Compare the Cloud attended the IBM Edge conference 11-15th May. IBM held a weeklong conference within the grand environment of the Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, demonstrating and educating some of the new ways to think for technical roadmaps. Highlighted, as always, were some major breakthroughs for technical innovations for their current and planned products and services. An audience of 6000+ CTOs, CIOs Executive level representatives of companies from all over the planet attended the week.

IBM z Systems highlights at Edge2015

The Executive Edge (a two day event running at the same time as the main conference) was the highlight of the week. Not that I’m biased in the slightest but young Andrew McLean and I kicked off the Cloud keynote on day 2 with fresh thinking from an independent perspective! Our session was entitled: A new way to think.

In the session, we brought together a combination of IBM Products/Services that would best serve the retail sector. IBM z Systems Mainframe for the core infrastructure, Bluemix for the consistent Omni channel presence with Devops as a consideration, Spectrum Accelerate for the growth of data using storage defined networking and Watson for the analytics and brains behind the processing.

Ron Peri – CEO Radixx

A great presentation from Ron, who absolutely surprised me on his U-turn from x86 servers to a complete adoption of mainframe infrastructure. Why does this surprise me? Well, if you get the opportunity to chat to Ron and know his background you would realise that for decades he was responsible for keeping x86 infrastructure in place, running and cost effectively and was completely against any other technology. He did not want to know or even be told that a mainframe would be a viable option, thinking z Systems were closed old architecture and once he eventually had a demonstration from Vicom Infinity, a New York based expert mainframe consultancy, he purchased one within 30 days to migrate away from the 172 x86 cores to a staggering 10 on a z Systems mainframe. Simply incredible, and what a pleasure it was to interview him during the week!

So back to the highlights of the event. Some of the bullet point announcements were:

  • A mainframe can analyse over 30,000 transactions a second, encrypted and securely to stop credit card fraud!
  • Adding the ability to layer data across IOT devices such as iWatches etc to cross reference static data i.e. clinical data for a more accurate diagnosis – and at present z Systems are the only player in the market place that have the processing power and scalability to achieve this securely!
  • Using the new z13 mainframe system, its possible to lower the total cost of ownership by 32% compared with an x86 private cloud!
  • Generation z Program and continued support – Assisting the millennial generations (estimated to be half the global workforce by 2020) with mastering the Mainframe program.
  • X86 systems max out on processing around 70/80% and with a mainframe you can effectively use virtually 100% of the resources.

So in summary for IBM z Systems and the mainframe, its not old tech and should never be seen as so.

The technology behind the IBM z13 is incredible and scalable, It’s also affordable for firms that are serious about security and resiliency with true cloud benefits that are designed for big data analytics and mobile services.

The week continued with additional announcements across other IBM systems and product lines that were tied into a holistic Hybrid cloud standpoint. From Rocket Data Access services on Bluemix for z Systems that enables the development of mobile applications seamlessly integrated to a mainframe. Storage announcements included the IBM Power System E850 – a four socket system with up to 70% guaranteed utilisation.

IBM Spectrum Control Storage Insights that enables, amongst other benefits, an on premise Storage Defined Storage that allows external developers to assist with coding and software development – on your infrastructure without the need of additional infrastructure. This coupled with the compression of IBMs XIV GEN 3 real time compression, reclaiming existing free storage and scaling for Hybrid cloud, proved that again IBM are thinking of future and have one of the most comprehensive storage management portfolios in the market.

Cattermull’s Take:

Following on from this brief summary I would like to add my personal thoughts on the week. IBM is seriously underrated as a Cloud player compared to some others I could mention. Their tech breakthroughs come thick and fast monthly and mostly go unnoticed. IBM needs to shout louder and be proud of their achievements more as some of the breakthroughs are ground breaking. Just one point that got announced is quite literally life changing, Watson having the ability to analyse medical data that is unstructured at an individual level and plan treatment based on this that is individually tailored to you. This is quite literally live saving and this has never been done before. As much as I love my Doctor and have known him for many years, this breakthrough will change my health for the better in ways he never could, and even predict potential illnesses that I would develop.

Keep it up IBM and we can’t wait until next year for Edge 2016 and the product news and technology breakthroughs you will announce.