Monday, March 30, 2015

INTERCONNECT 2015 –Power8 is primed for success!

By Rich Ptak and Bill Moran



In April of 2014, IBM announced its first Power8 systems, at the same time they launched the Open Power Foundation. IBM was bringing to hardware the same open source model that had proven so successful for Linux software. The Open Source concept profoundly impacted the software industry benefiting both users and vendors. The plan was to repeat that success with a complete system. 


IBM’s Interconnect 2015 conference[1] ended recently. It included an abundance of customer stories and product announcements centered on Power8 and the Open Power architecture making this a good time to examine the systems status. We consider factors contribute\ing to Power8’s success as well as hurdles to overcome. 

We begin admitting our bias favors Power8 success, because we think monopolies distort markets. With AMD no longer a major force, Intel dominates x86-based server and PC markets. The result is stifled chip development, slowed emergence of alternative technologies, limited vendor options and reduced customer choice. Competition at the server level (HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.) masks Intel’s monopoly of microprocessor architectures without addressing the underlying problems. 

A look back at the process by which 64 bit addressing became available to x86 customers illustrates the problem[2]. Intel originally planned to only offer 64 bit capability in a new  IA-64 line of processors; requiring customers to migrate to a new architecture. Only after AMD demonstrated that 64 bit could be added to x86 (with no migration required) did Intel follow suit.

Thus, AMD provided a choice customers otherwise would not have had. Competition drives change, innovation and dynamism in the marketplace. However, it isn’t clear how much the current non-competitive state influences server purchases[3]. Buyer specific needs probably influencer their decisions far more. Server level competition tends to conceal the level of control Intel exerts in the market. 

That said; let’s look at some key strengths and benefits Power8 brings to users and vendors:
  1. 1.     Designed for the era of Big Data, it leverages advanced technologies to enhance its ability to store, access and manipulate large amounts of data quickly and easily.
  2. 2.     Delivers enhanced support for Hadoop to better manage structured and unstructured data.
  3. 3.     Increases availability of role-based Power8-based cloud implementations, e.g. IBM’s Developer Cloud, multiple Power8 platform configurations (including bare metal) from IBM SoftLayer, etc.
  4. 4.     IBM is making the Open Power chip and firmware completely available to the public – allowing vendors, countries, individuals, etc. to redesign the chip and its firmware to meet their needs.
  5. 5.     The OpenPOWER Foundation as an open collaboration of industry users, vendors, research institutions and academia in support of Open Power is a particularly brilliant strategy.
Making the Open Power architecture available to all provides a huge market boost to Power. In particular, making the firmware publicly available means that global vendors can (and are) using the architecture without worrying about the existence of built-in backdoors. The rapid growth of the OpenPOWER Foundation to over 100 members demonstrates other companies recognize the business opportunities. OpenPOWER contributes to a surge in Power8 interest that will likely continue. 

Power8 offers a significant performance advantage over Intel servers in certain types of server consolidation. Using Power8 with CAPI, Redis Labs achieved a significant reduction[4] in required servers switching from x86. The application’s use of an in-memory database means it gains optimum advantage of Power8’s large memory and enhanced analytics. Nevertheless, the potential benefit in large data center environments appears to be substantial, even at lower ratios. There exists a clear potential for cost reductions in software licenses and such environmental items as power, floor space, and administrator time.  Thus, Power8 is likely to yield even more significant cost advantages.


Still there are challenges that Power8 must overcome in the marketplace. Perhaps the biggest is inertia. Many customers have been reflexively buying Intel x86 servers for years and may be reluctant to change. The latest IDC survey[5] reports that the non-x86 share of the server market is shrinking; even as many seem unaware that an alternative exists. The drawbacks of a non-competitive environment (higher prices, delayed innovation) have not manifested themselves in severely felt ‘pains’ limiting interest in searching for alternative suppliers. Although, there are some indications this is starting to change.


Further, some important applications do not run on Power8 Linux. For example, the popular Oracle and SQLServer databases are not available for Power8 Linux[6]. Generally, customers are reluctant to move workloads if it includes changing databases. Some work-arounds do exist, e.g. keeping the database, but using an intervening service to access that data. However, customers may be reluctant to add a service layer or may lack the in-house skills or confidence to change databases. 

