Friday, June 22, 2007

Five Year March to Simplification ?

Last october IBM announced its Five Year March to Simplification with an investment of $100 million "to enable technology administrators and computer programmers to more easily program, manage and administer a mainframe system (...)".
Yesterday there was a press release that you might very well call the first visible result of this initiative : 'IBM Simplifies the Mainframe With New Consolidation and Security Software'. The subtitle indicates that this is an initiative that's intended to go beyond the scope of current mainframe shops. IBM "Launches "IBM Destination z" to Speed Migration to the Mainframe".

The announcement is twofold. Firstly, there's the 'software simplification' part, mainly focusing on enterprise management and security. It's e.g. the Consul suite announced as the Tivoli zSecure V1.8.1 suite. There's 'IT Value Based Analytics (ITVBA)' which is some kind of charge-back management ("relating IT costs to business services") software. And there's once again the positioning of z/VM as THE virtualization platform. I must admit, at first sight I'm not immediately seeing the benefit of these in terms of simplification towards "managing and administering a mainframe system".

Secondly, there's IBM Destination z. IBM calls it "an online meeting place (available at for customers, systems integrators, IBM Business Partners, software vendors and academic institutions to connect with each other and with mainframe experts, access development tools and the latest mainframe solutions. IBM Destination z provides links to platform economics -- such as total cost of ownership tools -- and case histories that reveal financial and business benefits (...)".

Again the focus is much more on 'simplifying' your 'IT environment' in terms of consolidating distributed systems to the mainframe platform and offering information to the SMB companies about the assets of using the mainframe platform. It's a valuable initiative, that's for sure. But I personally expected the simplification initiative to cover other grounds. I expected to see some real simplification in terms of mainframe system administration like e.g. the promised new versions of 'msys for setup' and 'msys for operations' - as was announced at first. You can read some quotes of that first announcement over here. I have the impression IBM is starting off with the second step of the process, which would've been lots easier and more attractive if they had first implemented their initial promises. Correct me if I'm wrong !

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