San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, was just invaded by the men and women who form the heart of IT for enterprises around the world. This most welcome invasion of mainframe experts at SHARE 2017 was a not-so-subtle reminder as to which technology, and IT experts, do most of the work with most of an organization’s critical data today.
I met a number of Valley IT locals and talked about mainframe’s 24x7x365 availability and using mainframe machine data to power big data analytics. They were impressed and knew about Splunk, but were just learning about the value of mainframe machine data. One local asked if this event would be featuring Watson. I laughed and explained that Watson, of course, is no mainframe and even needs naps!
Watson may be powerful, but its no mainframe. You won’t catch the DS8880 or z13 sleeping on the job!
As a former storage geek (anyone remember StorageTek and Iceberg (aka IBM RVA?), seeing these beautiful “twins” on display at the IBM booth warmed my heart and reminded me how our “kids” have grown and gotten smarter and stronger over the years. Not identical twins of course but little DS8880 is looking more and more like his big brother z13 (who was still in sunbathing mode for this photo opp!).
Catching Up With Colleagues at SHARE San Jose
My favorite part of SHARE is introducing longtime friends to new friends and colleagues and seeing them form new relationships, partners and innovations.
Compuware’s Sam Knutson was once a customer of mine and now we’re partnering together with Big Data analytics leader Splunk and other Big Iron vendors to bring revolutionary new insights and value to both “mainframe IT” and data scientists by leveraging the Splunk platform and mainframe machine data. They demonstrated some great innovation at the show and have more coming soon so stay tuned to their blog and always-provocative social media posts.
I knew there were DB2 tools vendors with a ‘better mousetrap’ and now I got the chance to see my Syncsort colleague John Reda describe to CA customers and staff how EZ-DB2 Index Analyzer enhances the value of CA Detector. Great stuff for all.
Reunion time for me also included time with the creative, versatile Reg Harbeck of Mainframe Analytics whose consulting business is helping companies show their competitive advantages and whose sense of humor is still as unique and memorable as the mainframe itself. Reg’s zTalk podcast interviews are a spirited delight so check one out this month.
And getting some time with the always-noteworthy Carla Flores from CA was a treat. Her yawning upon seeing me ultimately led to the discovery that Jolt Cola, a favorite in the 80s, has essentially been reborn as “Pepsi 0.” Bookmark that fact for your next late working session.
Notes from the SHARE Keynote
My favorite session was the keynote, “The Mainframe in the Digital Age: Not Just for Legacy Workloads,” which was essentially 4 ten-minute Ted Talks including:
IDC’s Peter Rutten discussed the Mainframe Innovation Initiative and a whopping 300% ROI in 10 months on average for them. The CA Technologies + IBM talk included positioning analytics and machine learning as the “new workloads” being added to the “yeoman’s work” done by mainframes.
Keith Sisson from Compuware had the quote of the day, “Transformation is change at speed, while overcoming obstacles.” He added that if your CIO is choosing a distributed app over a MF app, they’re choosing perceived speed-to-market over scale and actual cost advantages; “18 months to 90 days for a development cycle with Agile DevOps!” was a close 2nd for best quote!
Jonathan Adams from BMC used some effective analogies and examples to make points, including, “What is “digital business?” Remember writing checks at the supermarket? Mainframe-powered digital business replaced that!”
Weather, the coffee industry, and the Venmo money transfer service were other great examples of mainframe-powered digital business in Jonathan’s talk. He also used BMC’s annual survey data to validate that the most successful companies are growing their mainframes and investing in mainframe skills development.
The audience question from a young mainframer on how to change the perception internally got a great reply, “Position it as just another IT option to achieve business goals (via machine learning, etc.). Highlight that newer development tools can be used for mainframe development (Sonar, etc.), and that all options should we weighed.”
The last question was taken by Jonathan Adams, who addressed the query on retaining senior staff by answering that promoting it as a fulfilling mentoring opportunity can work and that offering this option works almost every time, “Part-time, with benefits!”
Overall, I’d say this ‘takeover’ was a rousing success for all and served as a great educational experience for mainframers as well as for Silicon Valley itself.
See you all in Providence for the Fall SHARE 2017 event (and in case you’re worried, we’ll have a local wake Watson from his nap, it’s time for him to do some real work).
Watch the webcast, State of the Mainframe for an in-depth look at the Syncsort’s recent mainframe survey results and the four trends to watch for this year.