Linux (on Intel) is a growing market even as Windows Server growth stagnates.  Windows Server users find Linux on Intel to be a better environment, but it has x86 limitations. Those customers are prime candidates for Power8 Linux as Linux on Intel and Linux on Power8 are near 100% compatible. While Windows Server is not a supported operating system on Power8; customers can be motivated to leave Windows. Motivation can be improved with attractive pricing, new tools that facilitate the move, greatly enhanced capabilities and features. 

Doug Balog, IBM General Manager of Power8, is convinced 2015 will be the key year for Power8. We think that he is right. There exists a very good chance that Power8 Systems from IBM and other OpenPOWER vendors will achieve a breakthrough. Customers who value competition ought to investigate Power8 to see where  it might fit into their plans and significantly benefit their applications. 



[1] http://interconnectgo.com/ Key sessions are available for replay.
[3] This is a concern for many IT staff we’ve spoken with.
[4] Yiftach Shoolman, CTO and Co-Founder of Redis described the reduction which demonstrates the value of Power8 + CAPI technology. CAPI allows flash memory to directly attach to the processor. The Power8 system here had 40TB of flash memory attached. See http://www-304.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/capi/home.html
[6] Oracle is supported on AIX.

Friday, March 27, 2015

OpenPOWER Foundation Summit – accelerating Open Systems momentum

By Rich Ptak



The OpenPOWER Foundation is an open collaboration of industry users, vendors, research institutions and academia launched with 5 members in early 2014. The goal was to build an ecosystem to cooperate in creating solutions using IBM’s OpenPOWER architecture to create the first truly open source system by combining open-source software and open-source hardware.

Fast forward to March, 2015, now 113 members strong, the first OpenPOWER Foundation Summit[1] was hosted as part of the GPU event in San Jose. As we describe here[2], Power Systems products figured prominently at IBM’s Interconnect 2015 conference[3]. The Foundation event provided even more evidence of the market momentum and growing interest in OpenPOWER.

On display were 15 working products from component level up to systems, processors, platforms and solutions. This year, Foundation members have 100 active projects already underway; both with and without direct IBM involvement. Projects are focused on High Performance Computing (HPC), data center optimization, operating system optimization, IBM’s Watson, industry-specific devices from chips to systems, etc.

There was an interesting undercurrent during presentations and discussion with attendees. Where one might expect a strong technical slant, event attendees and Foundation members see their objectives in the clearly practical terms of enterprise problem solving. The goal is successful application of the latest technology to the solution of major problems. They are driving a fundamental shift in understanding the application of and accomplished with technology.

Usually, the talk is of how Moore’s Law i.e., the cost-benefit (more performance + less volume + lower cost) applies. Here the discussion was about accelerating the realization real payoffs from technology. It is about cost effective, rapid problem solution and achievement of enterprise goals whether profit, new medical protocols, discovery breakthroughs or curing life-threatening disease.

Brad McCredie, Foundation President, indicated that while technology remains important, the value needed comes from facilitating business model innovations. The OpenPOWER architecture provides more opportunities to productively cooperate (and compete), with a new vision that opens the door to the future.

Representatives from Altera, Google, IBM, Mellanox, Nallatech, Nvidia, Rackspace, TYAN, Suzhou Power, etc. documented how the Open Systems model delivers benefits to consumers, service providers, researchers and vendors. Though hard data is still scarce, available evidence also points to significant price/performance benefits. Linley Group comparing IBM prices with reseller estimates found Power8 processors can be nearly 50%[4] lower than Xeon systems with x86 chips.

Here is a list of some of the significant products and prototypes that were announced in San Jose:

1.     Chinese companies will produce four products for their national market in 2015:
  • a.     PowerCore’s CP1 is the first POWER chip for the China market from a Chinese chip design company.
  • b.     Zoom Netcom’s new line of RedPOWER servers are the first Chinese OpenPOWER two-socket systems using the CP1 chip.
  • c.     ChuangHe and other Chinese OpenPOWER members described their designs for China-branded OpenPOWER systems using POWER8 processors.
  • d.     In 2014, the Chinese government formed a public-private partnership, China POWER Technology Alliance (CPTA) to integrate local Chinese and OpenPOWER ecosystem resources to accelerate their infrastructure upgrade.

2.     Products and prototypes planned for availability in Q2CY15 are:

  • b.     Cirrascale RM4950[7] – the first OpenPOWER-based GPU developer platform is a collaboration of NVIDIA, Tyan and Cirrascale  targeted to Big Data analytics, machine learning, and scientific computing GPU applications.
  • c.     Rackspace announced a prototype open server design[8] and motherboard combining OpenPOWER and Open Compute design with OpenStack management to deliver superior performance in their data centers.

