Evangelizing Mainframe
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Gazing into the IT Crystal Ball …

The start of every year is always full of reviews of the previous 12 months and predictions for the next 12—so here are a few predictions from my personal crystal ball.

To be gloomy, I see the dip in the economy continuing, and yet I think people will be getting used to it and making plans accordingly—as always, trying to do more with less.

I see social media becoming so commonplace that you won’t even be able to describe it as social media by this time next year—it will just be what you do! Your website will include a few videos, which will be hosted on YouTube. You’ll have photos of events, conferences, exhibitions, etc., and these will be on, for example, Flickr. You’ll be using Facebook to advertise your organization and link to fans (ie. customers and potential customers). Twittering will commonplace, but there will be court cases about what staff can say about their employers. Google fonts will be embedded within Web pages, and jQuery will help keep down the real estate on Web pages and make them more fun. Foursquare will be used to advertise the location of events—to encourage the participation of customers and potential customers, or to show off how often senior staff are asked to speak at other people’s events. You get the idea. Social media will be so integrated that you won’t think of it as anything other than a way of interacting with people. It will be too big and too integrated into what you do to have a single name.

Cloud computing will really take off. Everyone will realize that much of what they already do is a type of cloud computing—like using Skydrive and Dropbox. We will see the first big publicized hack of cloud data, and there may be a court case.

Part of the drive to use cloud computing will come from the prodigious growth of personal devices like smartphones and tablets. Everyone will have one by next Christmas. There will be security implications, as well as huge growth of Wi-Fi spots. Who wants to eat in a restaurant where you’re not in touch with the rest of your family and friends? But data (photos, videos, documents, etc.) will be out there (in that vague way non-IT people view things), and people will want high-speed access to it. Plus better apps and browser-based software will allow real work to be accomplished.

Going back to cloud computing, I’m convinced that vendors will drive a much greater understanding of what it is they offer—so that people who need to know about these things will recognize what kind of service they are buying/receiving from their cloud provider. Software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, or anything else as a service will be identifiably different services offered by providers. And we’ll all be hung up on latency, and what that really means to a business. Mainframers will still claim they have been doing cloud computing all along!

I also predict—and I hate myself for saying this—a wave of people wanting to connect a mouse to their tablets!

I foresee more things being monitored and managed from the z/OS partition. I’m talking about Linux boxes that aren’t attached to a mainframe in any way, as well as zEnterprise 114 blades (both POWER and x86). And let’s not stop at Linux, I bet AIX boxes, IBM i, and just perhaps Windows servers will also be able to be managed from z/OS no matter where they are. As long as they have an IP address, they can be managed.

And my crystal ball gazing encourages me that there will be more start-up companies trying to get a small part of the new business ecological niches that these changes will create. And in the medium term, many of these will merge or be swallowed up by larger organizations, but perhaps one of them will grow to become tomorrow’s giant.

Mainframe software will continue to grow more user-friendly and Windows-like. There will be much friendlier user interfaces on more mainframe products. Maybe even a little bit of ‘gamification’ being introduced. And on tablets and phones, we’ll see much more augmented reality in so many different environments.

I think it will be a technologically interesting year. We’ll see Windows tablets available toward the end of 2012 and a need to connect them securely to the rest of the data. I also think we will say goodbye to a few companies that aren’t able to keep their heads above water in these continuingly difficult times.

Obviously, like in Mission Impossible, my predictions will self-destruct before this time next year so no one can see how many came true and how many were completely wide of the mark!

Happy New Year!

Trevor Eddolls is CEO at iTech-Ed Ltd., an IT consultancy. For many years, he was the editorial director for Xephon’s Update publications and is now contributing editor to the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook. Eddolls has written three specialist IT books, and has had numerous technical articles published. He currently chairs the Virtual IMS and Virtual CICS user groups.

Posted: 1/17/2012 7:40:22 AM by Trevor Eddolls

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