Monday, June 22, 2015

The value of the mainframe - The IBM z Systems Conversation Hub

Already a couple of years ago I started to label some of my posts with 'Mainframe going strong'. The initial idea was (and still is) to give you the necessary arguments to advocate the mainframe to the non-believers or to those who really don't have a clue about the advantages of the mainframe. Well, the posts have gotten quite numerous over the years. Have a look by following this link.

And here's another great site that can help you promote the value of the mainframe within your own company : the IBM z Systems Conversation Hub. The starting point is the following
"You know that IBM z Systems can enable your company to make better-informed decisions, meet more robust business goals, build a single source of truth and design the most personalized customer experiences.

Now it's time to convince your business.

Explore the topics below for direct conversations you can use to build a business case for z Systems in your organization".
It's built around six topics and each time you get a quick view or you can 'read more' which gives you some sort of microsite about that specific topic. The topics are :
  • The benefits of a system built for data
  • Make your business mobile-enabled with z
  • Point of impact analytics with z
  • Why z is the best cloud platform
  • Protect the business with z
  • Open flexibility with z
Don't expect white papers, but I think this might actually be a good thing. Call it whiteboarding or elevator pitching but I've experienced that you are sometimes much better of with two or three well-prepared short messages than with elaborate argumentations. So e.g. for 'Mobile' these are the cliffhangers
  • Our mobile apps need core data from z Systems
  • Now we can handle a flood of mobile transactions and sensor data
  • Mobile customers won’t wait
  • We can increase mobile access without the risk
  • Mobile apps integrate fast with z Systems
If you have some convincing to do, here's the place to get started !

Thursday, June 18, 2015

IBM Interactive 3D Product Catalog

This is a really fun way to explore some of IBM's hardware products in detail. The IBM 3D Product Catalog does exactly what it says. You can explore lots of hardware in a 3D fashion. You might remember that for the latest mainframe releases, there was also a 3D demo. Well, it's the same concept or they regrouped each and every demo over here.

There are 5 categories (each with some subcategories)
  • Systems and servers (Power and z Systems, Linux)
  • System Storage (Disk, Tape, Flash, Storage Solutions)
  • System Networking (Rack and Fiber Channel Switches)
  • Solutions (like the DB2 accelerator)
  • Integrated Solutions
You can click on a system, perform some actions, zoom in on cards or other features and you each time get some contextual information.Here's e.g. some info on the single chip module.

There's also an app of this, but unfortunately (at least for Android) a lot of the content does not seem to be available. Well, don't let that spoil the fun !

Friday, June 12, 2015

End of Marketing - End of Service

Last week some one asked me the difference between End of Marketing - End of Service and End of Support. Perhaps it's interesting to share that information with you as well.

End of Marketing is the date IBM stops selling a product. This is always announced well beforehand through, yes, the announcements, or as it's also called, the IBM Offering Information Page. Mind you, most of the time, withdrawal of marketing is announced at a feature level. Take e.g. the DS8000, you've seen pass by a lot of announcements regarding e.g. the DS8300. They do not withdraw THE DS8300 all at once. And I must admit, sometimes it's a bit of a puzzle. Can I still order the base frame, an expansion frame, this kind of disks or that kind of adapter. You sometimes really have to dive into the announcements. When you don't find the answer on my blog, that is, of course.

I don't find any real evidence about this but I'm pretty sure End of Service and End of Support are the same. I think the official term is End of Service. This means you can no longer get the official support from IBM for a specific product. A product can mean hardware or software of course.

So, there's a couple of places where you can look for End of Marketing and End of Service information. Officially it's always in the announcements. Allthough I must say that I usually go looking in the 'Sales Manual' which you can also look for on the same Offering Information Page. At the beginning you always find the 'Marketing Withdrawn' and 'Service Discontinued' dates. Be sure, however, to look in the right region. Because there are differences.

There are some pages where you can also find information for specific products.
  • z/VM has its own IBM page where you can find a summary.
  • z/VSE also has it, but pay attention, it's split into two : there's a page for the supported versions and a page for the unsupported versions.
  • Or you can find our latest newsletter. There's always an overview of the latest operating systems as well, including z/OS.
  • Another important one is the Support Lifecycle page where you can find lifecycle information for all softwares.
  • And there's another document I sometimes refer to where you can find information on the mainframe lifecycles. You can find it on TechDocs.
Because of the Mainframe Lifecycle document I must repeat my caution that you really have to check things for your own region. I had a look at the document and was quite suprised to find out that the z900, the z800 and the z990 were already End of Service as of December 31, 2014. So I had another look at the Sales Manuals only to find out that this was only the case for the North American Region and that for EMEA no End of Service was announced yet !

Thursday, June 4, 2015

End of Marketing of z/OS 2.1 is January 25, 2016

In the past, the marketing of one z/OS release stopped at the moment that the new release became available. Over recent years this was always in september. But for z/OS 1.13 there was an exception as z/OS 2.1 became available in september 2013 and you could still buy z/OS 1.13 up to January 2014.

Well, the same is now happening with z/OS 2.1. I already wrote about the preview announcement of z/OS 2.2 in my blog and now there's an announcement of System z Softwares and their End of Marketing date : 'Software withdrawal: IBM z Systems platform selected products -- Some replacements available (ZP15-0188)'. As the preview states, planned availability for z/OS 2.2 is September 2015. The announcement this week indicates that z/OS 2.1.0 (5650-ZOS) will be withdrawn from marketing as of January 25, 2016. And of course z/OSMF as well.

Have a look at the announcement to check out any other softwares you might be using (or wanting to use).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#XIV - Roundup of our executive briefing and Accelerate with ATS

Yesterday we had our Executive Briefing on XIV with an introduction from Eyal Zimran (CTO Storage IBM Europe) and a customer testimonial from Colruyt, an XIV customer of ours. And I can tell you, this was the most convincing part of the seminar. Let me give you a couple of quotes from their presentation
  • They came from DS8000 and the only thing they could conclude is that for their distributed systems, the performance of the XIV was way better than what they achieved with the DS8000.
  • The slide I liked the most was the one that wasn't there : Management. Since their statement was that this box absolutely has NO management effort whatsoever, the only thing they could've done was adding an empty slide on Management. 
  • And this also struck me : the savings they had on energy alone already paid back their investment
And, as you know, the customer is always right !

If you want to catch up with the most recent evolutions on XIV, here's your chance with a new 'Accelerate with ATS' teleconference. The content : "There are enhancements to how we view XIV Snapshot utilization that we would like to present. And we will also discuss the recent XIV announcements of 6TB drives, support for VMware VVOLs, and XIV Energy Star certification".

It's on June 18, 2015 at 6.00PM Brussels Time. Details and registration over here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Forget Singapore, all mainframes are manufactured in my home town

I admit, this is just a fun post. I could have saved it for April 1, but it's a bit too obvious, but still, funny. I live in a small town in Belgium called Wielsbeke and there's a crossroads I'm passing by at least ten times a week and only last week my attention was suddenly drawn towards a couple of road signs that must have been there for really quite some time. I wasn't aware of it but apparantly the z13 is manufactured in my own home town. Here's the proof. And you can see, all the previous generations as well. But they definitely took another direction for the z13.

But there's more, and here's the real scoop, and you don't even have to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) for it : they're already manufacturing the next generation as well. I can already give you the name : it will be a z14 ! Heading once again in a different direction.

Now all I still have to do is work my way into one of those factories !