3.     IBM and Wistron announced joint development of (codename) Firestone a prototype high-performance server using technology from NVIDIA and Mellanox. First of a series, it is part of IBM's technical computing roadmap and pathway to exascale computing.

4.     Also part of the exascale series of servers are Summit and Sierra for the U.S. government – Oak Ridge National Laboratory will house Summit at its Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR), announced 13 partner projects to begin preparing computational science/engineering applications to run on Summit.

Proven enormously successful with Linux, the open-source software concept profoundly impacted the software industry while significantly benefiting both vendors and users. OpenPOWER Foundation members have made significant progress in repeating the pattern, thereby releasing open-source system benefits. It is still too early to predict the final outcome with certainty, but signs are positive. Success will end Intel’s uncontested dominance of x86–based servers.

We’ll close with two quotes, first from Gordon MacKean, OpenPOWER Foundation Chair: “Through our members’ individual and collective efforts we are positively disrupting the market, delivering innovations that advance data center technology, expand choice and drive market efficiency.”

And one from Mr. Zhiqiang Tian, Senior Engineer, BIOS research and development, TEAMSUN: “The development of the OpenPOWER ecosystem in China’s high security level market enriches China ISV and IHV’s options for a total solution from hardware to software.”

I don’t see any way to improve on those statements. Congratulations to IBM, the OpenPOWER Foundation and all its members.



[1] See the presentations and talks here: http://openpowerfoundation.org/2015-summit/
[2] Ptak Associates Tech Blog:  http://ptakassociates.blogspot.com/
[3] http://interconnectgo.com/ Key sessions are available for replay.
[4] POWER8 Hits the Merchant Market states: "Pricing is no contest. We estimate that IBM’s 12-core Power8 will list for $2,500; add $180 or $360 for two or four buffer chips. Intel hasn’t published a list price for the Xeon E5-2699v3, but after surveying some Internet re-sellers, we estimate it lists for about $4,100." http://www.linleygroup.com/newsletters/newsletter_detail.php?num=5275

Thursday, March 5, 2015

BMC moves to the forefront in DB2 Utilities with CDB acquisition

By Rich Ptak and Bill Moran



BMC has been a leader in delivering DB2 utilities for nearly 30 years. In recent years, mainframe DB2 utility customers have voiced their need for faster completion times, lower execution costs, shorter or no outages at all along with multiple requests for more functionality to keep up with the demands of the digital enterprise. BMC saw an opportunity to both address these needs and raise the bar in improved cost and performance results

 
In its response, BMC had to choose between in-house development and acquisition. Redesigning and rewriting the DB2 utilities would be costly and time consuming, risking potential erosion in market share. Acquisition offered a quicker and potentially more cost-effective solution, assuming the right company was available.

 
BMC knew CDB as a small, but successful competitor selling DB2 utilities. Using recent technologies, CDB delivered a set of leading-edge products that were both competing with and complementary to existing BMC’s utilities. In an all-cash transaction, BMC acquired CDB’s products, programming assets and select personnel; keeping key personnel from CDB will facilitate future development of DB2 utilities.

 
What does this mean to BMC’s customers? As we see it, the key message continues the good news following from BMC’s privatization. The new owners are aggressively investing not only in BMC, but also in what they recognize as good opportunities in the mainframe business. In our opinion, mainframe customers can look forward to a continuing flow of new mainframe products and technologies. This is good news for BMC’s current as well as all mainframe customers, as increasing competition drives product improvements. It also should motivate non-BMC customers to consider BMC products.

 
Here are some details of the acquisition. The combined companies’ products include both overlapping and complementary DB2 utilities. These are classified as follows: Load, Unload, Reorg, Copy, Recover, Check and Statistics collection. The challenge lies in combining and integrating the best of the CDB offerings with the best of the BMC offerings into what BMC calls Next Generation Technology (NGT).

 
Plans are for BMC Copy, Recover, Check and Statistics to be combined with CDB offerings for Load, Unload, and Reorg. Future releases of LOBMaster and Real-Time Utility Manager will complete the package. The new platform will include extended automation capabilities to ease the workload on already stressed mainframe staffs.

 
Existing BMC utility customers will have immediate access to the equivalent new technology by simply contacting their account management teams. The details of upgrades and offerings in other customer scenarios are still being worked out.

