Thursday, October 10, 2019

IBM z15 Mainframe First take: Mission Critical Hybrid Cloud

I was a Junior IBM Mainframe COBOL Programmer in the beginning of the 1970's. 
IBM 360 computers was the leading platform with SVS Operating System and afterward MVS Operating System.
IBM Mainframe platform was a leading platform in the decade before I started my computers career.

My roles were changed to a System Programmer, a Manager, a Consultant etc. 
I worked on many other platforms and on multiple platforms environments.

The IT industry was also changed and the IBM Mainframe was no longer the leading platform. However, unlike other proprietary platforms it survived. 

Nine years ago I wrote a post about a new Mainframe released. The post was titled: 
IBM z-Enterprise First Take: Data Center in a Box or Cloud Computing.
IBM Mainframe was still a viable platform for large Enterprises.

It should be noted that Public Cloud implementation replacing Core Mainframe systems by Linux and/or Windows based systems is not yet a viable option, so Hybrid Cloud integrating the Private Cloud systems with other systems deployed on Public Cloud is the only realistic solution for many Large Enterprises.

IBM succeeded in adapting the Mainframe to decades of Rapid Changes in the IT Technology.
The Mainframe is still alive and kicking

On September, IBM announced  a new Mainframe Generation: z15 trying to adapt to current IT trends.


The z15 targeted the Hybrid Cloud market. 
It also identified a need for Mainframe participation in the Heterogeneous Cloud. 67 percent of  survey responders said that access to Mainframe Data is critically important or very important in cloud environments.

What was identified by Forrester Consulting is being implemented gradually and continue to be  implemented in 2019. 

The main new features of z15

Enhanced Security

The Security is enhanced by encryption in the Mainframe as well as on other platforms participating in the Cloud.
The Mainframe controls the encryption in other platforms.

My take
Mainframe Security was more robust than other platforms Security even prior to z15. 

Cloud Native Development on Mainframe

My Take
I doubt if developers will use these features on IBM Mainframe with z/os Operating System
It should be checked if there are advantages for development on Mainframe with Linux Operating System justifying development on Mainframe instead of more flexible platforms.
Size Matters so it may applicable to Large Enterprises. 

Enhanced Availability

Limiting the impact of downtime by a new approach named Instant Recovery


Taking into account the requirements for z/os Mainframe systems and z/Linux Mainframe systems by Large Enterprises whose Core Systems are deployed on z/os the z15 could be successful. 

It provides new features supporting Modern Enterprise Systems participating in an Hybrid Cloud. 

Another significant trend that should be addressed is the Digital Transformation, which will be discussed in the next post.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Managers Typology: The conservative

Steve Balmer. Picture source: Wikipedia

The Professional manager and the Captive manager    were described in previous posts. 
This post is dedicated to another manager type: The Conservative.

Characteristics of The Conservative Manager

The Conservative Manager's management style is described by his type: His goal is to preserve: The  Organization's Culture, The Business behaviour, The Business Lines, The Marketing Methods etc.

Major Changes, Revolutions and Innovations are not expected. 
Improved efficiency could be expected. 

If the Conservative is a CEO or a company's President, then the whole company's patterns will be preserved.
If he is a lower lever manager, then the patterns of the department or domain he is managing, will be preserved.

Frequently, the Conservative Manager was a classic number 2 or number 3 in the hirarchy. Classic in the above context is a long time employee who accumalated a lot of knowledge about various aspects of the organization's Culture, Business Lines, Business processes, Products, Empoyees and Customers. 

Is The Conservative a good Manager?

The answer is similar to the anser to the same question related to the Professional Manager: Sometimes he is a good manager and sometimes he is not. 

The answer depends on the circomstances as well as on the Manager's characteristics.

A typical case of a Conservative Manager promotios is when he was number 2 in the hirerchy and a number one Mithological Manager moves on to a new position and/or new challenge. 

