Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I've been blog tagged

There's this game running around in blogland where you get tagged by a fellow blogger. Once you're tagged you have to tell 8 things about yourself and tag 8 other bloggers in order to continue the game. As you already guessed, it's my turn now. I got tagged by Trevor Eddolls from Mainframe Update who in turn got tagged by Craig Mullins, Willie Favero etc.

So here we go
  1. I see that many bloggers are real music lovers and it's not different with me. My favourites : Frank Zappa, John Cale, Pearl Jam, The Boss and definitely Prince. I just counted that I have some 50 bookmarks to Prince related websites.
  2. I got two different degrees (or whatever you call it). I first graduated as a teacher and later on went back to study Germanic philology (Dutch and English).
  3. I actually stood in front of the class for some time and really enjoyed the teaching. But then I got this opportunity to follow a computer course at IBM. Little did I know this would be the start of a mainframe career.
  4. So I started out some 20 years ago as a Cobol programmer with CICS and IMS in a VM/VSE environment.
  5. I'm a Harry Potter fan. I read the last book immediately when it came out. And I was glad to see my theory about Snape was correct (you see, I told you so !). In the meantime I read it again in translation (Dutch).
    But just to prove you I also read other stuff : I've read Ulysses from Joyce entirely. And if I might give you another tip : House of Leaves from Mark Z. Danielewski.
  6. I live in Belgium near Ghent and my mother tongue is Dutch. I live there with my wife and two sons (age 17 and 19). No pets.
  7. I'm a complete fool when it comes to mathematics and electricity.
    And I never succeeded in making the Rubik's cube completely. Those damn last four blocks !
  8. I love all kinds of science fiction. My favourites are : Star Trek, the Alien and Terminator series, Star Wars . . .
Who to tag next ? I can't seem to find that many who haven't joined the game yet. So I'll start off with these fellow bloggers : James Governor, Timothy Sipples and Kristine Harper, Will Runyon and Ian Hughes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A history of DB2

I started working with DB2 in 1990 and if memory serves well that must've been V2.2. And if I recall correctly, though it wasn't a version but only a release upgrade, V2.3 introduced some really new (revolutionary) functionalities like e.g. packages.
Why do I mention this ? Well, Willie Favero started some kind of 'anthology' of DB2 last week triggered by some discussions on the DB2-L List. And as he says, it's like taking a "stroll down memory lane". I really enjoyed the first three and I'm looking forward to read the following posts. Here are the posts so far :
I'll try to add the links as they get posted - and check out if I'm right about those packages . . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

New mainframe in February ?

I've been away for a couple of days last week and I didn't find the time to post. But now I'm back and as I'm catching up with everything, I'll make some posts on it.
There's e.g. this rumour going round telling us about a new mainframe in February.
I saw it on the IBM-Main Discussion List, Willie Favero picked it up in his blog and it was also mentioned on the Mainframe Blog. They all refer to this quote by IBM's Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge :
"In 2008 we’ll move to our next generation mainframe, with announcement and availability in late February. This next generation System z has 50 percent more capacity than the current z9, enables unprecedented levels of workload consolidation and extends mainframe’s leadership in energy efficiency, security and resiliency."
So far I've only found one source trying to make up a profile of this new mainframe. It's in some sample pages of the 'Mainframe Market Bulletin' you find over here.
We'll only find out how much of it is true when (if) it gets announced.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

z890 for sale on eBay

Last week I bought some low price tickets on eBay. I mentioned to my wife that you can really find everything on eBay. You name it, it's there. I must say I didn't have recent mainframes on my mind at that moment. But yesterday on the IBM-Main discussion list I read that there was actually one for sale for the moment (thanks to Dan Squillace). As not every one is checking out the list every day, I thought I might mention it over here, because time is running out. And for the moment the bidding went from $995 to $14.800 for this 2-IFL machine. I'm curious where it will end. Take a look, it's over here. And for those who don't get to see one of those every day, there're lots of pictures included.
Little update : the bidding was closed at $40.000. Good luck to the buyer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ESJ and the SHARE market survey

The Enterprise Strategies Newsletter from Enterprise Systems intrigued me with a title of one of their articles "Reality Check: A Closer Look at System z's Late-2007 Stumble". It tells the story of how the mainframe sales "stumbled" during the third quarter of 2007. But they cannot really pinpoint a particular reason for it and say not to worry because the future looks bright. They refer to a SHARE market survey among mainframe users illustrating this.
The survey is over here. It's split into two parts : the executive summary and the report itself.
The key findings of the executive summary :
At least half of the surveyed sites still use hand-coded
scripts to move data from their mainframes to other
platforms or databases. Mainframes store and manage much
of an organization’s enterprise data. However, most of this data
remains inaccessible in these environments.

Most mainframe sites share only a small portion of their
data across enterprise systems. A majority, however, do need
to make what data is available viewable on a real-time basis.

Close to one out of four respondents’ companies have SOA
efforts now in progress, and another one-third are planning
or considering SOA. At least half of these efforts will employ
mainframes in a central role.