 
By midyear 2015, BMC plans to be able to offer all existing customers the opportunity to investigate the new technology. Customers will be able to evaluate and consider a complete migration at their own pace.

 
By the end of 2016 or early 2017 (timed to coincide with an expected new DB2 release), BMC plans a fully integrated BMC and CDB utility suite supporting the new DB2 release.

 
Timelines for some offerings to CDB customers will be handled on an individual basis. BMC plans to treat them comparably to their own existing customers. For those with neither BMC nor the CDB products, separate packaging will be available

 
We think that this deal benefits all parties. The BMC customers get access to new technology that speeds up the reorg process and eliminates even the seconds-long downtime that BMC’s current reorg requires. CDB customers will be happy as BMC introduces new automation functions and they gain access to BMC technology where it is superior to CDB.

 
In addition, CDB customers will now be dealing with a larger company and they will no longer have the risks associated with a very small supplier. BMC gains with even more competitive products able to leverage a quantum leap into the latest, proven technology.

 
We believe that the only companies who don’t gain are BMC’s competitors. But, we expect the resulting competition to bring even more good news for customers over time.

Monday, February 9, 2015

IBM’s Billion Dollar Investment supports Linux as it Propels new Markets & Services

By Rich Ptak


In 2013, IBM announced its $1B investment in Linux, fueling new ideas and solutions in the process.  Most of the investment has been on the POWER architecture and is beginning to pay off in multiple areas, with new solution vendors looking to take advantage of chip and memory advancements.

POWER8, the latest payoff, demonstrates IBM’s commitment to drive significant change in the Linux market. An interesting investment, but why would an IT architect or developer care? As an IT professional involved with Linux, IBM’s investment and resulting fallout can make your job easier as well as potentially directly benefit your career.

We think POWER8’s open hardware, the only architecture open to the market, will repeat the commercial success of the open software model. Open software revolutionized the software business. For hardware, it is already inspiring creativity as it drives ISVs, integrators and enterprises to work on the POWER8 Linux platform. This increases platform choice for customers and provides more opportunities for developers for the platform.  Our series of blogs will discuss more of the opportunities we see from IBM’s investments, what they may look like and how to take advantage of them.

Also growing from the investment is a steady build-up of Linux expertise at IBM’s client and partner support centers worldwide[1].  The more than 1200 ISV applications currently available on POWER8 can be partially attributed to these centers. These centers also offer free help for such activities as migrating apps[2] (e.g. between Intel and Power Systems) thus reducing risks, facilitating cross platform communication, code conversions and/or code development for POWER8 Linux. In addition, IBM has developer cloud support for free access[3] to Linux on POWER8 platforms. IBM’s BlueMix Cloud can also be used to assist Power8 Linux development.

The OpenPOWER foundation[4] is another major expansion of IBM support for POWER8/Linux. Created by IBM, Google[5], Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan, the Foundation allows member companies to leverage POWER technology and architecture to develop products. Rapid growth to ninety members (Samsung, Rackspace, Hitachi, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, etc.) and academic associates (Rice University, Oregon State University, etc.) adds to the momentum.

Foundation member efforts have already successfully brought a number of products to market. For example, Redis Labs, Altera, Canonical, and IBM collaborated to produce the IBM Data engine for NoSQL. NVIDIA and IBM cooperated to produce the IBM POWER S824L server with GPU acceleration. Both were announced last October. You can expect more product announcements in coming months.

We believe that these are among the most significant developments to date in the Linux world. Future blogs will explore further details of POWER8 technology and services.  We’ll discuss what it means to developers/users in more detail as well as discuss benefits to architects, developers and other users.



[1] IBM Client Centers see: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/services/clientcenters/index.html; IBM Innovation Centers see: http://ibm.com/partnerworld/iic; POWER Development Platform see: http://ibm.com/partnerworld/pdp
[2] Note that Linux on RHEL (in beta), SUSE and Ubuntu are all supporting little endian on Power
[4] More information about OpenPOWER at: http://openpowerfoundation.org/ for a discussion of the exciting projects underway.
[5] Google demonstrates its motherboard with a POWER8 processor: http://www.cnet.com/news/google-acquires-a-taste-for-ibms-power8-processors/



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

IBM z13: Redefining the Mainframe

 By Rich Ptak


After celebrating 50-years of mainframe success, IBM was not about to rest on its laurels. Rather, it was time to shake up the market! This is exactly what they are doing with the launch of IBM z13, the high-end of a new generation of mainframes!  A brand-new chip design, more features, expanded memory, greatly increased cache and more open than ever, IBM z13 is full of good news.
 

