Posts Tagged social business

Mainframe Workload Economics

IBM never claims that every workload is suitable for the zEnterprise. The company prefers to talk about platform issues in terms of fit-for-purpose or tuned-to-the-task. With the advent of hybrid computing, the low cost z114, and now the expected low cost version of the zEC12 later this year, however, you could make a case for any workload that benefits from the reliability, security, and efficiency of the zEnterprise mainframe is fair game.

John Shedletsky, VP, IBM Competitive Project Office, did not try to make that case. To the contrary, earlier this week he presented the business case for five workloads that are optimum economically and technically on the zEnterprise.  They are:  transaction processing, critical data workloads, batch processing, co-located business analytics, and consolidation-on-one-platform. None of these should be a surprise; possibly with the exception of analytics and consolidated platform they represent traditional mainframe workloads.  BottomlineIT covered Shedletsky’s mainframe cost/workload analysis last year here.

This comes at a time when IBM has started making a lot of noise about new and different workloads on the zEnterprise. Doug Balog, head of IBM System z mainframe group, for example, was quoted widely in the press earlier this month talking about bringing mobile computing workloads to the z. Says Balog in Midsize Insider: “I see there’s a trend in the market we haven’t directly connected to z yet, and that’s this mobile-social platform.”

Actually, this isn’t even all that new either. BottomlineIT’s sister blog, DancingDinosaur, was writing about organizations using SOA to connect CICS apps running on the z to users with mobile devices a few years ago here.

What Shedletsky really demonstrated this week was the cost-efficiency of the zEC12.  In one example he compared a single workload, app production/dev/test running on a 16x, 32-way HP Superdome and an 8x, 48-way Superdome with a zEC12 41-way. The zEC12 delivered the best price/performance by far, $111 million (5yr TCA) for the zEC12 vs. $176 million (5yr TCA) for the two Superdomes.

When running Linux on z workloads with the zEC12 compared to 3 Oracle database workloads (Oracle Enterprise Edition, Oracle RAC, 4 server nodes per cluster) supporting 18K transactions/sec.  running on 12 HP DL580 servers (192 cores) the HP system priced out at $13.2 million (3yr TCA) compared to a zEC12 running 3 Oracle RAC clusters (4 nodes per cluster, each as a Linux guest) with 27 IFLs that priced out at $5.7 million (3yr TCA). The zEC12 came in at less than half the cost.

With analytics such a hot topic these days Shedletsky also presented a comparison of the zEnterprise Analytics System 9700 (zEC12, DB2 v10, z/OS, 1 general processor, 1 zIIP) and an IDAA with a current Teradata machine. The result: the Teradata cost $330K/queries per hour compared to $10K/queries per hour.  Workload time for the Teradata was 1,591 seconds for 9.05 queries per hour compared to 60.98 seconds and 236 queries per hour on the zEC12. The Teradata total cost was $2.9 million compared to $2.3 million for the zEC12.

None of these are what you would consider new workloads, and Shedletsky has yet to apply his cost analysis to mobile or social business workloads. However, the results shouldn’t be much different. Mobile applications, particularly mobile banking and other mobile transaction-oriented applications, will play right into the zEC12 strengths, especially when they are accessing CICS on the back end.

While transaction processing, critical data workloads, batch processing, co-located business analytics, and consolidation-on-one-platform remain the sweet spot for the zEC12, Balog can continue to make his case for mobile and social business on the z. Maybe in the next set of Shedletsky comparative analyses we’ll see some of those workloads come up.

For social business the use cases aren’t quite clear yet. One use case that is emerging, however, is social business big data analytics. Now you can apply the zEC12 to the analytics processing part at least and the efficiencies should be similar.


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Building Bridges between Users and IT

You’ve probably experienced it many time—the adversarial relationship between IT and the end user community.  Forrester Research reports that just 35% of business decision-makers say IT provides high quality, timely end user support.   That means as much as 65% of employees increasingly are circumventing their IT organizations in search of faster support and problem resolution.

IDC too has looked at the problem, which it calls IT friction. This results from the rising cost in both hard dollars and lost productivity as individuals struggle to use a combination of corporate, third-party and personal IT platforms across offices, homes, planes, trains and hotels.

This is not exactly new but the latest trend, part of the consumerization of IT that this blog covered a little over a year ago, exacerbating the situation. Social business, mobile web, BYOD, the proliferation of app stores, cloud-based anything, and more demand a solution before end users render IT irrelevant.

To that end software provider BMC launched MyIT, enterprise software that empowers employees to take personal control over the delivery of the IT services and information they need. The goal is to let users access and manage their use of IT services anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

A couple of organizations already are adopting MyIT.  PEMEX, a large energy company, will adopt the BMC tool for its more than 75,000 IT users. PEMEX expects that the use of MyIT will reduce the company’s cost of service delivery and enable it to compete more effectively, both for markets and for talent.

That also is the expectation at Carfax, another early adopter.  The problem, as Robert Stinnett, senior analyst at Carfax, sees it is that “IT people and non-IT people sometimes talk two different languages, and it’s hard to cross that barrier. In fact, a lot of times there’s this unfounded fear of IT because the users typically don’t get the information they need, or don’t understand it when it is given to them.” He expects MyIT to resolve what is a universal problem.

How universal?   A recent online search using Radian 6 showed more than 3.8 million posts emanating from individuals seeking help or expressing frustration regarding corporate IT issues they were experiencing — in just one week, BMC reports.

MyIT clearly hits the right end user buttons. IT proactively notifies users of the status of services via any form the user prefers—text message, email, phone. It recognizes the user and even knows where the user is located, incorporating location awareness into its response. For instance, it could direct a user visiting a different facility to a printer, if requested. It also recognizes the user’s role and makes services and data available based on that.

It enables users to request help desk support, make service appointments, and get status updates of service requests. BMC built MyIT on its Remedy product and to work with the company’s mobile device management tools. An open interface, however, enables you to connect it to other systems. It is priced based on the number of users and is available either as on-premise software or through the SaaS model.

The consumerization of IT finally may be ending IT’s unquestioned control of and access to systems and data. According to IDC, “the best consumer IT companies have taught people to expect a lot from their IT experience.  In their lives people experience IT in intensely personal, highly mobile, very productive ways.  But as they cross the bridge from personal IT to enterprise IT, much of that is lost as companies strive to balance access with risk — often without adequate resources.  What employees receive instead is often compromised in comparison to what they have in their personal lives.”

IDC calls this IT friction and calculates it adds as much as 20% to the employee workload – that’s a material fraction of a typical work week lost.

Given the cost of IT friction this is not just an end user relationship management issue but a significant business issue that can impact the bottom line.  Tools like MyIT and competitive tools that likely will follow can help mitigate the problem.

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