SHARE—Mainframes rule

The best t-shirt seen at the SHARE conference wrapping up in Austin today reads Mainframes Rule, from the publisher of Mainframe Executive and z/Journal. It captures the spirit of the SHARE conference perfectly. You can order one from the publisher.

Usually at technology conferences I feel like one of the oldest guys there among all the twenty-something geeks. But not at SHARE . At the SHARE conference I felt right at home among the forty-, fifty-, and sixty-somethings. There was no shortage of gray balding heads walking around.

The thirty-somethings stood out as the youngsters. The few twenty-somethings wandering around must have felt like they had unexpectedly beamed aboard an alien spaceship. IBM is going to have to ramp up its college campus proselytizing even more.

The SHARE program is exhaustive in its scope, depth, and detail. You can access the presentations here The program covered everything from the last IBM System z announcements to teaching new tricks to old subsystems like CICS and IMS.

Much of the focus, not surprisingly, was on the sexy new stuff like Linux, Java, Web 2.0., and cloud computing. However, I also found myself attracted to an odd assortment of esoteric sessions, ranging from the future of CICS to Server Time Protocol to setting up a z/OS Parallel Sysplex in one box.

One particularly interesting idea caught my attention; business intelligence (BI) on the System z. BI, decision support, data warehousing, online analytical processing (OLAP)—however you choose to refer to it—has drifted away from the mainframe over the years. Instead, companies set up data warehouses and data marts on a different platform and extract the transaction data from the mainframe for subsequent analytical processing, BI, and decision support.

That approach, however, goes against one of the cardinal rules of computing: keep the data as close as possible. In that case, BI should be handled on the System z. It is an idea that IBM has started to push

Although DB2 appears to be IBM’s chosen vehicle for BI on the System z, the company also has bolstered its Informix database for data warehousing and BI. The Informix Dynamic Server Enterprise Edition runs on System z.

Anyway, expect to hear a lot more about BI on the System z in the coming months.

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