 25% of IBM’s sales and 40% of its overall profit last year). Apparently Big Iron is back in vogue. According to a new study, the global mainframe market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 2.58% between 2017-2021. In March it was reported that mainframes had reached an inflection point where they will either continue as a revenue-supporting mechanism or evolve into a revenue-generating platform. “IDC believes that the mainframe has a central role in digital transformation; businesses that do not take advantage of its broad range of capabilities are giving up value and, potentially, competitive advantage,” the research company stated. ‘The mainframe is not going away, but the way that you use it will change,’ noted Robert Stroud, Principal Analyst, Forrester, in a blog entitled DevOps And The Mainframe, A Perfect Match?. ‘Containers and microservices are coming to every platform, including the mainframe. Gradually breaking large monolithic applications into smaller services will help you transition to a containerized future that promises faster application delivery, greater scalability, and better manageability – regardless of the platform.’ A month ago IBM refreshed its z series mainframes with the LinuxONE Emperor II. “LinuxONE is a highly engineered platform with unique security, data privacy and regulatory compliance capabilities that doesn’t require any changes to developer or open source code, combined with...

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IBM LinuxONE: A Strategy Refinement

Clabby Analytics has argued for years that IBM needs to do a better job of explaining which workloads belong on which servers (x86, Power Systems, mainframes). Our primary argument has been that microprocessors process workloads differently; and systems are designed differently – meaning that workloads perform better when placed on systems that are best suited to process them. IBM has traditionally resisted providing such guidance, leaving sales teams and customers/prospects to work out which workloads belong on which processors/servers. Last year, we took it upon ourselves to publish this report in which we discussed which workloads belong on LinuxOne vs. x86 servers. Robert Francis Group also published a similar report. IBM, on the other hand, continued to focus its sales efforts on server consolidation and the price advantages LinuxONE had over distributed x86 server environments (upwards of 30% cost savings for certain workloads). This year, IBM seems to have gotten the message: to further increase sales of LinuxONE its going to have to do some workload positioning work. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM Enhances Spectrum Storage…

IBM’s February 7, 2017 software-defined storage announcement was so chock full of new capabilities for the company’s Spectrum Storage and Cloud Object Storage, it’s tough to sum it up in one sentence or even a paragraph. But a look at the history of IBM Spectrum Storage will provide some context and illustrate IBM’s prime objectives: consistency, integration and flexibility. The Spectrum Family of software- defined storage was first announced in February 2015 — a rebranding of existing IBM storage solutions with names more indicative of their functions. In early 2016, IBM announced the IBM Spectrum Storage Suite, a single capacity-based license that includes all the IBM Spectrum Storage offerings. Over time, the suite has become more of a “family”, with a consistent user experience across products by using IBM Storage Design Language (based on IBM design language) and improved integration between members of the product family. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Virtual Instruments Acquires Xangati…

Almost two years ago we wrote our first report on Virtual Instruments (VI), a fast growing, analytics-driven performance management company with a strong focus on making infrastructure more efficient. We described the VI product portfolio which included “VirtualWisdom,” the company’s infrastructure performance management platform, and associated hardware and software offerings known as “Probes” (ProbeVM, ProbeSW, Probe FC and Probe NTAP). We also observed that the company was using “advanced correlation techniques, analytics and visualization to provide definitive and actionable insights on infrastructure/application behavior” using hardware appliances to offload systems from having to burn precious cycles gathering monitoring information. In essence, VI had created a separate performance monitoring/availability management/utilization optimization environment that has a very low impact on system operation and latency. Last year, we reported that Virtual Instruments had merged with Load DynamiX – adding a performance testing, validation and change management environment to its analytics-driven infrastructure management portfolio. With these combined facilities, customers are better able to understand and test application/infrastructure relationships – enabling them to significantly improve application performance, particularly as it relates to Fibre Channel storage. Since that acquisition, Virtual Instruments has expanded Load DynamiX functionality into network-attached storage with its new NAS Performance Probe – and will soon introduce and iSCSI Probe. VI customers have reacted favorably to this acquisition: for 2016 year to date, Virtual Instruments revenues are running at 122% of plan. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM… Outthink the Status Quo

IBM Edge 2016 featured the company’s Storage, Power Systems and z Systems as foundations for the evolving cognitive computing era. Cloud computing was positioned as the delivery platform for digital innovation – including technology innovation, collaborative innovation and business model innovation. The theme of this year’s conference was: “Outthink the status quo.” Statistics from this year’s IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) Study support the company’s overall strategic directions. 72% of study participants selected technology as the main game changer for the first time, while 70% of Chief Experience Officers (CXOs) plan to extend partner networks and 80% are experimenting with different business models. As always, the conference included many customer success stories to reinforce IBM’s key messages. While I will cover primarily storage and software-defined infrastructure in my review, there were other interesting storylines that piqued my interest this year–including Blockchain and the Open Source project Hyperledger. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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