Random Acts of Architecture

Wisdom for the IT professional, focusing on chaos that is IT systems and architecture.

IBM zDay

IBM zSystems Hardware

Tomorrow, on 15 September 2022, IBM is hosting a free, virtual, one-day conference called IBM zDay. It covers audiences from students to traditional mainframe operators and topics from Linux and cloud to mainframes, piquing my interest.

For some, the brand IBM conjures images of dusty mainframes, almost the antithesis of what seems “in vogue”. Information Technology can be a “winner takes all” industry, where only a few players dominate. 

However, dismissing IBM is unwise. IBM is still a vast services company, owns Red Hat and drives significant research and innovation. Also, a vendor’s dominance does not mean its products automatically are the best for you.

Examining how different vendors solve the same problem is fascinating. Each has different strengths and messages. Looking at the same problem with different eyes can find assumptions or bottlenecks. For example, a hypothetical vendor or product switch could highlight opportunities or optimal choices.

In a world where cloud-based services abstract and commoditize hardware and networking, IBM is pushing its zSystems hardware. These modern mainframes run Linux simultaneously with more traditional mainframe operating systems. Understanding their capabilities and economics is pivotal, given that many companies still use on-premise equipment for mission-critical systems.

The Modernization stream looks interesting. Every established organization supports legacy systems they would develop differently if modern solutions were available. Vendors often ignore these, focusing on the “latest and greatest” offerings. While likely aimed at selling new IBM solutions to existing IBM clients, seeing a vendor focus on this area is refreshing. 

IBM also sprinkles often overused terms like artificial intelligence, sustainability, security and privacy throughout the schedule. Seeing “big blue” deliver something substantial or unique would be welcome.

Unfortunately, the timezone for IBM zDay is not friendly to Australians. However, I registered and look forward to perusing key sessions afterwards. Even if I am not an IBM customer, a broader understanding helps me be a better IT professional.

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