Wednesday, January 14, 2015

IBM z13: Redefining the Mainframe

 By Rich Ptak

After celebrating 50-years of mainframe success, IBM was not about to rest on its laurels. Rather, it was time to shake up the market! This is exactly what they are doing with the launch of IBM z13, the high-end of a new generation of mainframes!  A brand-new chip design, more features, expanded memory, greatly increased cache and more open than ever, IBM z13 is full of good news.

There are too many changes in this latest incarnation of the mainframe to cover in detail. We offer a few nuggets to show what drives the demand for mainframe computing and what IBM z13 delivers. Mainframe innovation continues unabated with over 7,000 mainframe-related patents since 1964, with more than 500 issued last year.

Its success spans multiple workload types. Workloads include transaction processing, data serving, and mixed workload processing. It delivers leading-edge operational efficiency, sets the standard for performance in trusted and secure[1] computing, remains legendary in reliability, availability and resiliency[2] – delivered in a package with virtually limitless scalability.

These continue, but computing has changed. New workloads and increasing sophistication in the ways of using/accessing technology emerged. Today’s users and applications demand specialized capabilities in a platform designed for and able to provide:
  • World-class data and transaction handling specifically for a mobile generation;
  • Integrated transaction and analytics for right-time insights at the point of impact and optimal application;
  • An efficient and trusted cloud that transforms and improves IT economics.

IBM z13 is designed from the ground up to support these tasks.

IBM designed capabilities into IBM z13 to optimize cloud support in all implementations, enhance its big data & analytics processing capabilities, expand support for enterprise mobile applications and build on existing world-class security. These define and drive the next generation of computing. The full impact of IBM z13 features, capabilities and functions will be analyzed over the coming months. Here are a few of the highlights we know today.

Real-time analysis reduces the time to get actionable insight and information from very large datasets. Linux, Java and zIIP workloads perform faster thus reducing the number of systems required and improving economics. Users get real-time reporting as analytics workloads run faster with accelerated processing. More data can be kept on-line and accessible for analysis with advanced accelerated data compression further reducing storage costs.

Linux developers and architects benefit from enterprise grade Linux with access to previously z/OS-exclusive functionality, such as IBM zAware, for real time device management, IBM GPFS (announced earlier) and with  plans for future delivery of the GDPS virtual appliance.

A new, uniquely designed 8 core-processor chip lies at the heart of the IBM z13. The system has a modular, drawer-based design based on 22nm Silicon Technology and offers up to 141 configurable cores. Capable of supporting up to 10TB of RAIM memory, data services (handling, access, analysis, etc.) are optimized with newly redesigned, larger sized caches. Data encryption, including ISPEC and SSL, benefits from augmented Cryptographic Assist Co-Processor Facility (CPACF). Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) allows larger and more complex mathematical models that get to the results more quickly.

Cost effectiveness and efficiencies are improved the economies of scale from large increases in throughput for workloads using Linux and zIIP specialty engines. Required disk space and data transfer times are reduced as a result of improvements on on-chip hardware compression. Later this year, the IBM z13 will add support for KVM virtualization to existing Red Hat and SUSE virtualization. Computing costs are lower for medium to large scale implementations as IBM z13 can support up to 8000 virtual servers on a single system.

The list of improvements continues. We will cover these and other enhancements in future blogs and papers. IBM summarizes how the IBM z13 is reinventing enterprise IT for the digital business as follows:
  • Designed for data and transaction serving for the mobile generation
  • Designed for integrating transactions and analytics for insight at the point of impact
  • Designed for efficient and trusted cloud services to transform the economics of IT
In our opinion, this next year of mainframe computing will be extremely interesting for both the user community and IBM.


Friday, January 9, 2015

BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0

By Audrey Rasmussen

BMC recently released BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0, which expands its capabilities to help manage capacity and keep IT aligned to the digital business in today’s dynamic, hybrid environments. The new product name is the result of BMC’s new “TrueSight” product branding, but the latest version evolves BMC’s capacity management solution.

