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John Reda

John Reda

VP, Data Infrastructure Optimization R&D


John Reda has been working on z/OS* mainframes for over 30 years spanning development, support, product management, sales engineering and Q&A.

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When IBM introduced System/360 in 1965 with multitasking MFT and MVT operating systems, little did we know that 50-plus years later, it would have evolved into the current day IBM Z. Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, organizations running IBM mainframe systems had a “machine room” typically comprised of an enormous space of raised floor above running cables to support tape drives, spinning disk devices, control units, CPUs and real memory.
Constant innovation over the past five decades has transformed these enormous machines into much smaller–yet exponentially faster–systems that support terabytes of real storage and a variety of OSes and applications. This evolution has secured the mainframe’s relevancy–and leadership–in a world of big data, cloud computing and cutting-edge technologies like blockchain.
To get the most value out of today’s mainframe, companies must also evolve, taking new approaches to supporting growth, ensuring security and controlling costs.
Controlling Costs by Exploiting Advancements in zIIP Technology
As fast as the mobile economy and explosion of data is occurring within IT environments, innovations to accommodate them within the IBM Z mainframe technology stack are keeping pace. IBM has provided and enhanced specialty processors including zIIP engines offering the offload of general processor cycles and acceleration of workload execution. This movement of eligible work to zIIP is leaving the general processors with more headroom for the organization’s core business applications. The ultimate benefit resulting in delayed or eliminated hardware upgrades along with containment and reduction in monthly license charges for software.
Encryption in a Mainframe World
For a long time, the IBM z/OS* mainframe platform has been viewed as “inherently” secure, implying that the platform is secure because of its foundational design. This myth has led many mainframe organizations to believe that hardly anything needs to be done to augment the platform to keep it secure. However, the rise in data and security breaches world-wide has forced C-level executives to stand up and take notice. Furthermore, governmental and industry regulations are putting additional requirements on IT organizations to ensure data privacy.
z/OS encryption policies make it possible to use encryption to protect your organization’s most critical datasets and files. Emerging technologies have expanded support for encryption beyond the sort input and output datasets to incorporate encryption for temporary SORTWK data sets.
Supporting Growth With Capacity Management–Breaking Mainframe Out of the Silo
The mainframe has traditionally adhered to its own set of procedures, processes and reporting as it was a mature discipline within an organization. That maturity has led to a silo mentality in many cases, not considering the new technologies outside its purview, such as cloud, hyper-convergence computing and big data.
For an enterprise to effectively manage IT capacity, they must include all their systems–the mainframe and these new platforms, which are all integral to the success of the organization and the bottom line. The skillsets needed by today’s capacity managers must be broad as there are few individuals to perform that function. While this can be a challenge on one hand, it is also a great opportunity.