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Interview with Michael W. Moss, CEO of Value-4IT, about the IBM System z Mainframe

What do you believe are the most important trends in mainframe computing today?

Currently, data is the biggest driving force for System z Mainframe innovation. Ever increasing amounts of data is being created day after day, primarily from Analytics, Cloud, Mobile Devices and Social Media sources. The System z platform delivers the highest capacity and resilient single footprint server available today. These attributes are ideal for optimizing virtualized workloads, especially via Linux on z Systems functionality, while safeguarding and processing this mission-critical business data.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for mainframe computing today?

By some, the System z Mainframe is still perceived as a legacy technology only suitable for Fortune 500 organizations. The System z Mainframe must continue to evolve with constant innovation that optimizes cost (even for small organizations) while continuing to deliver an agile, flexible, scalable, secure and resilient platform for the 21st century business.

What can systems administrators do to keep mainframe costs reasonable?

System administrators must always be mindful of software cost optimization to maintain the best TCO for their organization. A hybrid of technical and commercial skills is required to minimize CPU capacity usage and leverage from the best software licensing regime. Moreover, with each and every release of System z software or hardware, the realm of possibility exists for organizations to exploit the latest function or feature in order to optimize costs. Never have the archaic sayings of “be careful how the small things grow” and “look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves” been more relevant.

How much of a player is data analytics in today’s System z environment?

Data analytics is a significant challenge and opportunity for each and every business, whether they deploy a System z Mainframe or not. The time to market for new business or consumer facing products or solutions is rapidly diminishing with a clear and present requirement for real-time data analytics. Recognizing that 70%+ of Fortune 500 organizations deploy the System z platform for their mission-critical business applications, this priceless data source must be secure and leveraged from to drive the business forward. The System z consistently delivers the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ (EAL5+) security standard as a cornerstone of its architecture.

Aside from data analytics, what other factors are driving the popularity of System z?

The reliability, availability and scalability of the System z Mainframe server ideally positions this platform for consolidation of distributed systems workloads. From a system administration and cost optimization viewpoint, the latest System z servers are becoming increasingly popular for x86 workload migration activities. Moreover, the System z platform never stands still, providing a software ecosystem that supports the latest application programming techniques. This ensures that businesses can integrate Cloud methodologies into their business processes, thereby implementing application change rapidly and safely.

What do you see in the future of System z?

The future for System z is to leverage from its core foundations, offering high performance CPU chips, the biggest single server footprint and best-of-breed security solutions. The System z platform will continue to observe the Analytics, Cloud, Mobile Devices and Social Media data sources, driving today’s business requirements, and delivering a cost efficient platform that is accessible to many global organizations – not just the perceived limited subset of committed Fortune 500 organizations.

With the newest release of the ZPSaver Suite, Syncsort demonstrates the commitment to continually look for ways to help customers fully leverage the tremendous strengths of the IBMz and z13, especially zIIP processors and advanced levels of cache design. Syncsort is offering potential customers free comprehensive workload analysis services, which will deliver a crisp and clear estimate of the potential cost savings and performance benefits of the ZPSaver Suite for a given customer’s mainframe environment.

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