Sunday, 28 October 2012

IOD news

In a week that saw Windows 8 and that funny iPad mini being announced, the really hot news was coming out of IBM’s Information On Demand (IOD) conference in Vegas.

Running under the ‘Think Big’ tag we saw IBM announce IBM PureData System, InfoSphere Guardium V9.0, InfoSphere Information Server V9.1, InfoSphere Master Data Management V10.1, IBM Cognos Insight Personal Edition, IBM Cognos 10.2, IBM Cognos TM1.1.1, IBM Cognos Disclosure Management, IBM Analytical Decision Management, IBM SPSS Statistics, IBM SPSS Modeler, Intelligent Investigation Manager, Patient Care and Insights, Datacap Taskmaster Capture, and Content Manager OnDemand for Multiplatforms.

The third member in IBM’s PureSystems family is the PureData System, which is designed for big data cloud appliances by providing data services to various applications. This new PureData System family comprises: PureData System for Transactions, which is aimed at improving data management costs; and PureData System for Analytics, which is designed to analyse large volumes of data.

InfoSphere Guardium V9.0: introduces Hadoop Activity Monitoring to protect sensitive data in Big Data environments; enhances data security for System z with improved performance, resiliency and scalability; further reduces TCO and provides simplified scalability with Guardium grid/load balancing; introduces Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) reporting in Vulnerability Assessment; and extends in-depth data security with new security solutions integrations, such as Security Intelligence with QRadar, and IDS (Intrusion Detection System) insight with F5.

InfoSphere Information Server V9.1 provides a scalable, secure, and robust data integration platform. V9.1 offers new features to help rationalize increasingly complex environment and address evolving data integration requirements, so that data is accessible, authoritative, consistent, timely, and in context for analysis and reporting.

InfoSphere Master Data Management V10.1 builds on the unification of InfoSphere Master Data Management Server, Initiate Master Data Service, and InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaboration Server. New features include: Master Data Policy Management; enhanced Business Process Management (BPM) integration capabilities and sample workflows; enhanced probabilistic matching and searching; enhancements to the InfoSphere MDM Application Toolkit; advanced Rules Management; and advanced Catalog Management.

Cognos Insight Personal Edition, IBM’s personal analytics solution enables business users and analysts to access business information and share it with others. IBM Cognos 10.2 lets users import personal or business data from spreadsheets or csv files, select visualizations of the data, drill-down for trends, and more. They can use drag-and-drop data visualization, what-if scenario modelling, and dashboard style delivery.

IBM Cognos TM1.1.1 delivers capabilities in personal desktop analysis for data exploration, prototyping, and results sharing for personal, workgroup, and enterprise levels. Users get: easier modelling for planning and analysis solutions; improved server performance with the new IBM Cognos TM1 Operations Console; and advances in distributed architecture for increased scale and interactivity.

The IBM Analytical Decision Management integrates predictive analytics, local rules, scoring, and optimization techniques into an organization’s systems, and then delivers real-time recommendations at the point of impact so organization can consistently drive better outcomes.
IBM SPSS Modeler is a high-performance predictive and text analytics workbench that enables organizations to gain insight from their data and deliver a positive return on investment by embedding predictive analytics into business processes.

Intelligent Investigation Manager optimizes fraud investigation and analysis for insurance, banking, healthcare, and other customers, and public safety programmes for government and law enforcement organizations. It dynamically coordinates and reports on cases, provides analysis and visualization, and enables more efficient and effective investigations.

Patient Care and Insights is an integrated and configurable set of solutions that brings together advanced analytics and care management capabilities to help healthcare organizations maximize the value of information for treating patients.

Content Manager OnDemand for Multiplatforms delivers instant access to bills, statements, and other print archive information. This helps them quickly respond to customer inquiries and manage access to electronic reports used to communicate activities and performance across an organization Content Manager OnDemand helps organizations reduce print, storage and distribution costs in support of a greener content delivery solution.

Obviously, much more detail can be found on IBM’s Web site.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Guide Share Europe annual conference

The Guide Share Europe (GSE) UK Annual Conference is taking place on 13-14 November at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, Near Towcester, Northamptonshire NN12 8QH, UK.

Sponsors this year include IBM, Computacenter, PKWARE, CA Technologies, Attachmate Suse, Vanguard, Compuware, GT Software, RSM Partners, Blenheim Software, Sett, and Red Hat. And there will be over 30 vendors in the associated exhibition.

There’s the usual amazing range of streams – and, to be honest, there are a number of occasions when I would like to be in two or more places at once over the two days. The streams are: CICS, IMS, DB2, Enterprise Security, Large Systems Working Group, Network Management Working Group, zLinux, Storage Management, TWS (Tivoli Workload Schedular), Automation, New Technologies, Software Asset Management, MQ, Application Development, and Assembler Training.

There are also keynotes from Mark Anzani, VP and CTO for System z at IBM. And there’s the not-to-be-missed “Dealing with difficult people” session from Resli Costabell.

That means that at this year’s conference there will be well over 140 hours of education covering most aspects of mainframe technology – more than last year. This year, there will be 14 streams of ten sessions over the two days, plus Assembler Training, plus four keynotes.

