…The Mainframe Comes Back With a Vengeance

I’m at IBM Edge this week and in an IBM z Systems presentation. This is a bit of a “Back To The Future” segment for me because z Systems is the latest implementation of the IBM Mainframe which I first learned to program on. If we went back to 1984 when I entered the tech market, that decade the common belief was that the mainframe was dead as an architecture. But at the heart of the mainframe was the idea that computational power was more efficient if centralized, and that a system optimized on I/O could better handle a massive number of clients than individual remote systems. While initially individual servers better segmented workloads; thanks to virtualization and the idea of “the cloud” once again the concept of the mainframe is trendy, albeit as a sort of super-server at scale. But, recently, blockchain has turned the mainframe from being competitive to becoming cutting edge—and rather than chasing industry standard servers, suddenly it is leading them. Let’s talk IBM z Systems this week. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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BMC & Random Acts of Insight

LAS VEGAS: I got to speak to a number of people at last week’s BMC Engage 2016 Global User Conference, including a number of BMC Software execs who made a number of interesting comments that haven’t appeared in any of my stories yet. Here are a few colorful quotes in my Random Acts of Insight: BMC Paul Appleby Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, BMC: “The past couple of years we’ve doubled the number of new products we’re bringing to market.” Bill Berutti, President, Performance & Analytics and Cloud Management/Data center Automation, BMC: “The timeliness of us going private was fortunate… the digital revolution is happening in every company… disrupt or be disrupted… At the same time IT budgets are not going up. And by the way, the world is changing really, really fast.” “We’re now getting more relevant to the business.” Jason Andrew, GP and VP, BMC:  “We’ve added 900 new customers in the last 12 months.” “If you want growth you want new customers and don’t lose existing customers… we’re winning marketshare… and we’re changing what the addressable market is.” Sean Hinton, Area Director, Canada, BMC:  “It’s all about business outcomes and trying to engage with our customers that way.” “Engagement, user experience… that’s what it’s all about.” Big Iron (aka Mainframe) BMC Chairman and CEO Bob Beauchamp: “I think it is a competitive advantage that 25% of our business is mainframe.” John McKenny, VP Marketing and Customer Support of ZSolutions, BMC: “We’ve added amost a hundred customers… for MLC.” “IBM has very complex pricing… and most folks really stlruggle with what makes up that bill every month.” Security Robin Purohit Group President, Enterprise Solutions Organization, BMC:  “Security is the number one thing thing that can disrupt digital transformation.” DevOps Beauchamp: “By the way you’re all software companies. Congratulations!” Purohit: “The developer is king as you go digital.” Digitalization Beauchamp: “Go digital or go extinct…” “98% of digital data was created in the last two years. That will be true again next year.” DISCLAIMER: BMC looked after airfare and hotel....

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BMC: Go Digital or Go Extinct

LAS VEGAS: My primary objective for attending management software vendor BMC Software’s third annual customer/partner event, BMC Engage 2016 Global User Conference — other than its Sin City venue — was to try and understand how a 36-year-old ISV that got its start in the mainframe business (and which still accounts for 25% of its revenue, although packaged as a separate business) can reposition itself as a leader in digital transformation (DX). Even with more than 10,000 customers, including 82% of the Fortune 500, and around $2 billion in annual revenues (estimated, since it’s been private since 2013) that’s a seemingly outrageous claim to make, the old proverbial tail wagging the dog. If a quarter of BMC’s revenues are still based on Big Iron, the other 75% represents a broader set of tools for the rest of the market, including another 25% of its revenues coming from ITSM, or ITSSM as Gartner calls it, and who just crowned BMC (21.3% market share), along with ServiceNow (34.4%), as the two leaders in this segment, valued at $2.2 billion in 2015, in its Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools. An interesting sidenote to this is that a few months ago ServiceNow announced that it had entered into a covenant not to sue for patent infringement with BMC for a term and took aggregate charges of $270 million for litigation settlement expenses related to its litigation associated with BMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. ServiceNow had been accused by BMC of infringing on eleven of the patents in its portfolio, and BMC has also filed similar additional suits against ServiceNow in the U.S. and Germany. Fast forward, and BMC Engage had the (mis)fortune of taking place while a number of mega-deals were transforming the IT industry’s biggest players: Dell completed its EMC acquisition in the industry’s biggest merger; HPE spun off another piece to become a $28B entity, a mere shadow of its glory days of a few years ago when bigger was best, revenues over $100B annually, not bust (although it still owns sizeable shares of both its services and software spin/mergers); and Intel finally accepted that trying to successfully run  a security business was anything but complementary to its chip core. BMC’s message has been that businesses must digitize to survive, and it can help them do so. While that might sound strange, given its history and current size, the company has been thriving, in a more modest way than its much bigger newsmakers. The message that the world is changing and business must change with it is hardly new or profound, but the underlying reality is that the...

