Going Agile

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How do you change a waterfall software development culture that has been in existence for decades to begin using Agile?  That was what I asked myself when I took over product development of Compuware’s Mainframe Solutions last spring. I began working with the leaders of Product Management and Development to define a 24-month plan to transform how we delivered our software.  Later that summer Compuware hired a new president for our Mainframe … [Read more...]

Apps vs. Ops: Prioritizing Your Mainframe Investments in 2015

Photo credit: Roberto Berlim

Discussions about the mainframe’s future often center on the need to replace operations staff. But the most pressing challenge mainframe owners face at the moment isn’t operations. It’s protecting and extending the incalculably valuable intellectual property residing on their mainframes in the form of application code. That’s why IT leaders should aggressively prioritize modernization of mainframe application lifecycle management—and not get … [Read more...]

Rocking Marginal Cost with Mainframe Economics

Photo credit: Patrick Hoesly

Marginal cost is of paramount importance when it comes to the economics of IT.  As your business grows, after all, IT will have to support more applications, more users and bigger workloads.  If your marginal costs for doing so are high, your growth will be painful and expensive.  If your marginal costs are low, your growth will be easier and more profitable. Marginal costs in distributed computing environments, however, are nightmarishly … [Read more...]

How Companies Using Mainframes Can Thrive in the Changing IT Landscape – Lessons From Nature

Photo Credit: Jyrki Salmi

John Marzluff is an ornithologist and a professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. In his new book Subirdia, he discusses his study of what happens to the suburban bird population as their landscape changes underneath them—for instance when a wooded area is cleared for new housing, shopping or golf courses. One surprising finding is that bird diversity actually increases in the new environment. Another finding is that the … [Read more...]

Mainframe Code as Intellectual Property

Much like DNA is central to an individual's identity, mainframe application logic is intrinsic to a company's identity.

Photo credit: Mehmet Pinarci

Companies greatly value their intellectual property.  They devote considerable effort and money to protecting it.  They contractually obligate employees not to compromise it.  And if they discover that a competitor has usurped it, they pursue legal redress with the utmost intensity. Yet many companies neglect some of their most valuable IP: the business logic coded into their mainframe applications. Worse yet, if they’re not careful, the … [Read more...]

A Generational Call for Strategic Mainframe Stewardship

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Today, Compuware issued a white paper entitled “Mainframe Excellence 2025: A Generational Call for Strategic Platform Stewardship.” It’s something I hope everyone involved with the mainframe will read. Here’s why: It’s important. Companies have a lot invested in their mainframe environments. They’ve built mainframe environments of exceptional performance, scalability and reliability. They’ve developed sophisticated mainframe application … [Read more...]

Tips for a Smooth COBOL 5.1 Migration

Photo credit: Dan Davison

Some mainframe sites have already initiated projects to migrate to IBM COBOL 5.1 in hopes of reaping the millions of dollars in CPU savings that come along with the compiler, the first to truly exploit the System z architecture. Other sites are deep into research projects to scope both the effort and the benefits of this migration. For the practitioners charged with these migration tasks, this is one of those classic first-do-no-harm projects.  … [Read more...]

Five Big Mistakes You Can Make with Big Data

gold nugget

There's a lot of talk and hype about Big Data and with that comes confusion and mistakes. Here are five big mistakes you can make when starting a Big Data initiative. Ignore the source of your data. Don't pay attention to the origins of your data; it will just slow you down. You might find that the data was obtained with the understanding that it would only be used for specific purposes, outside of what you are doing. Don't relate your data. … [Read more...]

Not Rolling Stone — But Still Worth a Read!

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This month’s Enterprise Executive cover story features yours truly.  This doesn’t quite fulfill my childhood ambition to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.  But I’m still very glad that this media opportunity came my way. Here’s why. The “Mainframe’s Next 50 Years” Vision EE’s editor-in-chief Denny Yost got it right when he made the “Mainframe Next 50 Years” vision the centerpiece of our interview.  This is the core message I’ve been sharing … [Read more...]

What’s Keeping You from COBOL 5.1?

Credit: Peter Smithson

With the release of COBOL 5.1, IBM has finally delivered a compiler that fully exploits the advantages of System z architecture.  As a result, IT organizations recompiling their code in COBOL 5.1 can run their existing mainframe applications with 10-20% less CPU utilization.  That can save companies millions. These aren’t just short-term savings.  Most companies currently using mainframes will keep relying on them for another decade.  So the … [Read more...]