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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Compuware Revs Up Mainframe Threat Detection By 30%
Apr06

Compuware Revs Up Mainframe Threat Detection By 30%

It is generally accepted that the mainframe, AKA Big Iron, is the most secure IT platform available, and a significant reason why: 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 things which are driving today’s dominant IT paradigm, digital transformation — cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security — are also increasing the mainframe threatscape, and Compuware is trying to do something about that. “It is the most secure platform by far,” said Compuware CEO, Chris O’Malley. But breaches happen, he tells IT Trends & Analysis, although most of these things that happen can be prevented. “Most of the breaches are from the inside.” That was the challenge a customer presented to Compuware, identify where and how recurring breach was taking place. The mainframe software vendor’s response led to Compuware Application Audit, a cybersecurity and compliance solution that ‘enhances the ability of enterprises to stop insider threats by fully capturing and analyzing start-to-finish mainframe application session user activity.’ The new standalone solution is a one-stop shop to: -detect, investigate and respond to inappropriate activity by internal users with access; -detect, investigate and respond to hacked or illegally purchased user accounts; -support criminal/legal investigations with complete and credible forensics; and, -fulfill compliance mandates regarding protection of sensitive data. A year ago the company partnered with CorreLog to provide a similar set of capabilities by integrating Compuware’s Hiperstation Application Auditing solution with CorreLog SIEM Agent for z/OS. The new solution brings a number of advantages, including collaborations with CorreLog, Syncsort and Splunk, to enable it to be integrated with popular SIEM solutions such as Splunk, IBM QRadar SIEM and HPE Security ArcSight ESM. While cybersecurity is not and won’t be a core focus of the company, Compuware Application Audit continues the company’s recent practice of making a major product introduction every 90 days. “We’ve put in more innovation in the last 10 quarters than our competitors have done in the last 10 years,” said O’Malley. The mainframe computing environment, with protocols dating back decades, is a new frontier of exploration for both the White Hat (ethical) and the Black Hat (criminal) hackers. “Ultimately we want people to understand that, because of its widespread usage as a core system in many critical infrastructures from finance to air travel; its relative obscurity; and lack of real wide-spread exposure to the hacking public; this system is rife with opportunities to be further secured and hardened.“  Chad Rikansurd (@bigendiansmalls) What he’s saying is that mainframe computing environments...

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