Capacity Management Matters Even More

At first glance, pairing capacity management with the dynamic scalability of Cloud computing seems like an oxymoron. However with Cloud computing’s “pay for what you use” model, the cost benefit of optimally timing the scaling of resources up and down can add up to significant savings. Additionally, when Cloud is combined with other technology trends, they collectively increase the importance of capacity management.
The emergence of trends like Social media, agile development, Web and Mobile are significantly increasing the volume of interactions and data, while speeding up process cycles. So as businesses innovate faster and develop new and more apps to reach existing and potential customers, IT capacity requirements fluctuate dynamically, and the pace of change accelerates to the point where it’s difficult to keep track of it all.
In addition, applications running in corporate data centers and/or in the cloud, complicate matters even more.
BMC’s latest release (10.0) of TrueSight Capacity Optimization aims to help address the challenges of capacity optimization in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

Reservation-aware Capacity Optimization

Reservation-aware capacity optimization is a new feature of release 10.0, which is the ability to incorporate IT resource reservations from planned projects, into capacity plans. By providing insight into the timing of future IT resource requirements, IT staffs can intelligently plan for, ensure they can deliver IT resource commitments successfully to their business counterparts, and optimize the balance between cost and service quality.
IT staffs will have a more complete view of future capacity requirements with 10.0 because it combines planned future demand (reservation-awareness) with current capacity/ usage planning (based on actual performance and monitoring data) that is already delivered by TrueSight Capacity Optimization.    

Capacity Pool View

Also new to release 10.0 is the Capacity Pool View, which is a dashboard showing at-a-glance status views of capacity pools. It graphically displays usage, risk and efficiency metrics for each capacity pool. See Figure 1 below. The Capacity Pool View provides better visibility into the status and risk of their capacity pools, enabling them to better manage current and future capacity. 

Extending Cloud Support

BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 now integrates with OpenStack-based clouds, via a built-in connector to OpenStack NOVA APIs. As OpenStack continues to gain traction in the market, this new integration extends BMC’s capacity management reach to broader cloud infrastructures.

Our Final Perspective    

In today’s increasingly competitive and fast paced business climate, IT staffs have to deliver well-performing, high quality IT services faster and better. BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 extends IT’s capacity visibility by adding the impact of future IT demand with existing capacity, through its reservation-aware capacity optimization. This enables IT staffs to be more confident that they can support new IT-dependent business initiatives as they come onboard in the future.
BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 increases capacity visibility for IT staffs and managers, which in turn, should help reduce the IT capacity-dependent risks for new business initiatives. IT staffs now have better visibility into capacity demand, enabling them to deliver sufficient IT resources for new business initiatives, while wisely timing the delivery of services for cost efficiency.
The new features in version 10.0 moves BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization forward in helping its customers more effectively manage capacity in today’s dynamic and hybrid cloud environments. This extends and builds on BMC’s established legacy in capacity management and supports the company’s vision to help transform the digital enterprise. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Compuware Topaz – Mainframe Software for the 21st Century

By Rich Ptak

A newly privatized Compuware is setting out to significantly impact the mainframe marketplace. The changes started before the acquisition by private equity firm, Thoma Bravo. Compuware now focuses exclusively on mainframe software products, while the distributed application performance management products reside in spin-off Dynatrace. This makes sense as the escalation in the use of technologies like Cloud, Mobile, Big Data/Analytics, Security, etc. are recognized as natural mainframe workloads. Some 80% of the world’s corporate data originates on the mainframe with some 30 billion business transactions executed every day. Wise CIOs are re-examining their existing mainframe infrastructure, but many are not as they face two problems:

1.     Lack of experience with and knowledge about the mainframe itself impedes understanding its current utility, as well as its potential;

2.     Mainframe expertise is becoming a scarce commodity among computer architects, developers and operations staff.

Big problems that have no easy answers, but these are exactly what Compuware has decided to attack with the release of Topaz, a developer productivity solution designed to help a new development workforce increase their understanding of mainframe data and applications.

Topaz is the first product release from the new Compuware. It establishes a brand-new direction for mainframe product vendors. It is targeted specifically to enhance the productivity on the mainframe of developers, operations and architects without deep expertise on the platform. It does this by using Open Standards technologies, design goals that include simplification and a deep understanding of both the mainframe and non-mainframe environments.
 Topaz is designed to allow non-experts to improve the operational efficiency and performance of mainframe applications without becoming experts in the intricacies of mainframe functioning. In addition to its standards-based technologies, its key functionalities include a universal data editor, a relationship visualizer and host-to-host copy capabilities. Let’s examine the need Compuware wants to address, and then we’ll discuss what they deliver.
Read our complete take at: