Sunday, 9 January 2011

Mainframe computing 2011

This is the time of year when people make predictions for what we can expect to see in the coming year, so here are my predictions...

I predict that the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook will appear in early January and be downloaded by around 15 000 mainframe professionals. The Yearbook includes an annual mainframe 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.

I also predict the Virtual IMS user group will restart its virtual meetings and newsletters early in the New Year. Virtual IMS is a user group established as a way for individuals using IBM's IMS hierarchical database and transaction processing systems to exchange information, learn new techniques, and advance their skills with the product. The first virtual meeting takes place on Tuesday 8 February at 10:30 CDT. The presentation is by Fundi Software’s Jim Martin and is entitled, “Solving the problem when IMS isn't the cause”. Users might report slow response time from IMS, but you suspect that other systems are responsible. For example, what appears to be an IMS performance problem could be a CICS, DB2, WebSphere, or z/OS performance problem. Your challenge is to correlate performance data in IMS with activity in these other systems in order to discover the cause of the slow response time. This talk will explain how to do it.

With all the hype about cloud computing, 2011 is the year cloud computing will become commonplace. In many ways, this is a major technology change that is being driven by users. They like the simple life (or should I say, we like the simple life). It’s very easy to turn on your browser and have all the applications you want just there waiting for you – like the apps on your phone. You then use the applications as you want them. Users are looking for the same simplicity in their working environment and organizations are going to have to provide this paradigm-shift way of working.

And talking of smart phones, I predict that the device of choice is not going to be a small laptop or netbook, but a large smart phone (or small tablet). Something that you can fit in your pocket, but has everything you need to do a day’s work on it. And, of course, cloud computing makes this easier too.

I predict there will be more GUI-looking software on mainframes so that youngsters will feel right at home using the technology. And I predict there will be much more mainframe automation going on – which will allow the few experts available within an organization to do more work with fewer resources.

Social media will have embraced all sizes of businesses, so if you want to find out what IBM or any other major (or less major!) vendor is up to, you’ll be able to do it in the Twitter, Facebook, whatever, environment you are currently familiar with.

In the consumer market, I predict more people watching TV programmes through laptops and smart phones. It’s so easy and convenient to catch the latest news on a smart phone.

I predict that mainframes will NOT disappear in 2011.

I predict the arrival of more mainframe monitoring apps on smart phones – so you know straightaway if there is an issue with the network etc. You’ll then pull out your tablet or laptop and solve the problem using the nice GUI on the software.

I’d also like to predict world peace and harmony – maybe next year!

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