New Syncsort Tool Simplifies Big Data Analytics for the Mainframe

By Dan O’Brien

With its scale and processing capabilities, the mainframe is particularly well suited to running Big Data analytics. Now, a new tool is making it even easier for companies to leverage their existing infrastructure with Apache Spark, one of the most popular analytics platforms on the market.

Fortune reported in September that the tool, developed by Syncsort, makes the traditional process for moving data between systems--extract-transform-load--obsolete. By simplifying the connection between z series Systems and Spark, the whole process of running analytics becomes less of a hassle.

Spark is a natural target for this type of tool. Its usage is now so widespread, that job search site Indeed reported an increase of more than 2,250 percent in its presence in job postings between January 2014 and 2015. According to the website Dataconomy, Spark can sort 100 TB of data faster than any other system in the world. (It's also worth noting that in June, even IBM committed $300 million and 3,500 employees to further develop Spark.)

But to make the most of this processing power, organizations needed a faster way to connect their mainframe with the platform. Otherwise, the data would be old and out of date before they could pull any meaningful insights from it.

Dataconomy predicts that the introduction of this tool will be nothing short of revolutionary for the mainframe: "It opens a multitude of possibilities for old methods and technologies to be merged with those on the cutting edge. Whether mainframe users were stymied by technical realities or an out-­of-date mindset, today they are getting a second chance at life."

Now, "a second chance at life" might be a little dramatic. Anyone who's deeply involved with the mainframe knows what a crucial engine it is for industries that deal with vast amounts of sensitive data--the government and financial services, just to name two. So, it certainly isn't anywhere close to fading away. But simplified analytics do expand the sphere in which businesses will leverage the mainframe's power to glean actionable intelligence.

As with all things mainframe, SHARE provides a wealth of resources to help keep enterprise IT professionals abreast of new developments around analytics. For more of our insights, check out our previous blog posts on the topic, as well as session materials from presentations at the recent SHARE in Orlando event. Business needs evolve, but two things remain the same: the mainframe's ability to help organizations stay ahead of the curve and SHARE's ability to connect and educate enterprise IT professionals every step of the way.

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