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
Clearer
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 !