The Conservative Manager replaces him in order to preserve the Orgaizational Culture and approach and move on in the same direction.
Usually, he may be a good Manager as long as Continuation and Presevation are require. 
However, the Modern world is characterized by rapid change rate in which Adaptation is a must.

The Conservative may or may not adapt to a new type of Leadership.
If he would Adapt successfuly, he may be a great manager.

If he is not capable of changing his Management style he could be an unsuccessful manager. 

The Case of Microsoft

Satya Nadella in 2017. Source: Wikipedia

Steve Balmer was a classic Conservative Manager. For a short period he was the right manager to replace Bill Gates.

Balmer, a Microsoft veteran, was not a visionary and creative manager, who is capable of adapting Microsoft to new Technological and Business curcomstances.

When Balmer had to step off due to is inability to adapt the company to new circomstances, Satya Nadella, who joined Microsoft in 1992, replaced him.
Nadella was able to lead significat conceptual changes.
For example, "The Cloud First" approach is a major conceptual change initiated by him.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

First Take: IBM's Red Hat Acquisition - Is it too late?

Red Hat logo. Source: Wikipedia

According to Business Insider some of the key points are:

1. Red Hat will join IBM's Hybrid Cloud Team as a distinct unit preserving the Independence and neutrality of Red Hat's Open Source development heritage and commitment, current products portfolio and go to ,market strategy and unique development culture. 

My Take: RED Hat will continue selling its Linux Operating System and services to IBM's Cloud competitors such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

2. IBM will remain committed to Red Hat's Open Governance, Open Source contributions, participation in the Open Source Community and development model.

My Take: IBM is also committed to Open Source and its Cloud is based on Open Stack. with IBM's long tradition of Open Source usage and contributions it is easy for IBM to preserve Red Hat's Open Source Commitment. 

3. IBM and Red Hat also will continue to build and enhance Red Hat's partnerships including those with major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba and more in addition to IBM Cloud.

My Take: IBM will provide services and products to its Cloud competitors. 

4. Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and Red Hat's current management team...  

My Take: Red Hat's key employees will continue to work for IBM. 

5. " IBM will become the world's number 1 Hybrid Cloud provider, offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses" Ginny Rometty, IBM chairman and CEO, said.

My Take: IBM's target is the Hybrid Cloud market. Its strategy is to be the leading provider of that market. 

I cited only the key points which are relevant to this post's context. 

Why IBM needs to change?

More than a year ago I wrote a post titled: Vendors Survival: Will IBM Survive until 2027?

My conclusion was that IBM will probably survive, however the company's position was not as good as it was few years ago. 
IBM still earning from old Business Lines but is failing to dominate any of the the new emerging technological markets.

After 20 quarters of declined earnings Warren Buffet, a significant shareholder, sold his IBM shares.

Which of the emerging market best fits IBM?

I concluded that Cloud Computing was the best fit for IBM among the emerging markets. Unfortunately for IBM, Amazon was more innovative and is this market leader. 

Microsoft with its Azure and Satya Nadella's Cloud First was also more innovative.    

Google was the third vendor in  market share. IBM was fourth, but Alibaba leapfrogged it. 

Is the Cloud Market a single Market? 

The answer is no. There are three different markets:

1. The Public Cloud
The Public Cloud is a promise of a new model without Information Technology Infrastructure. However, there are many obstacles. Some of the obstacles are depicted in my post: Public Cloud Core Banking: Vendors Hype or Short Term Reality

This Market is dominated by Amazon. Microsoft owns the second larger Market share followed by Google.  Microsoft's market share is a lot larger than Google's share. Google is followed by Alibaba and IBM. 
It looks like IBM missed the opportunity to lead this market and it is too late for it to become this market leader. 

The market is based on commodity Operating Systems i.e. Windows and Linux. Red Hat is the leading Linux vendor.

You can read the third key point and My Take on the first key point and realize that IBM will continue to sell Red Hat Linux to its competitors.
It seems that IBM understands that the acquisition will not promote IBM as a leader in this market.

