Mighty Mainframe Vol. 4 - Cycling Forward
7 minute read
Dear fellow mainframer,
September treated me well. I enjoyed Indian summer with lots of cycling adventures, 2-day gravel bike-touring in Velebit mountain, climbing from sea level to 1400 m peak. I seized the opportunity and went for Saturday’s club ride in Paris and a nice tour around Montpellier.
However, what really excites me is the passion and new energy I sensed in the mainframe community recently. The crowd in Montpellier and Tobias Leicher are both telling me it is a good time to be a mainframer.
Good news for VSE customers
There is a big community of loyal VSE customers all around the globe. IBM designed VSE back in 1970, with the idea of making it a simpler and more accessible version of MVS operating system. Fast forward to 2023, some customers migrated to z/OS (or planning to do it), few migrated to other platforms, but quite a few customers remained loyal to VSE.
In a significant move for the VSE community, a modernized version of the z/VSE operating system for IBM Z mainframes – VSEn V6.3 was announced. It aims to give IT leaders greater control over their IBM Z infrastructure, while also reducing the need for specialized skills in managing these systems. One of the standout features is its compatibility with the latest z16 mainframe hardware. The middleware stack names have been updated for branding purposes, but the executables remain unchanged to ensure a seamless transition for existing users.
The company is also collaborating with other vendors to bolster the VSE ecosystem in key areas such as security and cloud offerings. From today’s standpoint, VSEn V6.3 promises to be a comprehensive upgrade and a signal of a commitment to keep the platform alive and updated.
IBM zStudy Tour 2023, Montpellier
I attended the 3-day briefing for mainframe customers and business partners from Nordics, Benelux and Central Europe in Montpellier. My biggest takeaway? It is a good time to be a mainframer.
IBM’s continuous investment in technology (just think of 7nm chips with large onboard cache), and especially software stack (containers, DevOps, hybrid cloud….) has reached such a level that mainframe now natively supports all relevant technologies and tools. Mainframe users realise there is no time for further procrastination (primarily because of the widening skills gap) and wholeheartedly adopt in-place modernization. Tobias Leicher perfectly describes this “zeitgeist”.
The conference kicked off on a high note with an insightful opening keynote by Jose Castano, IBM’s Vice President of zStack. He described “the perfect storm” that has recently impacted the mainframe community. This storm comprises three critical factors: technological advancements, the urgent need for modernization due to a skills gap, and the rapid pace of digital transformation.
Previously viewed as a hindrance to digital progress, mainframes have now emerged as centres of reinvention. To substantiate this shift, Jose presented compelling data. For instance, the revenue generated by IBM’s z15 program exceeded that of its predecessor by more than 100% over the first two years. Additionally, the IBM z15 set new records for capacity shipped, and the z16 launch turned out to be the most successful in the past 22 years, showing a 77% year-over-year growth.
There was plenty of useful information, brought by experienced speakers in a very practical and straightforward way. Here are a few points from my notebook:
Empowering Mainframe Teams with Managed Services
In our latest blog post, we delve into the strategic advantages of employing “Managed Services” for mainframe operations. This model is not mere outsourcing; it’s an integrated approach designed to augment your existing team’s capabilities. CROZ experts assume responsibility for specific components of your mainframe infrastructure, thereby filling skill gaps, reducing operational costs, and enhancing service quality.
The Managed Services model allows you to retain full ownership and control over your mainframe hardware and software licenses. Our specialists work in tandem with your team, focusing on both routine maintenance and advanced optimization strategies. The objective is to transform your mainframe infrastructure into a strategic asset that aligns with your organization’s long-term goals.
From implementing API-centric architectures to introducing modern DevOps tools, our experts provide solutions that go beyond mere incident resolution. This collaborative approach ensures not only the smooth functioning of daily operations but also paves the way for continuous improvement and innovation.
For organizations looking to shift their focus from day-to-day operations to strategic objectives, our upcoming blog post will serve as a comprehensive guide to achieving this transition effectively.