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Back to the Future: The Platform for the Next Era of IT

Alan Radding, Big4.com guest blogger

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You already know what the next era of IT will look like: mobile, cloud, big data, and IoT. It has been shaping up like a tsunami rolling toward a distant shore and slowly engulfing your clients. How much more can you patch together their systems before they give it up or turn it over to an outsourcing provider?

z13 Infographic - The Starburst Effect

Each mobile transaction explodes into many more

Or maybe they are ready to drop it all on Amazon Web Services (AWS). They’ve seen the pitch—an Oracle instance for pennies a day. Have you educated them about what those pennies don’t buy or how fast those pennies add up to big numbers when they do the actual math or figure how much more they will have to pay for additional services they invariably will need after they read the fine print?

This probably is not a pleasant conversation to have with any client, and it’s only going to get harder. The deluge of smartphones and tablets, sensors and smart appliances just keeps coming. The flood of data is not letting up soon or in any foreseeable future. Even if you recently revamped your client’s systems they will need to do it again… and again… and again… Where does it end and what is going to become of your role as IT consultant?

The conversation with your client really needs to be about preparing for the next era of IT, let’s call it the mobile era. It can be a short conversation; they have two choices: to be part of this newly emerging era of IT or be left behind.

The easy answer is more of the same. More x86 systems, more virtualization, more software defined everything, more AWS and its competitors. Unfortunately that won’t work. It is way too expensive, too labor-intensive, too unreliable, too inflexible, too unmanageable, and too insecure.

A better answer points back to the future—a mainframe platform. But not just any mainframe. IBM has introduced a mainframe, the z13, designed and optimized for the mobile IT future already bearing down on your customers. Am sure you can imagine the screams of protest from your client’s IT team; too expensive, too cumbersome, too difficult, too wrong in so many ways.  They will make their arguments based on decades-old notions of what they thought the mainframe was when they were still in diapers.  Before you let them reject the notion outright based on outdated myths insist they confront today’s reality and run the numbers. They and even you may be surprised.

In the new era of IT driven by widespread mobility massive scalability, availability, flexibility, and security are what counts. The newest generation of mainframes come with 141 configurable cores. You can designate all of them to run Linux, making it a Linux monster able to run as many as 8000 Linux instances with top performance and multiple levels of rock solid security.  Or it can become a cloud services demon enabling superior cloud services at up to 32% lower cost than an x86-based cloud. It also will cost up to 60% less than Public Cloud over three years (remember to include the AWS fine print for all the costs). In almost every metric, the IBM z13 delivers more capacity, throughput, and performance at lower cost.

In the new era of IT, hybrid clouds will dominate. The z13 delivers the ideal private/hybrid cloud architecture, able to seamlessly scale and reliably and securely handle multiple concurrent workloads. Its scale-out model scales both up and out, supporting more than 50 virtual servers per core.  Given the highly advantageous treatment of Oracle licenses on the z13, the license savings from running just a few hundred Oracle Linux VMs on the machine alone can effectively pay for the purchase. And don’t forget to include the lower energy and facilities costs.

The z13 effectively lowers the cost of running a cloud; Just do the comparative math. Remember, with an x86 cloud you will have to figure in the added cost of availability and failover and the labor required. Additionally, the z13 is based on open standards, fully supporting Linux and OpenStack, which further lowers the costs compared to an x86 Windows cloud.

The new era of IT also will be the era of smart analytics. The volume, velocity, and variety of the information pouring in requires real-time analytics. The z13 includes new support for Hadoop, enabling unstructured data to be analyzed within the system. Up to 10TB of onboard memory enables fast in-memory data processing and analytics.  Other analytics advances include faster acceleration of queries by adding DB2 BLU for Linux, enhancements to the IBM DB2 analytics accelerator, and vastly improved performance for mathematically intense analytics workloads. In the process, the z13 eliminates the ETL cost, latency, and overhead involved in moving data off platform for analytics.

It’s time to steer your clients into the new era of IT. Do your analysis fresh and look beyond the decades-old mainframe myths that hinder them (and you) from moving forward.

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