There are too many changes in this latest incarnation of the mainframe to cover in detail. We offer a few nuggets to show what drives the demand for mainframe computing and what IBM z13 delivers. Mainframe innovation continues unabated with over 7,000 mainframe-related patents since 1964, with more than 500 issued last year.
 

Its success spans multiple workload types. Workloads include transaction processing, data serving, and mixed workload processing. It delivers leading-edge operational efficiency, sets the standard for performance in trusted and secure[1] computing, remains legendary in reliability, availability and resiliency[2] – delivered in a package with virtually limitless scalability.
 

These continue, but computing has changed. New workloads and increasing sophistication in the ways of using/accessing technology emerged. Today’s users and applications demand specialized capabilities in a platform designed for and able to provide:
  • World-class data and transaction handling specifically for a mobile generation;
  • Integrated transaction and analytics for right-time insights at the point of impact and optimal application;
  • An efficient and trusted cloud that transforms and improves IT economics.

IBM z13 is designed from the ground up to support these tasks.
 

IBM designed capabilities into IBM z13 to optimize cloud support in all implementations, enhance its big data & analytics processing capabilities, expand support for enterprise mobile applications and build on existing world-class security. These define and drive the next generation of computing. The full impact of IBM z13 features, capabilities and functions will be analyzed over the coming months. Here are a few of the highlights we know today.
 

Real-time analysis reduces the time to get actionable insight and information from very large datasets. Linux, Java and zIIP workloads perform faster thus reducing the number of systems required and improving economics. Users get real-time reporting as analytics workloads run faster with accelerated processing. More data can be kept on-line and accessible for analysis with advanced accelerated data compression further reducing storage costs.


Linux developers and architects benefit from enterprise grade Linux with access to previously z/OS-exclusive functionality, such as IBM zAware, for real time device management, IBM GPFS (announced earlier) and with  plans for future delivery of the GDPS virtual appliance.


A new, uniquely designed 8 core-processor chip lies at the heart of the IBM z13. The system has a modular, drawer-based design based on 22nm Silicon Technology and offers up to 141 configurable cores. Capable of supporting up to 10TB of RAIM memory, data services (handling, access, analysis, etc.) are optimized with newly redesigned, larger sized caches. Data encryption, including ISPEC and SSL, benefits from augmented Cryptographic Assist Co-Processor Facility (CPACF). Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) allows larger and more complex mathematical models that get to the results more quickly.

 
Cost effectiveness and efficiencies are improved the economies of scale from large increases in throughput for workloads using Linux and zIIP specialty engines. Required disk space and data transfer times are reduced as a result of improvements on on-chip hardware compression. Later this year, the IBM z13 will add support for KVM virtualization to existing Red Hat and SUSE virtualization. Computing costs are lower for medium to large scale implementations as IBM z13 can support up to 8000 virtual servers on a single system.


The list of improvements continues. We will cover these and other enhancements in future blogs and papers. IBM summarizes how the IBM z13 is reinventing enterprise IT for the digital business as follows:
  • Designed for data and transaction serving for the mobile generation
  • Designed for integrating transactions and analytics for insight at the point of impact
  • Designed for efficient and trusted cloud services to transform the economics of IT
 
In our opinion, this next year of mainframe computing will be extremely interesting for both the user community and IBM.
 

[1] http://itic-corp.com/
[2] http://itic-corp.com/blog/2014/04/itic-2014-reliability-survey-ibm-servers-most-reliable-for-sixth-straight-year-cisco-ucs-comes-on-strong-hp-reliability-rebounds/



Friday, January 9, 2015

BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0

By Audrey Rasmussen

BMC recently released BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0, which expands its capabilities to help manage capacity and keep IT aligned to the digital business in today’s dynamic, hybrid environments. The new product name is the result of BMC’s new “TrueSight” product branding, but the latest version evolves BMC’s capacity management solution.

