Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?
Oct19

Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?

Cisco originally pitched a story focused on its latest initiatives to address the ‘IT skills and knowledge gap’, which is a big and growing problem, and while the just-released AI-powered predictive services can be folded, spindled and mutilated into a ‘talent-gap cure’, it appears more to be just a really good set of business solutions. The costs and resources required to keep the datacenter lights on can account for 70-80% of IT budgets, said Bryan Palma, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Advanced Services, but while improving efficiencies and uptimes will pay a huge business dividend, that doesn’t mean those freed-up resources will translate into the IT skills and knowledge required to facilitate the new IT reality, digital transformation, which by one estimate will be worth $493.39 billion by 2022, and is speeding along at a CAGR of 19.1%. The new services, available immediately, fall into two categories — Business Critical Services and High-value Services — and are extensions of what the company has been providing for some time, said Palma. Services is the second largest business unit at Cisco, at $13 billion and 25% of revenues, with 90% of its services revenue recurring. A big part of the company’s competitive advantage is its installed base of 50 million networks, he told IT Trends & Analysis, and the telemetry data from that provides Cisco with a better picture of what’s going on in the IT environment than practically every other vendor. Professional services can leverage that data to help customers shift their focus from maintaining their datacenters and network infrastructures to finding new ways to improve customer services and generate revenues, he added. “At the same time we’re seeing that IT has been more defensive and they are looking to be more offensive, and that’s where we’re looking to take them.” Calling it a new portfolio of subscription services, Business Critical Services ‘deliver more capabilities including analytics, automation, compliance and security by Cisco Advanced Services’ technology experts’. “In the past it’s been called optimization,” said Palma, and as part of their ongoing focus on constant improvement, have made a number of improvements. “What we’re trying to do is give them the flexibility to move with their strategic options.” The new service benefits include helping minimize human error by: reducing complexity and cost through automation, orchestration, and technical expertise; accelerating business agility and transformation through advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities; and reducing risk with automated compliance and remediation services.The business outcome objectives are to help reduce downtime by 74%, resolve issues 41% percent faster and reduce operational costs by 21%. The other side of the services portfolio, Technical Services,...

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ThinkPad 25 Celebrates 25 Years of Solid Innovation

It is not often we get a collectible notebook. I’ve had a few over the years—the ThinkPad Butterfly, the Acer Ferrari Laptop, and there have been several Dell collectibles like the Dell Adamo. Unlike most laptops, even when these are “done” from a computing sense you generally keep them because they are a part of history. One of the most iconic brands in notebooks however is the ThinkPad. The ThinkPad arguably had the first “collectible” (the only one I sadly didn’t keep) and they just recently announced their 25-year anniversary edition—the ThinkPad 25—in limited quantities. Unlike many of the collectibles I’ve mentioned—which were often both pretty and relatively fragile—the ThinkPad 25 reflects its business roots. Like a collectible truck—as opposed to a collectible sportscar—it is comparatively robust. Let’s talk ThinkPads this week. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM’s LTO-8 – Building a Bright Future for Tape Storage

Hang around the IT industry long enough and you notice that rumors of the impending demise of some product or class of products are always making the rounds. Sometimes they’re honest opinions expressed by canny industry-watchers. More often they reflect the hopes of desperate vendors trying to poke holes in competitors’ cash cows and/or businesses. Most importantly, they’re generally wrong. Why do I say that? Because if you examine the evidence, you find that technologies tend to die for one of two reasons. The first are vendor-led extinctions where a vendor decides to pull the plug on a given technology (or the market pulls the plug on the vendor). For example, HP’s 2000 acquisition of Compaq and its subsequent adoption of Intel’s Itanium CPUs resulted in the company killing its own HP-UX chips, as well as Compaq’s Alpha and Tandem silicon. Technologies also die when they fail to keep pace with alternatives or lose the faith of core customers. Data storage technologies provide a rich smorgasbord of examples, including the appearance/disappearance of 8-inch, 5¼-inch and 3 ½-inch floppy disks, and Iomega’s Zip and Jaz drives, all of which were driven under by decreasingly costly/increasingly popular HDD and CD/RW technologies. Which brings us to tape storage, particularly data center-focused tape technologies. Those have been under a death-watch since 2002 when EMC introduced its Centera platform, the industry’s first HDD-based solution for data archiving, long a tape bastion. More to the point, despite surviving well beyond competitors’ hopes and expectations, tape storage also continues to evolve as evidenced by the new generation LTO-8 offerings just announced by IBM. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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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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