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BMC: Doing the Right Things

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  Peter Drucker LAS VEGAS: IT is moving from the back office to the boardroom, from making businesses more efficient to making them more effective, and to paraphrase Peter Drucker, all aspects of information technology, including the current darlings — cloud, mobility, analytics, IoT and social — will have to enable businesses to do the right things, at the right places and at the right times, or the businesses will fail. That’s part of the challenge confronting Houston-based BMC Software, a management software vendor that started in the mainframe business back in 1980, broadened its portfolio to IT operations management (ITOM) solutions for on-premise and cloud environments, and went private in 2013. This week the company, with more than 10,000 customers, including 82% of the Fortune 500, is hosting 2,300 attendees at BMC Engage 2016 Global User Conference. The theme — and the company’s focus of late, at least from a marketing perspective, is digitization and what it calls Digital Enterprise Management (DEM), unveiled at last year’s event. “With Digital Enterprise Management, BMC is providing a clear path to successfully manage this digital transformation,” said BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp, last September. “From the mainframe to mobile to the cloud, our solutions allow companies to improve the speed and lower the cost of digital service development, deployment, operation and maintenance.” Digital transformation is not just a technology trend, it is at the center of business strategies across all industry segments and markets, stated IDC. PwC calls the digital enterprise ‘Industry 4.0’, and according to its recent survey of over 2,000 senior executives from nine major industrial sectors and 26 countries, the implications are incredible. Respondents expect to increase annual revenues by an average of 2.9% and reduce costs by an average of 3.6% p.a. These results pale in comparison with the “first movers” who combine high investment levels with advanced digitisation: “they’re already gaining a nearly insurmountable advantage over competitors’. Representing just 4% of the respondents (71 companies), first movers ‘are far more likely to be forecasting both revenue gains of more than 30% and cost reduction of more than 30% at the same time.’ The numbers for the ITOM or IT operations and service management (ITOSM) market vary, but it is a significant and growing market populated by such vendors as Microsoft, BMC Software, Oracle, IBM, HPE, CA Technology and Dell. Last year it was worth $17.44 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2016 and 2024 ($30.96 billion), growing nearly twice as fast as the overall IT market worth nearly $2.4 trillion in 2016, and...

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Compuware: Mainframe Showtime or Showdown?
Jul06

Compuware: Mainframe Showtime or Showdown?

In an industry that can best be characterized by “What have you done for me lately?”, the continued existence of the mainframe is somewhat perplexing. While rumors are circulating that the IBM zSystems (mainframe) division is up for sale, Compuware is continuing its quarterly release cycle cadence with a set of new products and announcements intended to keep Big Iron relevant. Hardware may be mainly about Moore’s Law and smaller, faster and cheaper, but after more than half a century (52 years young, but who’s counting), the mainframe continues to chug along. Almost all Fortune 100 companies – 90% according to IBM – are mainframe users. In addition: -71% of all Fortune 500 companies have their core business on the mainframe; -23 of the world’s top 25 retailers use a mainframe; -92% of the top 100 banks use a mainframe; -10 out of 10 of the top insurers use a mainframe; -more than 225 state and local governments worldwide rely on a mainframe; and, -9 of the top 10 global life and health insurance providers process their high-volume transactions on mainframe. However, the world, especially IT, has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, and today everybody is talking about mobile, cloud, analytics and social, and that means more changes, more frequently. Seeking to bring continuous delivery and DevOps to the mainframe, the Compuware has announced code deploy capabilities in its mainframe SCM solution, ISPW, to  help facilitate and speed the SCM-to-production pipeline. It also announced an integration with XebiaLabs, which will encompass the mainframe as part of cross -platform, continuous delivery efforts; and an integration with ConicIT, to help IT operations teams identify and resolve application performance issues rooted in the mainframe. Asked how these announcements position the mainframe against newer — and less-expensive — platforms, Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley told IT Trends & Analysis “It definitely levels the playing field… in the critical first steps the customers has to take to bring DevOps to the mainframe.” He said the first steps include addressing the accelerating release frequency — instead of 6, 12 or 18-month software release cycles, organizations are dealing with monthly, weekly and shorter timeframes; testing the new code; and managing the code to be more agile. In addition, there is also making the whole process accessible to a broader audience, so that the issue of a highly skilled mainframe workforce that is at or nearing retirement does not become an insurmountable barrier. “When you get to that point, the mainframe is now equal to any other platform,” said O’Malley. “I’m trying to make big aggressive statement in the market, it’s showtime!” In his blog about...

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