SHARE in Orlando: Opening Keynote Celebrates Mainframe Strength in Age of Disruption

By Megan Oster

Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President of IBM Systems at IBM Corporation, kicked off the opening general session of SHARE in Orlando on a note of celebration — both for SHARE’s 60th anniversary and the progress of the mainframe. In an era of disruption across industries, the mainframe’s attributes have helped it remain a strong contender among other leading technologies. All industries have gone through automation, with smartphones as a key driver. Their widespread adoption has changed everything. Due to continued innovation efforts on the part of the industry, the mainframe is evolving to not only work in accordance with mobile technologies, but to thrive.

During his keynote, Rosamilia talked about how when IBM announced the release of its z13 mainframe in January of this year, the company did so in a very different way from previous technologies. It framed the z13 in the context of mobile, cloud and security. The mainframe’s agility in how it handles each is critically important in this day and age, and especially for future generations.

Mobile is altering entire industries, Rosamilia proclaimed, as he discussed IBM’s partnership with Apple on apps, and how Apple’s expectations of click volume gave the mainframe developer a new perspective. Initially, IBM designed one appwith a 40-click user experience, which Apple did not find acceptable. Make it three clicks, Apple ordered. The compromise? IBM reduced the number of clicks on the front end, but retained a robust volume on the back end. Given the details that apps must process on the back end — for example, payment type — it was important to avoid eliminating crucial pieces. The “roots” of an application are the systems of record beneath the user experience, and hybrid cloud marries the two together beautifully.

Analytics is another powerful force transforming the industry, one that Rosamilia called a game changer. He stressed that distinguishing the signal from the noise is important. The analytics of today will not matter tomorrow, so users must make decisions with analytics the same day (for example, when determining the best way to fight fraud using analytics). The z13 mainframe is very good for analytics, as its memory and cache are filled with analytics workloads.  This feature is especially advantageous because, on average, people make 11 copies of their data — so inevitably, some of the time spent on data processing involves moving data off onto a different platform. Running it on z13 Linux would be a significant improvement — a possibility the industry is eyeing.

Rosamilia also touched on the rising popularity of hybrid clouds, sharing that 70 percent of organizations are pursuing hybrid cloud as an environment. To Rosamilia, hybrid cloud is about systems of engagement and systems of record, workflow, event processing and other processes that take place on the back end. The z13 offers unique features that support these processes, making it a good cloud server. Furthermore, it is cost effective. IBM has repeatedly measured the cost of z13 as a private cloud server against other platforms, and each time has found that it is less expensive.

The most encouraging takeaway from the session was that far from falling to the back of the herd, the mainframe is poised to lead the pack into a new era of technological advances and innovation filled with endless possibilities. It will be exciting to see how many additional innovations the mainframe helps bring to fruition.

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