CA’s Perfect Storm (But For How Long?)
Nov16

CA’s Perfect Storm (But For How Long?)

LAS VEGAS:  This would appear to be the perfect time for CA Technologies, which has gathered its key customers and partners here for CA World ‘17. A growing data deluge, a sweeping digital transformation revolution, a heightening focus on security, and the exploding need for constantly evolving apps are all driving this perfect storm at which CA should be at the epicenter. However, neither a perfect storm, nor an epicenter can be weathered without severe risks, and based on the software giant’s most recent financial results CA’s success is still problematic. On October 25 the company reported FY18 Q2 revenue of $1.034 billion, and while that was up 2% year over year, net income was down 13% and bookings were down 1%. The outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year is approximately 5% increase in revenue to between $4.22-$4.25 billion, and a 5%-8% decrease in earnings per share. While painting an optimistic picture — highlighting the SaaS business growth, total new sales, Enterprise Solutions new sales, and Mainframe new sales “all outperformed the year-over-year decline in the renewal portfolio” — during the analysts’ call following the earnings report, CEO Mike Gregoire also noted “disappointing” sales execution in Q2. “In particular, velocity in sales outside of the renewal cycle of Enterprise Solutions products was short of our expectations.’ Overall, Gregoire said the company was well-positioned for the future. “We are well positioned in great markets, and our solutions are solving real problems for our customers.” CA sees itself as the toolmaker for the DT generation, pushing its modern software factory philosophy. Digital transformation should be an ISV’s dream market: spending on DT technologies will exceed more than $1.2 trillion this year, and continue to grow at almost 18% per year to $2 trillion by 2020, almost 20X the anemic growth forecast for the overall IT market. At last year’s event the company trotted out the its Built To Change paradigm, and reinforced it with the ‘Built to Change Summit’ in June. This week’s theme, No Barriers, is all about marrying CA’s own transformation experience with its products, services and expertise, to help its customers overcome the barriers embodied by DT, as Gregoire stated in his keynote yesterday. “The focus today is on innovating the next big shift for your company,” he said. “That is the number one priority we are focused on – providing you with solutions that will remove the barriers between your ideas and outcomes.” CA is helping a lot of companies to change, and Gregoire called out a few, including FedEx, Netflix and Citi, as well as telling the audience that they will be instrumental in...

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New Payment Processing Demands, New Pricing on IBM z Systems

The most difficult objection to overcome when it comes to mainframe adoption is price, especially acquisition costs. Mainframe hardware, compared to most x86-based servers, is expensive. And related systems software, middleware, transaction processing environments and management software can also be expensive. In head-to-head competition, x86 solutions almost always look cheaper – and, accordingly, IT executive managers most often purchase x86-based servers on the basis of that perceived lower price. With this new utility pricing model for payment processing, IBM has taken a giant step forward in using capacity pricing to process highly variable workloads to correct what some perceive as a punitive, even disastrous pricing scheme. By doing so, the company is also protecting its mainframe base as the transition to real-time pricing takes place and opening new, future opportunities for its z Systems as demands for stronger security and higher system capacity drive more prospects to consider z Systems mainframes. 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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[IBM LinuxONE]… Modernizing the Mainframe and…

IBM’s new LinuxONE systems are starting out of the blocks quickly with Secure Service Container technologies that will help customers adopt, deploy and manage maximally secure Docker EE and CaaS solutions. The new LinuxONE platforms also deliver the goods in terms of heightened performance and scalability. Overall, these latest generation LinuxONE offerings richly deserve their Emperor and Emperor II designations, and spotlight the value that continuing, evolutionary platform modernization offers to IBM and its customers. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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