Do Your ISVs Run Current Z Systems

How many of your mainframe ISVs have the latest z15? Here is my mea culpa: DancingDinosaur has spoken with many mainframe ISVs repeatedly over the years–usually their PR people or SMEs anyway–and never specifically asked if they were running the latest z at the time. I’m embarrassed; it will now be the first question I ask when they come looking for publicity.

IBM Launches Their New Mainframe Called the IBM z15

IBM z15

DancingDinosaur recently spoke with Matt Deres, the CIO of Rocket Software, a leading mainframe ISV, specifically because they had recently upgraded from a z14 to the latest z15. For the record, Rocket Software is a privately held ISV founded in 1990. Rocket develops products in such fields as analytics, networks, data, storage, and enterprise software. The firm’s products are designed to run on mainframes, Linux/Unix/Windows, IBM i, cloud, and hybrid/virtualized systems.

“The main reason we got it was to make sure we’re using the same platform our customers are using and buying,” explained Deres. In addition, they wanted to take advantage of the new features and functionality.  Their system is a z15 Model 717, running 9 IFLs.

The company is committed to keeping current with the technology. That means moving to a z16 in 24-30 months. “We usually lag a few months behind,” he admits. Even with that small lag, Rocket ensures its software remains state-of-the-art.

Currently the company’s 900 people are using the z15. These include developers, sales engineers, and consultants. And the transition from the z14 to the z15 proved seamless. People kept working without interruption.

Granted, small ISVs may have difficulty securing a fully configured z. There are, however, other ways to gain access to z functionality. Sure, they are not the same as having an actual z, even an older, modestly configured one. OK, not every ISV can be Rocket Software when it comes to staying current with the z, but there are other ways. 

For example, IBM Workload Simulator for z/OS and OS/390 can simulate a network of terminals and its associated messages. This solution for stress, performance, regression, function, and capacity planning testing eliminates the need for large amounts of terminal hardware and operator time by providing a powerful analysis with log list, log compare, and response time utilities.

Maybe the most popular is the IBM zPDT. The z Personal Development Tool (zPDT) allows developers to emulate z/OS on their x86 desktops.  z/OS on x86 may be one of the easiest ways to grow a mainframe ISV business, especially if budget is tight. Basically, it lets you simulate z functionality on an x86 system.

Finally, there is Hercules, an emulator. Hercules, as described by Wikipedia, allows software written for IBM mainframes  (System/370, System/390, and zSeries/System z) and plug-compatible mainframes (such as Amdahl) to run on other types of computer hardware, notably on low-cost personal computers. Development started in 1999 by Roger Bowler, a mainframe systems programmer.

Hercules runs under multiple parent operating systems including GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, FreeBSD, Solaris, and Mac OS X and is released under the open source software license QPL.  A vendor (or distributor) must still provide an operating system, and the user must install it. Hercules, reportedly,  was the first mainframe emulator to incorporate 64-bit z/Architecture support.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: