The Mainframe Is Dead, Dying… or DT/DevOps-ing?
Jan19

The Mainframe Is Dead, Dying… or DT/DevOps-ing?

For decades pundits and competitors have been writing off the mainframe, AKA Big Iron, and while its market share has been eroded by newer platforms — as befits an industry where ‘what have you done for me lately’ is right up there with ‘Moore’s Law’ as Revealed Truth — it’s still alive and kicking: 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 at least some are arguing that despite its age — now in its ‘50s — the venerable platform that IBM powered to success is finding new life with a couple of the current industry darlings, Digital Transformation and DevOps. First, some industry factoids: the latest quarterly server data (3Q16) showed a drop in shipments (-2.6%) and revenues (-5.8%) year over year, with IBM plummeting -33% (to $889 million). However the datacenter systems market is expected to grow 2.6% this year, to $176 billion, which should benefit mainframe sales. According to many, the future does look brighter for the mainframe. When not pointing out HPE’s perceived faults, analyst Rob Enderle (and former IBMer) has covered Big Blue extensively and recently (October) noted that developments like cloud, analytics, Linux and Blockchain are offering new optimism for the embattled platform. ‘Suddenly, mainframes are not only not obsolete, they are cutting edge, go figure. Yep the mainframe is back, with a vengeance.’ Reporting on IBM’s annual year-end recap for the Systems group, analyst Joe Clabby, Clabby Analytics, noted that the mainframe’s future is positive. Big Blue was emphasizing Blockchain and HSBN (the company’s “high security business network”). ‘Blockchain serves as the basis for creating a new way to perform transaction processing, one that features a secure “open ledger” that is shared amongst all concerned parties during the transaction. This new approach streamlines transaction and business processes and enables significantly greater security that traditional approaches.’ IBM claims that it is making solid headway with this offering in the securities, trade, finance, syndicated loans, supply chain, retail banking, public records and digital property management industries. ‘For over 20 years, ever since industry pundits in the mid-1990s forecast the demise of the IBM mainframe, Clabby Analytics has taken the position that there is no other architecture better suited for processing secure transactions (and now in-transaction analytics workloads) than IBM’s z System. ‘Given this position, we see IBM’s new LinuxONE mainframe servers as ideally positioned to support a projected major market move toward Hyperledger and Blockchain transaction processing over the coming years. This movement should greatly escalate the sale of mainframe servers. Long live the mainframe!’ Released...

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CA: Shift Left Up The Value Stream
Dec01

CA: Shift Left Up The Value Stream

“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company.” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt In the late 1980s an analyst said IBM faced two bad choices: it could shoot itself in the foot, make drastic and expensive changes to survive, or it could wait until the market shot it in the head, at which point survival was unlikely. Almost 30 years later, CA Technologies has been grappling with the same dilemma: make drastic and painful changes or hope to survive when the market makes those changes for it. Originally focused exclusively on the mainframe market when it opened its doors in 1976, the company has set its sights on the Digital Transformation segment in general, and the Application Economy in specific. At November’s annual customer and partner event, CA World 2016, it highlighted its new motto — Built To Change — which pretty much says it all about the opportunity/challenge before it (and the rest of us), a world of constant change where the optimal application of speed and agility to new and emerging business opportunities is becoming the norm. While mainframes aren’t disappearing any time soon, they’ve long been replaced by other platforms as the ‘compute’ growth engines, so CA’s focus has had to change with the market. The company’s other core competence, software development, has also been under increasing pressure as the world moves to DevOps and the demand for cheap, fast and secure application development that addresses everything from mainframe to mobile, sensors (IoT) to the cloud. So CA has been remaking itself over the last few years and the new and improved software giant showcased a variety of new and improved offerings last week, including new DevOps capabilities with intelligent analytics and integrations for cloud services and virtual networks, and predictive analytics capabilities with machine learning for the mainframe. The company also reinforced its ‘shift left’ messaging, a term originally applied to moving testing to the left on a timeline, i.e. earlier, in the software development cycle. However, CA is using the term in a broader context. Customer expectations are never met, said CEO Mike Gregoire, they always want more. “We call that shift left.” The new digital world is all about “creative disruption and destruction”, said CA’s Ayman Sayed, President and Chief Product Officer, at last week’s event. The world as we know it is changing: “traditional business models are threatened, fading or obsolete,” and the company’s mission is to help customers win digital transformation, “breaking the barriers between ideas and outcomes.” A big part of the company’s...

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CA Embraces ‘Built To Change’ Paradigm
Nov17

