IBM Think 2018: The Data + AI Inflection Point

IBM has consolidated its many customer/partner conferences (Interconnect, World of Watson…) into a single conference, now called “Think” – a once yearly, one-stop-shop for details on IBM products and strategies, customer/user strategies and implementation, product demonstrations, strategic planning (with access to industry/product experts) and hands-on laboratories. Now customers and partners need only take one trip each year to get access to IBM executives, product experts, deployment advisors, support personnel, planning personnel and more. Further, a rich ecosystem of third party hardware and software suppliers, VARs, systems integrators and partners also attend Think, ready to share product information, strategic insights and implementation suggestions. Finally, the Think agenda is rich in educational opportunities, including dozens upon dozens of customer and vendor presentations designed to share real world experiences with interested attendees. I approached Think with a goal of understanding “who” IBM really is. The opening keynote; a closer look at some of the technologies that I follow as well as some that I don’t regularly follow; my attendance at IBM’s 5 in 5 session; and off-the-record candid discussions with IBM customers and business partners all contributed to my new view. My view? That IBM is an ethical, forward thinking technology leader with a desire to have a strong positive moral impact on business and society. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest…

IBM has been running “Master the Mainframe,” an annual contest designed to teach students to code and build new innovations on the mainframe, since 2005. This year almost 17,000 students joined the competition, driven by a desire to experiment with a brand-new technology to them (a mainframe), as well as the non-threatening, no-experience-required environment where a student can develop a skill in a teachable, virtual environment. A look at the demographics of this year’s event reveals some real eye-openers: -80 percent of the registrants were new to the program; -The average age was 22 -with participants as young as 13 and as old as 68; also, -23 percent of participants were female. The 80 percent number is notable because it reflects high interest in the mainframe and its revitalization. The average age is interesting because even 22 year-olds (or thereabouts – millennials…) want to experiment with the big machines: mainframes.  But the 23 percent number is equally compelling – females, who usually do not pursue careers in technology, made up almost a quarter of the registrants. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM Storage Hits the Ground Running in 2018

On February 20, 2018, IBM announced enhancements and new solutions in its storage portfolio designed to ease customer’s adoption of data-driven, multi-cloud architectures including IBM Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and others. Businesses continue to struggle to modernize traditional workloads (VMware, Oracle etc.), adopt next generation applications (Spark, Hadoop), and deploy development tools such as application refactoring (Docker, Kubernetes). In response, IBM is providing a broad range of software defined storage solutions to make this transition smoother, more efficient and cost effective. IBM’s flexibility also continues to be a differentiator, with support for multiple cloud architectures, an impressive number (> 440) of storage arrays from multiple vendors, and a wide variety of deployment/pricing models. Customers are responding very well to IBM’s strategy. The company enters 2018 with four strong quarters of revenue growth in 2017. With a focus on higher-value solutions, including software defined storage, all-Flash and modern data protection, those product areas dominate IBM’s storage business. This latest announcement includes new offerings and enhancements across the company’s entire portfolio. However, in this review Clabby Analytics will highlight new offerings in modern data protection (Spectrum Protect & Spectrum Protect Plus) and network-attached storage (Spectrum NAS). We believe that these products, in particular, fill existing gaps in IBM’s product line and provide more feature-rich, scalable and easy-to-use solutions for small and mid-size businesses. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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…Compuware Introduces Topaz on AWS…

If you asked me three years ago what I thought of Compuware, I would have described it as “a point product company in managed decline.” At the time, Compuware was bifurcated between mainframe point solutions and application performance management software. Sales had softened; it was slow to release new products; and its portfolio was “stagnant.” In short, the company was struggling. But, in late 2014, everything changed for Compuware with a cash investment infusion; the hiring of a new, more focused management team; major changes in company culture (including a stronger emphasis on innovation); and the introduction of a new strategy with a strong focus on Development/Operations or DevOps, build/deploy; data management and cybersecurity. Accordingly, I wrote a report at the end of 2015 that described the new Compuware. Nearly two years later, I see Compuware as a company focused on making it easy for customers to consume its product offerings – while at the same time being optimized to create new products and services. Its two most recent announcements include expanded Topaz on AWS (Amazon Web Services) solutions support for CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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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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