2. The Private Cloud
According to Forrester Research, Next Generation of of Private Clouds "will use Hybrid Infrastructure"
Private Clouds are used by Large Enterprises. According to Forrester's survey in 2013, "67% of responders thought that access to Mainframe Data is critically important or very important in Cloud environments".

This market is not clearly defined. Forrester Research provides three different definitions of this market.

According to all definitions IBM is a significant player in this market and could become the leader of this market in the Next Generation, which will include proprietary platforms. 

This market is an improvement to a traditional market. Nothing to write home about.

3. The Hybrid Cloud
This is a combination of Public Could or Public Clouds and a Private Cloud. It is less elegant and less promising model in comparison to Public Cloud but it is more realistic model, for the following years.
It is a growing market.

The Hybrid Cloud is the "battle field" of the Cloud Computing vendors. 
Ginny Rometty, IBM chairman and CEO, is quoted in the fifth key point. She states that IBM's strategic goal is to become the leader of that market. 

Is it too late?

Could the combined forces of IBM and Red Hat and the Open Source Cloud model realize this strategic goal? It may be too late.

Could the dual strategy of coopetition by selling Red Hat's solutions to IBM's competitors differentiate IBM's solution based on Red Hat's Linux from the comptitors' solutions also based  on Red Hat's Linux?

If IBM would acquire Red Hat few years ago, it would not need to  pay 66% above Red Hat market share value. 

If IBM could be more innovative before the leading vendors emerge the probability of accomplishing this strategic goal would have been a lot higher.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to find that a company could not care less about your Privacy?

The trade offs of the Web and Digital world are well known: Vendors do not charge Consumers for using their software products. Consumers pay by allowing advertisement content on their computers and Smart Phones screens.

Vendors such as facebook, Google and many other vendors and service providers collect and analyze personal data. 

When it comes to selling the Consumer Private Data  it is a different issue.
The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal is an example. 

I am surely do not agree with selling Customers Private Data without their explicit permission, however, I am able to understand why some employees or some companies could sell the data. The motivation is earning more money.

Not taking enough care of customers Privacy without any benefit is beyond my understanding. 

You should not trust any company for protecting your Privacy do it yourself.
It is a good practice not to publish private information, if not necessary. Your Private Data is Unforgettable
If a company deliberately not taking care of your Privacy it could not care less about it, however it is very difficult to distinguish between deliberate careless and poor design and implementation.  

Facebook Messenger in my Xiomi Smart Phone 

When someone receives a Smart Phone application message an alert sound is notifying him about the new message.
This notification method is used by applications such as SMS, Whatsapp etc.
It is also used by Facebook Messenger, however the sender's picture is stuck on the screen (you can roll it down until it will disappear). 

This feature is unique to Facebook Messenger. 
I suspect that it appears not only on Xioni's phones but on other vendor's phones as well.

This weird feature is an example of not caring about Privacy without any benefit to Facebook. 
It could be a poor design without any intention to compromise Privacy, however the bottom line is reduced Privacy. 

Nobody sitting next to you will notice an SMS or Whatsapp message sender's identity. 
Anybody sitting next to you Will see the picture appearing on the screen accompanying a Facebook Messenger message. 
He may know the sender and will be aware of some interaction between you and that sender.

After the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal Facebook should avoid of Privacy issues. Even minor issues.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Managers Typology: The Professional

Steve Jobs
Source: Wikipedia

In previous posts I classified Customers e.g Customers Typology: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Part 3: The Ugly and Customers Typology: The Social . In other posts I classified Consultants e.g Consultants Typology: The Consultant who knows everything. The post Mangers Typology: The Captive was the first post classifying Managers. 

The Professional manager is an expert. His expertise, knowledge and understanding in the subject matter could be better than the knowledge and understanding of the employees he is managing. 
They would ask for his professional opinion and guidance and will not disagree with his technical decisions.