CA Embraces ‘Built To Change’ Paradigm

LAS VEGAS: CA World 2016, November 14-18, is focused — not surprisingly — on the Application Economy, and the role it is playing in the unfolding digital transformation sweeping the world. As CA Technologies notes, we all want ‘great apps’ and it is in the business of helping companies create them across mobile, private and public cloud, distributed and mainframe environments, and has been doing so since it started life as Computer Associates back in 1976. With annual revenues around $4 billion, it has not been a vendor who dominates the industry, although it does lead in a number of areas like DevOps, identity management, APIs and their security. For its most recent quarter (2QFY17) the company exceeded expectations with revenues of $1.018 billion and income from continuing operations of $212 million. However, it’s new theme (they call it a paradigm), Built To Change, best captures everything that has come to be called digitalization, digital transformation and Industry 4.0. It’s not a new or unique view of the current environment — the concept has been around since at least 2006 — but it represents what going digital means to the world, its customers and prospects, and CA itself better than anything else I’ve seen (IMHO). Creating a business model that is built to last is “out of step with the new digital reality” said CA CEO Mike Grgoire in his opening keynote on Wednesday. He said the idea of sustainable competitive advantage has given way to the more contemporary concept of business agility: the ability to automatically sense, react and adapt quickly to shifting market dynamics. According to CA, ‘Built to Change companies understand that current structures and ecosystems are vulnerable to better ideas. From how they manage talent, to how they avoid being tied to fixed assets, to how they take risks, Built To Change companies focus on business agility, which in turn enables them to drive rapid, continuous improvement in customer experience.’ Perhaps to reinforce the importance of change — and its breakneck pace — Gregoire included a large helping of ‘the right stuff’ in his keynote. His opening presentation was followed by a panel session with astronaut Captain Scott Kelly, aerospace legend Burt Rutan, and rocket scientist Natalie Panek. The company announced a number of new and improved products at the conference, spread across its Agile, DevOps, Security and Mainframe portfolios. “Think of these as core capabilities you will need to move your organization into the future,” said Gregoire. The announcements included: -a new identity-as-a-service solution, to address identity and access management (IAM) needs for both on-premises and cloud-based applications; -new DevOps capabilities with intelligent analytics...

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Cisco AMPs Up Security From Datacenter To Endpoint
Nov10

Cisco AMPs Up Security From Datacenter To Endpoint

Having successfully targeted and gone on to dominate the networking and datacenter server markets, Cisco has set its sights on security, and from a new marketing slogan to its latest end-point protection product and pricing announcements, the company is committed to dominating this market too. “The two things that I think are going to be most important: Number one is security … and then moving fast in innovating over and over,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins. Over the years, Cisco has mastered the art of using market transitions to capture share, and it appears it is well on its way to doing so in the security market, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. The market transition that’s changing security is digital transformation. Digital businesses need to move with speed and be agile, but they also must be secure, but the traditional security model in most companies doesn’t allow this, he noted. Earlier this year the company changed its brand promise to: ‘We securely connect everything to make anything possible.’ Robbins added “securely” to the sentence, and the security team is now involved in virtually everything Cisco does. Security-by-design is the standard, he said. With its primary revenue generator, networking, under attack, and a slowdown in its formerly high-flying UCS and HCI server sales, security has been a bright spot. “Cisco is making good progress and achieving strong results along the way,” blogged Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst and the founder of Enterprise Strategy Group’s cybersecurity service, and is executing accordingly to take their [along with IBM] cybersecurity businesses to $5 billion and beyond. The company’s security business is now at a $2 billion run rate, doubling its AMP for Endpoint customers from 8,000 in November 2015 to 17,000 as of August 2016. It was Cisco’s largest growth area (up 16% year over year) during its recent fiscal fourth quarter, to $540 million, the third straight quarter of double-digit revenue growth. This growth comes at a good time, because while spending may be inching upward when it comes to overall IT budgets, security is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% through 2020, from $73.6 billion in 2016 to more than $100 billion. Other estimates put this year’s cybersecurity spend at $122.45 billion, and a 10.6% CAGR to $202.36 billion  by 2021. If the cybersecurity market has been looking good to Cisco, the endpoint security market, which is ripe for disruption, could be even more attractive. “In 2016, IDC expects security start-ups to continue to penetrate the enterprise endpoint security market segment as enterprises seek innovative solutions to detect ransomware and targeted...

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Has Dell Got The Winning Ticket To The DT Sweepstakes?

A significantly larger and much deeper-in-debt Dell has packed up the inaugural Dell EMC World event — 8,000 attendees — and will hold DEW2 next May in Sin City (or as I call it, Lost Wages). With the just-completed acquisition of EMC, the new enterprise business, Dell EMC, is the largest enterprise storage and server vendor, but while storage capacity and server unit shipments continue to soar, prices and margins continue to erode. In addition to the IT industry’s largest debt load, Dell added significant resources in enterprise storage (EMC), virtualization (VMware), cloud (Virtustream, Pivotal and ECS), networking (SDN/NSX), all-in-one appliances (VCE) and security (RSA). The company also has investments in 150 companies for future technologies. It moved into top spot in server shipments for the most recent quarter, while EMC tied for first place with HPE ($1.6 billion each) in enterprise storage, with Dell in third place. In total, Dell claims leadership in 20 Gartner Magic Quadrants, but where is the growth and profitability going to come from? At DEW 1.0, the company called out digital transformation (DT or DX) as its future, while beefing up its present with a variety of cloud, appliance, analytics, security and flash announcements. “I say we’re going to be the trusted provider of essential infrastructure for the next industrial revolution,” said Michael Dell in his keynote. We’re facing “the sunrise of a new era… digital dawn” and the opportunities are huge, he added. Or as GE’s CIO put it in a video at the show: “You go to bed an industrial company and wake up as a software and analytics company.” Technology is undergoing sweeping changes as a result of cloud, analytics, software-defined everything, Internet of Things, mobile and social, and these technologies/applications are helping to drive the digital transformation impacting every aspect of our lives. Dell is now the biggest enterprise IT vendor offering the broadest portfolio of hardware, software and services, while its two closest competitors fall further behind. IBM continues to struggle with growth while HPE continues to struggle with its smaller-is-more-agile-and-therefore-more-relevant philosophy. “At Dell EMC World you’re getting a look at the next great technology company,” said Dell. David Goulden, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Dell EMC, believes the company has first-mover status in both the datacenter consolidation currently driving the enterprise IT market, and in the emerging digital transformation. He also believes Dell is best-positioned because of its size and breadth. “We don’t see many customers say I want more partners.” They want fewer, more capable IT partners, not a bunch of point product vendors. He calls Dell EMC and its DT focus “a game changer.” Other...

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