Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates
Apr05

Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates

For the better part of 40 years I’ve been updating the mainframe’s obituary, but like Monty Python’s infamous ‘flesh wound’ skit, it has continued to linger on. Now – even with the accelerating skills shortage – it appears that Big Iron is back with a vengeance, gaining more new customers than are moving off the venerable platform, attracted by its brute power, flexibility and security. It seems cloud, mobility and customer empowerment are all better on the mainframe. Mainframe software ISV Compuware has been seeing the growth in the market, and it’s recent survey provided empirical proof, said CEO Chris O’Malley. He told IT Trends & Analysis that everyone who was using “a hope-and-pray strategy that the mainframe would go away” are being disappointed. Not only are organizations “walking away from trying to shift from the platform,” but the mainframe is growing in popularity. “We’re also seeing things like mobile and analytics causing new workloads to be moved to that platform.” This mainframe renaissance is atypical of the IT industry, where vendors are always searching for new, better and different, and dumping commodity hardware. It wasn’t that long ago that rumors surfaced that like its PC, printer and server businesses, Big Blue’s mainframe unit was up for sale. But that was then, and now, Big Iron is once again big. “You remember the mainframe, that platform that supposedly was dead back in the 1980s,” recently asked analyst Rob Enderle, Enderle Group? “Well, once again IBM showcased there is evidently life after death because that puppy grew more than a whopping 70 percent year over year.” Not only is the mainframe alive and kicking, it’s also drawing interest from unexpected quarters. IBM’s “Master the Mainframe” annual contest designed to teach students to code and build new innovations on the mainframe drew almost 17,000 students this year. “A look at the demographics of this year’s event reveals some real eye-openers: 80% of the registrants were new to the program; the average age was 22 – with participants as young as 13 and as old as 68; and 23% of participants were female,” noted analyst Billy Clabby, Clabby Analytics. The Compuware study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that 72% of customer-facing applications are completely or very dependent on back-end mainframe workloads, and users are running more of their critical applications on the platform – 57% of enterprises with a mainframe currently run more than half of their business-critical applications on the platform — with that number expected to increase to 64% by 2019. “Before the advent of Linux on the mainframe, the people who bought mainframes primarily were people who already had...

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IBM’s… Back to Kicking Butt

I’m ex-IBM myself and it gives me great pleasure to see my old firm do well. Well this quarter they didn’t disappoint with significant improvement in their new business initiatives, which are just short of 50 percent of revenue. You remember the mainframe, that platform that supposedly was dead back in the 1980s? Well, once again IBM showcased there is evidently life after death because that puppy grew more than a whopping 70 percent year over year. Let’s talk about IBM’s results and why IBM, after 100 years, is again able to perform at the top of their class. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke
Nov30

CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke

Whether it’s via a perfect storm, product onslaught or the ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ times, CA Technologies appears to be making steady, if slow, progress from its mainframe roots to the app-fueled digital transformation world where trust, AKA cybersecurity, is essential. Changing a $4-billion company is proving challenging, especially when you consider that the bulk of your business is tied up with a mainframe environment synonymous with slow and steady, as befits the platform that holds between 70-80% of corporate data and affects 70% of enterprise transactions. The software developer may be pushing the ‘software factory’ theme together with fast and agile DevOps, or the newer handle, DevSecOps, but that doesn’t mean it’s customers are comfortable with rapid changes. Not that they have much choice: only 12% of the Fortune 500 survived the period between 1955 and 2016, and up to 50% of the S&P 500 ranks are expected to be replaced over the next 10 years. So disruption is the name of the game, and CA is doing its best to change its spots and become the essential go-to partner for fast and agile DevSecOps where ‘everyone is responsible for security with the goal of safely distributing security decisions at speed and scale to those who hold the highest level of context without sacrificing the safety required.’ That’s a mouthful, but the stakes are mind-boggling, with the potential to take CA’s total addressable market from mainframe billions to DT/DevSecOps trillions. “The ability to manage change, respond to new inputs or insights and pivot has never been more important,” said CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire in his opening keynote . “Our entire portfolio is designed around the pillars of the Modern Software Factory to increase the velocity, security and performance of the solutions and the apps that are critical to our customers’ businesses.” He said the company is on a “deliberate journey”, balancing creation and execution and morphing from a solutions company to one that is focused on “accelerating business values.” Operational efficiency isn’t enough, Gregoire added. “First among the tools to confront these challenges is your Modern Software Factory. It ensures that your company is built to change and can adapt to an accelerating digital world.” We may be app-driven, but without security, you’re looking at a world of pain. With DevOps, CA helped break down the barriers between development and operations but “we don’t think about security,” said Gregoire in a media scrum following his keynote. The application is the weakest link in your chain, he said, so you need security involved right from the start, with the coder. However, rather than best-of-breed standalone tools, customers are...

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CA: Connecting the DoTs

To help address the emerging multi-trillion-dollar app-driven digital transformation business phenomenon, CA Technologies made more than 20 new and enhanced product announcements at CA World ‘17. That might seem like a lot, but not when you consider that even after decades of consolidating and rationalizing its software portfolio, the ISV still lists 192 separate products on its website (courtesy of the approximately 70 companies acquired since opening its doors as Computer Associates back in 1976). While its efforts to expand the non-mainframe portion of its business — 65% of total revenues last quarter — seem to be taking longer than expected, CA’s emphasis on four pillars, or what Ayman Sayed, President & Chief Product Officer, called patterns — 1-making the products simpler to use and driving faster time to value; 2-SaaS availability; 3-openness, i.e. any infrastructure, any platform; and 4-AI — figured prominently in the innovation onslaught. Innovation was repeated often in the keynotes and one-on-ones. ”Most everyone in our industry is operationally efficient… but that’s not enough,” said CA CEO Mike Gregoire. “Our job is to break down barriers between technology and innovation,” referring to the event’s ‘No Barriers’ theme. Whether it’s built internally or bought, the company’s promise “and the holy grail” is to take innovation, integrate it with its other offerings and make it a “force multiplier”, he said. The innovations were intended to help address some of the impacts customers are confronting, he said. There has been a shift from building products to providing and supporting business outcomes. Customers are also demanding more intelligence, and security is becoming a bigger concern and a challenge, he added. Customers were another focus for CA, and as important as the announcements were, the “most exciting” news were the “170 customers joining us to talk about using our products to transform themselves,” said Sayed. Then he talked about the products, including the company’s latest artificial intelligence initiatives. CA combined the up and coming technology with its mainframe roots with solutions that ‘help customers speed time to resolution by 5X, reduce insider threats and cut operational expenses by 25%.’ “Through A.I. and machine-learning powered intelligent automation, CA’s new mainframe solutions enable increased insights across broader sets of data,” said CA’s Ashok Reddy, GM, Mainframe, in a prepared statement. It’s not a new concept or term, but as part of its security focus CA is pushing the concept of DevSecOps. In announcing new tools that integrate security throughout the software development lifecycle, Sayed said this approach is “critically important”, and the tools are now available across the company’s Automic, Veracode, and Continuous Delivery portfolios. “Companies that embrace DevSecOps deliver better and...

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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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