Is the Professional a good manager?
There is no definitive answer to the question above. The answer depends upon the manager's skills and characteristics and the circumstances. 

a personal example
I was a successful manager in the first time I was promoted to a management position.
Of course Management Experience was a skill I lacked. It was not the only Management skill I lacked.   

I was an IBM Mainframe Systems Programming Group Manager. I had more than a decade of technical experience as a Mainframe Systems Programmer. I had a profound understanding of IBM Mainframe Operating Systems, including Internals. 

I was lecturing on Mainframe Operating Systems and I published articles in local and international professional journals.

My profile was a very good fit for the organization requirements. 
Most of the employees, working in an excellent Systems Programming Group, left for another job in another place. The former Manager left after the majority of the people working in the department left. 

The Organization had to find a Manager who could maintain the Operating System and related Hardware and Software. The Organization required a Manager who could select new inexperienced Systems Programmer and could train them and be perceived by them as a Professional authority. 

The Results
The systems operated better than expected. The inexperienced Systems Programmers studied in a course specially designed for them and did a good job. 
A major Operating System migration Project was completed according to schedule. 
Completing a large IT project is important, but the quality of the project is even more important. This migration project was executed without any significant bug or any significant problem.  

After two years: an unsuccessful Manager
The crisis was over and after few years the Operating Systems Department was mature and functioning well. 
The new circumstances required a Systems Programming Department Manager with different skill set. The new skill set included skills such as internal organization Political skills, Internal and external  Sales and Marketing skills etc.

My skills set was not adequate for the new role so I was no longer a good manager. 

I am not the only one
It happened to other Professional Managers as well: when the skills set is no longer adequate, they are replaced by a Manager who is more suitable to the new management focus.
Steve Jobs was one of them. Jobs was forced out of Apple on 1985. Jobs was a co-founder and a CEO of the company. 

He was replaced by John Sculley. Sculley was the President of Pepsi-Cola. 
No doubt that, as far as professional Computers skills are concerned, Jobs skill set was superior. Sculley was a marketing expert, Sales expert and better Politician than Jobs.

Apple of 1985 required a CEO with Sculley's skills set.

Another Example
One of my customers had two main Business Lines. Two IT managers manage the systems of the two Business Lines. They left the company few months before I was hired by the new CIO. 

I do not know if one of these two managers was a good IT Professional, however he cooperated with a deputy. His deputy replaced him when he resigned. 
The former deputy new a lot about the systems and the people responsible for each of them. The systems were documented properly.
I received updated and correct information about the systems.

No doubt that the other Manager was a good Professional, however nobody could tell me about the Systems, the Interfaces between them and who is responsible for each system. 

There was not real deputy (I did not know if someone was formally a deputy. If there was a deputy, he did not know much about the systems). 
The Manager was replaced by someone whose knowledge about the Systems and the responsibilities of the systems was very limited.
I received an incomplete, an inaccurate and sometimes incorrect information about the systems.

I discovered that the manager was performing technical tasks instead of the people who should do it. There was no "natural Deputy", workers' roles and responsibilities were not properly defined and no documentation was available.

It was one man's show. When the man left no show remained.
The bottom line: The second manager was a Professional Manager but lacked management skills. The consequences were awful.

 A Professional Manager could be a successful manager when the focus is on Professional and/or Technical issues.
His fitness to Management positions when other issues are more important than Professional issues is subject to his skills in other domains. Excellent Professional Manager could be a bad manager when the focus is on non-professional issues.        

Monday, October 30, 2017

IOT: Streaming Analytics is an Enabling Technology

Nobody is able to predict accurately. IT is less predictable than other industries because it is a"moving target". 
My "Vendors Survival" posts titled: Vendors Survival: will X survive until y (ten years from the year the post was written)? X is a large IT vendor such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM. HP etc., could be wrong. Actually I wrote explicitly that my predictions could be wrong.
Even predictions for the next year could be wrong. Even leading analysts firms predictions could be wrong.

