Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking back on 2008 - Year Review

Already my second year review. On the one hand it’s as though I only made the previous one yesterday. On the other hand, when I read it again, I realize how much of it I’d already completely forgotten. Or some things just fade away. I must admit I haven’t been on Second Life ever since.

In January the acquisition of Cognos becomes a fact. We'll see the realisation of this during the year with products like 'Cognos 8 Business Intelligence for Linux on System z'. There was also an interesting Share Market Review indicating that mainframe data and applications are not all that closely cooperating with distributed environments as we might sometimes tend to believe. I was also the month we saw the first z890 on eBay !

February brought us the Arcati Yearbook, but the main event was of course the announcement of the z10 EC, which we covered extensively over here and in the RealDolmen System z Newsletter. There's too much to summarize in a couple of words but there's e.g. the much faster processor, the introduction of the InfiniBand technology, the improved RAS . . . If you want to download the wallpaper I made for the occasion, it's over here.
At the same moment, there's a first announcement for the DS8000 as well with Extended Distance Ficon and Extended Address Volumes (EAV) which will be implemented with z/OS 1.10.
Another interesting announcement was that of Basic HyperSwap, you might say, the GDPS HyperSwap possibilities reduced to its essentials with a single site, IBM Storage and z/OS exclusive implementation.

For the first time in March, IBM announced a reduction in the price of z9 BC memory. We'll see that when the z10 BC is announced, there's even a further price reduction when the memory is bought in combination with a specialty engine.

In April IBM announces a new pricing metric for Websphere : 'Getting Started Sub-capacity Pricing'. It's intended for those who want to get started with small projects without immediately having to pay a lot. I must admit I haven't heard anything about it, since.

Some z10 EC elements only became available in May like e.g. OSA-Express3, the InfiniBand Coupling links and the Balanced Power Plan Ahead.
It was also in May that suddenly every one seemed to start focussing on specialty engines (especially the zIIP) and how to save money with them. I also made a list of ISVs supporting the zIIP at that moment. And I still think we've now reached some kind of turning point for many customers. So you really should start considering or re-considering whether specialty engines are also something for you.

In June DB2 turns 25. So it's older than many young people who are just starting out their careers on mainframe. Current version by now should be DB2 V8 as DB2 V7 is also going out of support this very month.

IBM took over PSI in July. Lots of people are quite unhappy with this as the 'mainframe emulation' territory seems to become a barren desert.
In July, we also saw the new TS1130 Tape Drive with faster throughput (160MB/sec) and larger tapes of up to 1GB (uncompressed).

In August there were quite a lot of announcements from IBM. The DS8000 is definitely here to stay for a while. We see the introduction of Raid-6, 450 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel Disk Drives, Variable LPARs ...
New Operating systems are announced : z/OS 1.10, z/VM 5.4 and z/VSE 4.2 and we first hear of IBM CICS Explorer, the new face of CICS.
And there's more, the TS3500 library gets new, driveless frames with at least 2,5 times the capacity of former frames due to a new tiered cell structure.

September started with a new challenge for my company as Dolmen and Real Software merged into NV RealDolmen.
There was also the pre-announcement of IMS V11. So don't tell us IMS isn't alive and kicking or as we read in the Mainframe Update blog : 'IMS - still life in the old dog !'.
For the DS8000 and DS6000, the 500GB FATA disks are put to rest, the replacement coming in 2009 with 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA disk drives.

In October, the main event was of course the announcement of the z10 BC (and z10 EC GA2). No announcements last year, two announcements this year. The z10 is "smart, cool and affordable". Again we have the faster processor. We also leave the 2-model approach of the z9 BC behind. Other new features are new OSA-Express3 cards and the zHPF feature - once again improving the FICON performance.
There are also some important tape storage announcements in October. The current Virtualization Engine (TS7740) can be upgraded with additional cache drawers going from 6TB to 9TB of cache. There are also new models which will have up to 14TB of cache. And, you no longer need a separate frame for the Library Manager. But there's more : there's also a new, disk-only Virtualization Engine (TS7720) that can have 70TB of uncompressed data.

November. Oh yes, there were wallpapers for the z10 BC, too. And we had a webcast on the new IBM CICS Explorer. 'The Master Terminal', a new blog since March 2008 from the Hursley people, gives us the links to the necessary SupportPacs.

For December, there's not that much to mention. In October CA announced support for the zIIP for IDMS and Datacom and there was a webcast on it this month. And if anything drew a lot of attention this year, it's definitely the specialty engines. The list of zIIP uses is growing and IBM itself put the IFL in the spotlight with its own Project Big Green. I think this, combined with the New Enterprise Data Center (NEDC) will surely be one of the spearpoints of IBM's strategy for 2009.

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