Most SOA efforts do not yet have an enterprise reach.
However, many companies are preparing SOA to meet real-time
requirements. Approximately 40 percent of companies are
deploying or considering event-driven architecture-seen as a
real-time adapting of SOA.
Just browse through the survey, it contains lots and lots more information than just that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cognos Shareholders Approve Acquisition by IBM

It's final now, "Cognos shareholders have approved the previously announced arrangement whereby International Business Machines Corporation, through an indirect subsidiary, will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Cognos for US$58.00 in cash for each Cognos common share. The arrangement was approved by approximately 99.8% of the votes". So the arrangement is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2008. Read the entire Cognos News Release over here. For more info you can refer to my previous post on this acquisition.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2008 End Of Support Dates

Looking forward now again.
I think this is one of my shortest posts ever and it's self explanotory, so if the shoe fits . . .
  • 30/06/2008
    EOS DB2 UDB Server for OS/390 and z/OS 7.1.0 (5675-DB2)
  • 30/09/2008
    EOS z/OS 1.7.0 (5694-A01)
  • 05/11/2008
    EOS IMS 8.1.0 (5655-C56)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Looking back on 2007 - Serious now

Often when I start a new post there's a tune stuck in my head accompanying it. Sometimes I mention it, usually I don't. So I'm starting off 2008 with a quote from Pearl Jam. You see what I mean :

Saw things
Once you, were in my...Rearview mirror...

Time to take a last look in our rearview mirror on 2007. Of course I’m mainly interested in mainframe and related high-end storage. And sometimes things that don’t happen can be important too. There was no announcement of a successor to the z9 after three consecutive years of announcements. Let’s wait and see what 2008 will bring us ?

In January two new pricing mechanisms saw the light of day. There was zNALC, the common successor of NALC and z/OS.e. A more important pricing method to VSE customers was MWLC which introduced sub-capacity pricing to this community along with z/VSE V4.
And there was the acquisition of Softek by IBM with a.o. their migration product TDMF.

In February there was a preview of z/OS 1.9 and the announcement of z/VM 5.3. With z/VM 5.3 IBM stresses two major assets : the Virtualization Factor which we already know for decades and the lower energy consumption and cost effectiveness of the mainframe platform.
CA announced broad support for the zIIP engine for products like CA-Vtape and more important they said also IDMS would follow within the next 12 to 18 months. I’d say it’s about time for CA to tell us more about this in the near future.

DB2 9 goes GA in March. It offers a completely new hybrid data server supporting the storage of both relational data and XML data in their native format.
The Arcati Yearbook shows us that many companies still have got work to do as 33% still uses z/OS 1.4 and this historic release is End of Support by the end of the month.
GDPS 3.4 is also announced and it’s very promising to see that IBM attempts to cover disaster recovery enterprise-wide extending GDPS to ‘open’ systems as well.

In April CICS TS for z/OS V3.2 was announced. The message : CICS can be a central control point in your SOA environment. IBM even sets up a program where CICS specialists visit customers (at no cost) to talk about the benefits of CICS TS V3.
Another major announcement is GA3 for z9 EC and GA2 for z9 BC. Highlights are numerous. I especially remember the LPAR Group Capacity for software capping and the change in CBU strategy for the z9 BC. The z9 BC R07 model now also allows CBU to all z9 BC S07 models. I think this really was a must.

In May IBM thanks Vanguard for its services as since the acquistion of the Consul Products in December, 2006 IBM is working on its own zSecure Suite.
IBM launches their Project Big Green and allocates $1 billion to advance green technologies and services. It’s more than this but of course I’m personally reading ‘mainframe’ all over.
The ‘Gameframe’ catches the attention of the international press as it is said that IBM will integrate the Cell Broadband Engine (yes, the one used in the Playstation 3) into the mainframe as a specialty engine.
Bad news for small mainframe developers as they will no longer be able to prolong their FLEX-ES contracts and they don’t really have an alternative except for buying a small z9 BC. This might in the long run affect the users too.

June was the month I explored Second Life as IBM had just opened a new Virtual IBM Business Center. IBM is really putting great effort into these virtual worlds and has a firm belief that this will make part of all our future business lives.
IBM goes on with its ‘Five Year March to Simplification’ and introduces
IBM Destination z. Still, I had the impression that this was not so much about simplification of mainframe administration. To me it turns out to be more about the consolidation itself of distributed platforms to the mainframe.

July-August. During the holiday months IBM delivers on one of its statements of direction offering support for the small TS3400 Tape Library for all mainframe operating systems. This tape library contains up to 2 TS1120 Tape drives and two removable 9-cartridge magazines.
In August IBM also takes the next step in its Project Big Green by setting the example itself. It starts the migration of 3.900 servers to some 30 mainframe servers.

September seems to have been a quiet month too. Since z/OS 1.6 goes End of Support and z/OS 1.9 goes GA, there’s the announcement of the z/OS 1.9 Migration Checker. A nice occasion for me to put some migration reference materials together.

October on the contrary was quite a busy month with lots of announcements. There’s Tivoli Decision Support for z/OS V1.8, Encryption Facility for z/VSE and already a preview of z/VSE 4.2. Another major one is of course the announcement of IMS V10 and there’s NTP client support for the Server Time Protocol.
The DS8000 also gets an important announcement with performance enhancements like Storage Pool Striping and a completely new caching technology. And there’s the long awaited Space Efficient Flash Copy.

In November IBM announces the acquisition of Cognos taking over one of the major business intelligence players.
IBM also announces DB2 server for VSE and VM V7.5. Other bloggers must have noticed my lack of enthusiasm regarding this release as IT Jungle summarizes I find this release as ‘exciting as a new pair of socks’.

In December the company Sine Nomine demonstrates OpenSolaris on System z. You can find some movies of this on Youtube.
And there’s the announcement of COBOL for z/OS 4.1. This version is a compiler only version equivalent to the former alternate version.

OK, enough of 2007, here's 2008 and there's already another tune in my head. Prince this time :

I've seen the future and it will be
I've seen the future and it works
Let's go and find out !