Based on this idea I wrote a post titled: Gartner's 2015 Strategic Predictions: Trivial, Over Estimated and Interesting.
Gartner's prediction about IOT as a Strategic Technology was included in the Interesting group i.e predictions that are not trivial and I believe will be important few years after the prediction. 
In 2017 it seems that Gartner's IOT Prediction was not a wrong prediction. There are plenty of Things which are Internet entities e.g cars, medical equipment etc. 

What differentiate IBPMS from BPMS?
Another old post titled: BPMS Next Generation: IBPMS, explained the difference between BPMS and IBPMS: IBPMS includes a new Use Case named Intelligent Business Operation.
The implications of Intelligent Business Operations is convergence with other technologies. Business Intelligence and Analytics, especially Real Time Analytics, are significant technologies related to  Intelligent Business Operations.

The Forrester Wave: Streaming Analytics, Q3 2017  
This interesting Research note was written by three analysts: Mike Gualtieri, Srividya Sridharan and Elizabeth Hoberman. 
Reading this interesting Research Note reminds me of the distinction between BPMS and IBPMS.
The similarity between Intelligent Business Operations Processes and IOT data Streaming Analytics is the need to Analyze in Real Time and respond immediately and automatically to events. 

For example, Fraud Detection in the Banking vertical is based on Real Time Analytics. 
It is crucial to notify a customer that a suspicious withdrawal of large sum of money from his account just happened. 

Streaming Analytics is not limited to IOT, however, "Streaming Analytics are particularly suited for Internet of Things applications..." (the suffix is a quotation from Forrester's Research Note).
Real Time Streaming Analytics of IOT data is important because the technological limitations of IOT devices. These devices are not computers such as Servers, Personal Computers or Smart Phones. 

IOT devices are not able to analyze deeply the data they receive and the data they send.
Real Time Data Streaming is an Enabling Technology which analyze the IOT data immediately as it is reaching a computer. 

The Largest DDoS attack
DDOS attacks are Denial of Service attacks. A server which is overloaded with too much data is not able to handle it and stops providing its Services. if it is due to DDOS attack some people deliberately send large amounts of irrelevant data.

The largest DDoS attack in history was based on attacking many IOT entities and forcing them to send a lot of data. Many internet sites collapsed.
For more details read: DDos attack that disrupted internet was largest of its kind in History, experts say.

Advanced Data Streaming could identify an event like DDoS attacks, as well as other events, and immediately alert.  

The Streaming Analytics Vendors
According to the Forrester Research Note the leaders in Q3 2017 are: Software AG, IBM, Tibco Software, SAP, SAS and Microsoft.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Vendors Survival: Will IBM Survive until 2027?

The entrance to IBM's Headquarter in Armonk
Source: Hebrew Wikipedia

IBM's earnings declined every quarter in the last 20 quarters. This trend is surely a warning sign which raise the question: Will IBM survive until 2027?
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was one of IBM's larger shareholders. Buffet sold the shares after losing in his IBM investment. He said he hopes that he will not lose in his Apple's shares investment.  

The early days
According to Wikipedia, "The company was originated in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company and was renamed "International Business machine" in 1924". 

The first Mainframes
On April 7, 1964 IBM announced its first computer system family: the IBM System/360. 
IBM System/360 was the first IBM Mainframe.

Thomas Watson Jr. was the company's president. 
He was warned that he will not be able to compete with the market leader NCR. Few years latter IBM replaced NCR as the market leader.

Personal notes on the 1970s
I started my career as a COBOL Programmer on IBM System/360 computer. IBM was then the market leader. IBM's Business model, as well as other vendors model, was simple: Buy an expensive computer and the vendor will supply the Software free of charge. It was one stop shop for all computers Hardware and Software.

IBM's Operating Systems were functionally limited. I worked as a Systems Programmer for a large Service Bureau serving a lot of Public Sector Organizations.
We had to extend and change IBM's Operating System in order to address issues such as Security, Tape Management and Spooling. 

IBM was a Theory Z organization like DEC and similar to large Japanese companies: employees are never fired. They may change their jobs but will rewarded for working always for the same company. 

The age of Arrogance
The 80ths and the beginning of the 90ths were IBM's arrogance age.
For example, the organization I worked for and IBM bid together in an RFP in the beginning of the 90ths.

The RFP was defined for Open Systems i.e UNIX, RDBMS, Hardware Platform independence etc. 
While writing our bid IBM's employees brought a strange White Paper. It was about SAA.  Was SAA successful architecture or a failure? the answer is irrelevant in the RFP's context. SAA connected various IBM platforms such as Mainframe, AS400 and IBM Unix. 

Instead of this paper I wrote a small paper about CICS like products on UNIX. They could be deployed on IBM's UNIX as well as on other UNIX platforms including HP-UX and SUN Solaris.

Would IBM cooperate with a small company?
In the arrogance age the answer would probably be "no".
A small company offered cooperation with IBM on the emerging PC platform. The small company, named Microsoft, offered cooperation based on its Windows Operating System.
IBM preferred its OS/2 PC Operating System.  

The Software Age
The PCs revolution included another game change concept: Software revenues were more significant than Hardware revenues.

IBM, HP and DEC had to adapt and change their Business Model. IBM adapted. HP adapted and DEC failed. 
Microsoft become the market leader. IBM was still one of the leading vendors. However, it was no more a vendor who is capable of provide all Hardware and Software functionality. 

IBM had to acquire other companies and to focus on specific markets, such as Middleware, in addition to its Proprietary Platforms, such as Mainframes and AS400 computers.

IBM Global Services
Additional way for competing was by offering Professional Services in addition to Software and Hardware products. IGS (IBM Global Services) was  a leader in the Professional Services market.

The SOA Age
After 2005 SOA emerged as a Mainstream Software approach. The four leading SOA Ecosystems were IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP.

Cloud, Social Networks and Smart phones 
 New concepts and new market leaders. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon became the IT market leaders. Microsoft is also a leader in the Cloud Computing market thanks to its "Cloud First" approach.

would IBM Survive until 2027?
A company that survived since 1911 will probably continue to survive in the following ten years. IBM is a large global company who has many customers and many products.  It is a leader in markets such as IBPMS, other Integration and Middleware markets, BI and Big Data. 

Its proprietary markets such as the IBM System i (the AS/400) will not disappear in the following ten years.
As far as the Mainframe is concerned, IBM's work is excellent.
The Mainframe is alive and kicking more than 60 years. Its capabilities are extended supporting modern software such as Java and Linux. Its Security and Availability are still higher than other platform's Security and Availability and its Workload Management is unique. 
Many Large Enterprises are still using Mainframes for Core Systems. 
Recently, IBM announced new Mainframe generation z14.  
However, the Mainframe is a Niche platform and organizations are gradually migrating to Mainstream platform such as Linux and Windows. 

The Problem
Survival is important but the vendor position is also important. IBM's position is not as good as it was few years ago. 

The problem is that IBM does not lead any significant new technologies market.
It seems that IBM could be a leader in the Public Cloud Computing Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (Paas) markets. 
However, Amazon's AWS is the market leader (more than 40%) followed by Microsoft's Azure and Google. IBM is following Google, however its market share is small. 
Salesforce is a leader only in the PaaS market.

The computing market is dynamic and evolving. The times are constantly changing. Innovative company position could be improved. 
An interesting article published in February, 2017 depict a possibility of IBM regaining its old time position as the chip market leader instead of Intel.
The scenario is based on acquisition of other Power Consortium members (Power is IBM's chip).
The acquisition targets are Networking Infiniband and Networking Hardware vendor Mellanox, The graphical processors leader Nvidia and FPGA maker Xilinx. 

For more details read the article: The Case for IBM Buying Nvidia, Xilinx and Mellanox.


IBM z15 Mainframe First take: Mission Critical Hybrid Cloud

     I was a Junior IBM Mainframe COBOL Programmer in the beginning of the 1970's.  IBM 360 computers was the leading platform wit...