Haven’t We Been Here Before?

(Originally posted 2012-01-28.)

Well, some of us have. πŸ™‚

Well before we announced zEnterprise I thought it would be rolled out and adopted in a similar manner to Parallel Sysplex (and to many other technologies – whether mainframe or otherwise).

Reading zEnterprise Use Cases Start Rolling In I still think I’m right. And I will admit I needed to see something encouraging like this.

Back in the mid 1990’s we introduced Parallel Sysplex. In fact we started with Sysplex and then added the "Parallel" elements to it.

Adoption of Parallel Sysplex took a while. And hence the folklore and confidence in the value proposition took a while to take root.

If I were to list the things that needed working on to make Parallel Sysplex mainstream you might mistakenly think the same list (or even a similar sized list) of "to do’s" applied to zEnterprise. You can’t draw that conclusion. You can draw the "appropriately speedy train coming" parallel but that’s all.

But let’s revisit (a subset of) that list:

  • Performance and efficiency improvements.
  • More exploiters
  • More function
  • Enhanced Availability
  • Extra Instrumentation
  • Field – whether IBMer or customer or consultant or third-party vendor – experience

As I said, don’t take that list as a template for the way zEnterprise is going to evolve. But if you "squint" at the list some familiar themes emerge.

And the referenced blog post addresses one of these: Customer experience. Though I don’t manage the agendae for conferences it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some "customer experience" presentations soon.

As a young Systems Engineer in the late 1980’s I saw a number of considerably simpler product function introductions. As those of us who were around all know there was a hurry on – at least from IBM’s perspective: Our competitive differentiator (and new product vs old differentiator) was new function we hoped customers would adopt quickly and really value. You can think of Hiperbatch if you like. But if you do I’d prefer you to think of the MVPG instruction (the hardware function it relied on) which was used by a number of other functions to cut CPU. I’m thinking primarily of VSAM LSR Hiperspace buffers here. And, while we’re at it how about ADMF? Both MVPG and ADMF were used together by DB2 Hiperpools – again to cut CPU.

The reason for detailing MVPG and ADMF is they had clear advantages for many customers – and still they took in excess of 18 months from announcement to widespread adoption. I’d say they were simple to implement as well.

I don’t think anyone would claim Parallel Sysplex or zEnterprise full functionality are quick or simple to implement: If you’re looking at the sheer sweep of what we’re doing I think that’s appropriate.

So, I think we’re in good shape: We’re now seeing implementations and I’m sure we’re going to see many more. And I do think the Parallel Sysplex analogy is a good one – in terms of choreography of adoption.

Sometimes I think those of us have been around have only the “we’ve been here before” perspective to offer. Actually I think we do have that. But, of course, I think we have a lot else besides to offer: Thinking about Systems and value as well as the “calmness” πŸ™‚ of knowing “this is how it goes”.

This is going to be fun – and fun soon. πŸ™‚

Published by Martin Packer

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