There is still time to register, and the organizers are expecting the daily total of delegates to exceed 300 – as it did last year.

A number of the streams have 101 sessions at different times during the two days to give newcomers and those unfamiliar with parts of the mainframe infrastructure a basic understanding of the that mainframe technology and how it works.

You can find out more details about the conference at

If you’re still debating whether to go, let me recommend it to you. The quality of presentations is always excellent. And the networking opportunities are brilliant. If you are going, I look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

IOD – so near yet so far away!

The IBM Information On Demand 2012 global conference is one of those conferences that you just don’t want to miss. And yet, like me, when you’re based in the UK, that’s just what’s going to happen. I won’t be rubbing shoulders with the people attending, listening to the speakers, or visiting the exhibitors stands. But I will be keeping up-to-date with what’s going on!

IOD 2012 runs from this coming Sunday, 21 October, to Thursday 25 at Mandalay Bay resort Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This year, the old IBM slogan, “Think”, has been turned into “Think BIG”. And the whole conference is billed as the largest System z software event in the world. The Web site at goes on to say that it delivers “the know-how you need to optimize business performance, drive more value from existing business analytics deployments, and get the latest innovations and success strategies from IBM experts, analysts, and customers.”

I chair the Virtual IMS user group – you can find us at – so I’m very interested in the IMS stream at IOD, particularly Betty J Patterson’s (a Distinguished Engineer with IBM) session, “Taking IMS to New Heights: What the Future Holds for IMS” and Dinesh Nirmal’s (IMS Director, IBM) “IMS Futures Roadmap” keynote seminar. But there is so much more of interest. You can see the session details at

It’s not just IMS that’s featured, there are DB2 sessions, business analytics/data warehousing sessions, and tools and utilities sessions, totalling, they say, 180 executive, business leadership, and technical sessions in all.

And while it might seem unfair to highlight any of the many sessions going on at IOD, I guess that’s what everyone has to do in order to set a personal agenda for the four days. I’d like to attend some of the client-led sessions and see what real users are doing with their mainframes. What problems they’ve been experiencing and learn how they’ve overcome them. And I’d like to get my hands dirty in the hands-on labs and workshops. Perhaps dig a little deeper than I’ve ever had the chance to do with a production system.

Going to IOD lets you chat to other users. To find out that perhaps you’re not alone dealing with the pressures of fewer staff and tightening budgets, and listening to what tools and techniques other people have used to overcome these issues – and perhaps get an early warning about issues that haven’t come your way yet!

I can’t be there in person, but as an IBM Champion for the past four years, you may see my picture on display. I will definitely be using my laptop and tablet to keep up-to-date with the news and information already coming from the IOD 2012 Web site. I’ll be reading press releases and the blogs (, and I’ll be watching out for people tweeting and reading with interest what they have to say. And I’m hoping that my friends, who are there, will keep me in the loop with regular and frequent e-mails.

And to those of you who are lucky enough to attend – enjoy!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2013

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook has been the de facto reference work for IT professionals working with z/OS (and its forerunner) systems since 2005. It includes an annual user survey, an up-to-date directory of vendors and consultants, a media guide, a strategy section with papers on mainframe trends and directions, a glossary of terminology, and a technical specification section. Each year, the Yearbook is downloaded by around 15,000 mainframe professionals. The current issue is still available at

Very shortly, many mainframe professionals will receive an e-mail telling them that Mark Lillycrop and I have started work on the 2013 edition of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook. If you don’t hear from us, then e-mail and I will add you to our mailing list.

As in previous years, we’re inviting mainframe professionals to complete the annual user survey, which will shortly be up and running at The more users who complete the survey, the more accurate and therefore useful the survey report will be. All respondents before Friday 7 December will receive a free PDF copy of the survey results on publication. The identity and company information of all respondents is treated in confidence and will never be divulged to third parties. And any comments made by respondents will be anonymized before publication. If you go to user group meetings, IOD, GCE Europe, etc, or just hang out with mainframers from other sites, please pass on the word about this survey. We’re hoping that this year’s user survey will be the most comprehensive survey ever. Current estimates suggest that there are somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 companies using mainframes spread over 10,000 sites worldwide.

Anyone reading this who works for a vendor, consultant, or service provider, can ensure their company gets a free entry in the vendor directory section by completing the form, which will be at This form can also be used to amend last year’s entry.

Also, as in previous years, there is an opportunity for organizations to sponsor the Yearbook or take out a half-page advertisement. Half-page adverts (5.5in x 8.5in max landscape) cost $750 (UK£460). Sponsors get a full-page advert (11in x 8.5in) in the Yearbook; inclusion of a corporate paper in the Mainframe Strategy section of the Yearbook; a logo/link on the Yearbook download page on the Arcati Web site; and a brief text ad in the Yearbook publicity e-mails sent to users. All this for just $2200 (UK£1300).

To put that cost into perspective: for every dollar you spend on an advert, you reach around 20 mainframe professionals.

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2013 will be freely available for download early in January next year.