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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RBS Outage - does it cement the role of the mainframe ?

RBS Outage

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you will be aware of the significant outage that the RBS/Natwest/Ulster bank group has experienced.

Just in case you do claim a rock as your humble abode take a look at the links below for details:

This outage has sent a ripple through the mainframe world, especially with those clients who run CA's venerable scheduling software tool CA-7 and those looking to use offshore operations resource.  Without wishing to point the finger at my former employer and the quality of CA-7, a product that I have sold in the past, it would be remiss of me to mention that other mainframe scheduling products are available:

But seriously, wider than a bit of professional gloating and opportunism, the fundamental question arises - Should large organizations run significant core business critical applications on the mainframe when a single outage at a bank can cost upwards of £100m?

Well lets look at some history:

  • The mainframe has been around for some 40 years and throughout this time has been supporting key clients IT needs.
  • IBM back in 1974 committed to maintain investment in this platform
  • IBM provides 'integrity' commitments for the O/S
  • System z mean time between failure stats run into decades

But apart from these IBM commitments, large organizations have been running their IT largely glitch free for years on this platform.  In fact the very lack of this type of outage is the very reason why it has been such big news.  By way of proof - 96 of the top 100 banks globally run System z and this is the first time I have heard of such an outage of this magnitude.

Also other platforms are not without their high profile glitches:,vodafone-suffers-near-nationwide-3g-outage.aspx

In summary one of my clients runs 93% of their business logic on 4 servers that cost them 7% of their total IT Budget, whilst running 4000 distributed servers that contribute to 7% of the business logic and cost 93% of the total IT spend.  Which begs the question which looks the better bet?

Answers on a post card to @stevendickens3

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Clients chose IBM System z for analytics over Teradata and Oracle Exadata

Clients chose IBM System z for analytics over Teradata and Oracle Exadata

 Re-posted from - hope you don't mind? Just remember plagiarism is the highest form of flattery...

Here is another question where conventional wisdom about “the right answer” has been proven wrong:  can IBM System z be the best solution for data warehousing and analytics?   For many of my early days in the database software and systems business the debate raged about performance and price performance implications of using System z for analytics workloads.  Recent client stories I’ve heard tell me that the advances delivered in DB2 10 for z/OS, and the Netezza powered DB2 Analytics Accelerator, have firmly answered the question.
For those that have not heard of DB2 Analytics Accelerator, it is a Netezza data warehouse appliance that integrates directly with DB2 for z/OS such that deep analytics queries are routed to it without any need to alter the application.  Transactional and operational queries are handled by DB2 as usual, and all data remains under the industry’s highest level of security and availability.
Also, you should know the Smart Analytics System models 9700 and 9710 are integrated offerings that include Cognos BI, InfoSphere Warehouse and DB2 for z/OS software on a zEnterprise z/196 or z/114, respectively.
If you are finding it hard to believe this is a real change in the game, consider the following client examples from our Banking Industry team:

European Bank Group adds IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator to System z over Exadata
This banking consortium has  IT teams that are Oracle technology friendly, and had invested in an Exadata system last year.   They were considering moving  BI workload to the Exadata system but the IBM team demonstrated the benefits of a BI infrastructure based on IBM System z with the DB2 Analytics Accelerator.  The client chose the IBM solution.

Federal tax authority chooses IBM Smart Analytics System 9700 after DB2 10 for z/OS blows away Oracle in a performance benchmark
A benchmark between Oracle Database and DB2 for z/OS was the first step in this decision process: DB2 proved to have 10 times better performance in the benchmark.  In addition to superior performance, other decision factors for choosing IBM Smart Analytics System over Oracle included:
  • An end-to-end solution, including comprehensive data warehousing and business intelligence software
  • Reliable hardware
  • In-depth services that will support deployment and operation of the new platform
IBM System z selected over Teradata at one of the world’s oldest banks
This bank needed an integrated data warehousing solution for corporate, financial, and marketing information across the bank to reduce costs, improve revenue and drive better profitability.   Factors in choosing IBM System z over Teradata included:
  • Significant savings in hardware, software, operating and people costs
  • Faster time to value with a reduction in the time required to deploy Business Intelligence solutions
  • Industry leading scalability, reliability, availability and security
  • Simplified and faster access to the transactional and operational data on System z
North American Bank moves off Teradata in Favor of IBM Smart Analytics System
Teradata was the warehousing standard at this bank and its team had a misconception that IBM System z was not leading-edge technology or the most cost effective solution.   Fortunately, the team also had open minds and a desire to find the data warehousing and analytics solution that delivered the best value for their business.   The result: a transition from Teradata to an IBM Smart Analytics System powered by System z.

Never say never
Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that System z is the best analytics system choice for all clients in all situations.  I am saying that you should not assume it isn’t the best choice for you and your situation.  Make business decisions based on the reality of today’s facts, not based on outdated misconceptions.