Capacity Management Matters Even More

At first glance, pairing capacity management with the dynamic scalability of Cloud computing seems like an oxymoron. However with Cloud computing’s “pay for what you use” model, the cost benefit of optimally timing the scaling of resources up and down can add up to significant savings. Additionally, when Cloud is combined with other technology trends, they collectively increase the importance of capacity management.
The emergence of trends like Social media, agile development, Web and Mobile are significantly increasing the volume of interactions and data, while speeding up process cycles. So as businesses innovate faster and develop new and more apps to reach existing and potential customers, IT capacity requirements fluctuate dynamically, and the pace of change accelerates to the point where it’s difficult to keep track of it all.
In addition, applications running in corporate data centers and/or in the cloud, complicate matters even more.
BMC’s latest release (10.0) of TrueSight Capacity Optimization aims to help address the challenges of capacity optimization in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

Reservation-aware Capacity Optimization

Reservation-aware capacity optimization is a new feature of release 10.0, which is the ability to incorporate IT resource reservations from planned projects, into capacity plans. By providing insight into the timing of future IT resource requirements, IT staffs can intelligently plan for, ensure they can deliver IT resource commitments successfully to their business counterparts, and optimize the balance between cost and service quality.
IT staffs will have a more complete view of future capacity requirements with 10.0 because it combines planned future demand (reservation-awareness) with current capacity/ usage planning (based on actual performance and monitoring data) that is already delivered by TrueSight Capacity Optimization.    

Capacity Pool View

Also new to release 10.0 is the Capacity Pool View, which is a dashboard showing at-a-glance status views of capacity pools. It graphically displays usage, risk and efficiency metrics for each capacity pool. See Figure 1 below. The Capacity Pool View provides better visibility into the status and risk of their capacity pools, enabling them to better manage current and future capacity. 


Extending Cloud Support

BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 now integrates with OpenStack-based clouds, via a built-in connector to OpenStack NOVA APIs. As OpenStack continues to gain traction in the market, this new integration extends BMC’s capacity management reach to broader cloud infrastructures.

Our Final Perspective    

In today’s increasingly competitive and fast paced business climate, IT staffs have to deliver well-performing, high quality IT services faster and better. BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 extends IT’s capacity visibility by adding the impact of future IT demand with existing capacity, through its reservation-aware capacity optimization. This enables IT staffs to be more confident that they can support new IT-dependent business initiatives as they come onboard in the future.
BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization 10.0 increases capacity visibility for IT staffs and managers, which in turn, should help reduce the IT capacity-dependent risks for new business initiatives. IT staffs now have better visibility into capacity demand, enabling them to deliver sufficient IT resources for new business initiatives, while wisely timing the delivery of services for cost efficiency.
The new features in version 10.0 moves BMC TrueSight Capacity Optimization forward in helping its customers more effectively manage capacity in today’s dynamic and hybrid cloud environments. This extends and builds on BMC’s established legacy in capacity management and supports the company’s vision to help transform the digital enterprise. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Compuware Topaz – Mainframe Software for the 21st Century

By Rich Ptak

A newly privatized Compuware is setting out to significantly impact the mainframe marketplace. The changes started before the acquisition by private equity firm, Thoma Bravo. Compuware now focuses exclusively on mainframe software products, while the distributed application performance management products reside in spin-off Dynatrace. This makes sense as the escalation in the use of technologies like Cloud, Mobile, Big Data/Analytics, Security, etc. are recognized as natural mainframe workloads. Some 80% of the world’s corporate data originates on the mainframe with some 30 billion business transactions executed every day. Wise CIOs are re-examining their existing mainframe infrastructure, but many are not as they face two problems:

1.     Lack of experience with and knowledge about the mainframe itself impedes understanding its current utility, as well as its potential;

2.     Mainframe expertise is becoming a scarce commodity among computer architects, developers and operations staff.

Big problems that have no easy answers, but these are exactly what Compuware has decided to attack with the release of Topaz, a developer productivity solution designed to help a new development workforce increase their understanding of mainframe data and applications.

 
Topaz is the first product release from the new Compuware. It establishes a brand-new direction for mainframe product vendors. It is targeted specifically to enhance the productivity on the mainframe of developers, operations and architects without deep expertise on the platform. It does this by using Open Standards technologies, design goals that include simplification and a deep understanding of both the mainframe and non-mainframe environments.
 Topaz is designed to allow non-experts to improve the operational efficiency and performance of mainframe applications without becoming experts in the intricacies of mainframe functioning. In addition to its standards-based technologies, its key functionalities include a universal data editor, a relationship visualizer and host-to-host copy capabilities. Let’s examine the need Compuware wants to address, and then we’ll discuss what they deliver.
 
Read our complete take at: http://www.ptakassociates.com/content/