DancingDinosaur has participated in numerous Mainframe Tweet-Ups before, most recently Enterprise2013 and Edge2014. The Tweet-Up last Tuesday (8/12) might have been the biggest yet, generating numerous questions and responses (over 120 in one hour by DancingDinosaur’s count) on a range of topics including Linux on the mainframe, mobile on the mainframe, and more.
A Tweet-Up is a Twitter event where a panel of experts respond to questions from an audience and interactive discussions revolve around the questions. Think of the Mainframe Tweet-Up as a very mini IBM Enterprise2014. But instead of one expert panel and 100+ participants there will be over 600 expert sessions, an army of IBM experts to present and respond to questions, and over 50 case studies where you can talk directly to the user and get the real nitty-gritty.
The central attraction of Tuesday’s Mainframe Tweet-Up was Ross Mauri, General Manager of the IBM System z business. Mauri is a veteran of enterprise servers and systems, having previously held a similar position with Power Systems. Of course he is a strong proponent of the mainframe, but he also is a big advocate for mobile on the System z.
In a recent post Mauri notes that enterprise mobility will be a $30 billion market next year with twice as many corporate employees using their own mobile devices as they are today. According to Gartner, by 2017, 25% of all enterprises will have a mobile app store. Check out Mauri’s post, Mobility made possible with the mainframe, here.
Mauri really sees the System z as an essential platform for mobile: “Given IBM System z’s unprecedented enterprise scale, availability, cloud, analytics, and mobile capabilities, we (the IBM mainframe team) are poised to deliver value to clients’ enterprise mobility needs. The marketplace demands mobile capabilities and has for years because their customers demand it of them. Across industries, consumers mandate immediate, any time access to their accounts and information. Consider what’s possible when IBM System z delivers enterprise mobility to these institutions,” he wrote.
Africa stands to gain the most from mobile mainframe, especially when it comes to banking. Mauri continued. Nearly 80% of Africa’s population – 326 million people — is unbanked, denying them the ability to get education and business loans or support their families. First National Bank (FNB) and the mainframe are changing that. Using System z’s mobile bank-in-a-box solutions, FNB brings secure banking to the customer in ways they’re familiar with — to the tune of 234 million monthly mobile banking transactions. IBM’s System z bank-in-a-box solutions eliminate the need for FNB’s customers to rely on couriers. Families have their funds in seconds instead of days and save sizable courier fees. For the people who now use this solution, their lives have been changed forever.
DancingDinosaur has been on top of the mobile mainframe since IBM first began talking about it in the spring of 2010, and most recently here and here. The mainframe, especially with the new discounted z/OS pricing, makes an ideal cost-efficient platform for mobile computing. The z is a particularly good choice since much of the processing resulting from mobile activity will be handled right on the z, probably even the same z.
Mobile certainly was a top topic in the Mainframe Tweet-Up. One discussion addressed whether mobile would increase mainframe workloads or just shift it to coming from different devices. Instead of using an ATM to check your balance, for example, you would use the bank’s mobile app. The responses were varied: everyone agreed that mobile would increase transaction volume overall, but the transactions would follow a different cycle, a predominantly read cycle. If you have an opinion, feel welcome to weigh in with a comment.
Another discussion focused on mainframe simplification and looked at z/OSMF and CICS Explorer as two simplification/GUI tools, along with z/OS HealthChecker, RTD, and PFA. A different discussion turned to APIs and the z; concluding that the z has the APIs to effectively work with SoftLayer and also connect with APIM. Another participant added that the z works with the RESTful API. And not surprisingly there was an active discussion on Linux on z. The expert panelists and participants overall kept things very lively.
The Mainframe Tweet-Up was a small taste of what is coming in IBM Enterprise2014, Oct. 6-10 at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Register now; last year’s event sold out. IBM is expecting over 3000 attendees. DancingDinsosaur certainly will be there.
DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. You also can find him at Technologywriter.com.