Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Moving ahead with Linux and Open Systems

By Rich Ptak/Bill Moran

IT staffs tend to love technology; it’s who they are. They want access to the latest technology to learn how it can be used. But outside IT, not so much. Other parts of the organization tend to focus on achieving financial, operational, performance and service delivery goals, not using technology just for its own sake. Career prospects for those perceived as pure technologists can be dim. It is also true that creating new business opportunities with technological enhancements and propositions can change that. Unfortunately, more often, the introduction of new technologies is delayed, which is not good for the individual in IT or for the organization as a whole, especially in today’s world.

Why? Simply put, it’s an explosion in the application of technology that is upending traditional business/organizational operational models which drives much of today’s success. Mobile, Big Data, IoT, open systems, etc. combine with global competition to make the data center critical to the successful resolution of 21st Century problems. It is increasingly evident that the acquisition and implementation of new technology is justified on the value it delivers to the organization.

This isn’t hype. At the recent OpenPOWER Foundation Summit[1], an international mix of technology leaders and executives from more than 113 high tech organizations told story after story of how fast-moving, innovative, and responsive IT staff in their data centers were driving organizational transformation and success. The payoff was in the solution to seemingly intractable problems in medicine, retail, research, telecommunications, mobile, etc. Driven by open-source software, led by Linux, and embodied in true open-source hardware and open systems, technical IT can exert a powerful influence as the key driver of business (enterprise) transformation.

How can you progress new technology and advance careers? One tactic is to identify a technology with a unique business value needed by your organization. An open systems example is POWER8 with Linux. A unique benefit is its ability to easily manipulate and manage very large data sets. Necessary if one is implementing applications that will generate, manipulate and analyze large amounts of data. POWER8 with Linux is a perfect fit (see examples in an upcoming blog[2]).

Become the person in your organization who identifies where a new technology’s unique features can deliver greater business value. For example, an application on Power8[3] with CAPI (an accelerator) can quickly analyze massive amounts of data to discover insights on an individual and use it to create messaging tailored to that specific user. You will need to reach out and demonstrate to the business or the operational side of the company how they benefit directly. Identify what problems are solved, e.g. improved user experience, more timely reporting, better decision making, etc. You may want to form cooperative partnerships with other groups to identify more opportunities. Being identified as the one who can leverage technology to gain a business or competitive advantage will make it easier to justify new technology and benefit your career.

[3] For more on Power8 go to  and download the PDF or EPUB, skip to the Architecture and Technical Overview section. Power8 material starts on page 28. The early parts of this book cover many configuration details about the IBM Power Systems S812L and S822L of interest when configuring a system. CAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface), a key hardware innovation in Power8 is described beginning on page 35.