Linux – the new workload workhorse

Linux continues to gain in popularity, and there are more deployments each year, even in the mainframe world. What’s driving all the interest and, frankly, all the workload? We deployed Derek Britton to find out.

Reports suggest that there continues to be a significant uptick in the number of deployments on to Linux servers worldwide. In November 16’s IBM Systems Magazine article “Why more z Systems customer are running Linux”, for example, we are told that “nearly 50 percent of z Systems clients are using Linux”. We also know that Linux overtook other UNIX systems in terms of market share as far back as 2013 (source: Linux Foundation).

Meanwhile, the 11th annual BMC Mainframe Market survey (source: BMC) reports that 67% of mainframe organizations have witnessed increasing capacity this year, with the percentage respondents using Linux in production rising to 52%.

Now, across the broader market, what incarnation of Linux might be chosen is a topic all of its own. Data centers running Enterprise versions of RedHat, SUSE or Oracle variants is an option, as is using a Linux-based Cloud deployment, as would be the ground-breaking LinuxONE technology or the new Linux on Power platform from IBM, or indeed running a Linux partition on their mainframe. The flexibility, choice and power is certainly there to leverage.

SUSELinuxOne

Why Now?

One of the obvious questions this throws up is what sort of workload is being deployed on to Linux? Or, put another way, what is driving organizations and their IT teams to choose Linux (or any other modern environment for that matter) as a production environment? The aforementioned IBM Systems Magazine article confirmed that IBM has (Linux) clients “doing payments, payroll, mobile banking … critical applications”. It goes without saying that some production workload is much more at home on z/OS, but IBM sensibly provides the options the market is clearly looking for in the digital age.

And tempting as it might be to talk about all the benefits of Linux, open source and other recent innovations from the vendors, this isn’t what drives change. Businesses drive IT innovation – changes in circumstances are behind many of the smartest IT decisions. Necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case innovation. So what are those needs?

Accelerating Market Footprint

One of our clients looked at branching out into new territories. Their core systems needed to be replicated across new data centers in each country, a fairly typical situation. However, the uniqueness and scale of the operation made matters difficult for provisioning IT operations as quickly as the business plan wanted. They were looking for a faster way to have tried-and-trusted IT systems up and running, supporting their new regional centers.

Smart Data Compliance

A financial services client was also looking at international expansion. However, due to data privacy laws in the new region, they were unable to manage the new operation from their head office. Instead, they needed to establish the right – low-scale, yet compatible – IT footprint in the new region. The question therefore was what viable options could replicate existing mainframe business functionality at a lower scale?

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Reaching New Clients

A very successful mainframe applications provider with an aggressive growth strategy was looking for further market opportunity. They identified that their market penetration and growth plans precluded them from establishing sufficient growth with their existing model. One important option to them was to investigate reaching clients in their market who were currently not using their prescribed deployment platform. Simply put, they needed to explore more platform options to support market growth.

Getting Fit for Purpose

New demands of fresh, critical workload create questions about priority and bandwidth. Some clients we know have adopted a headlong approach into big data and in-line analytics. Their view is there is no place better than z/OS to run these core operations. The question this creates is how to provision the necessary headroom without incurring unplanned increases. Of course, there’s always a commercial answer, but oftentimes the capacity available on Linux is simply waiting to be leveraged. Sometimes, some traditional z/OS workload might not all be equally important – some of it might be a historical circumstance. It then becomes a question of choices. Moving standalone priority B workload around might be viable and support higher priority z/OS projects.

Flexibility is Key…

The above scenarios represent real situations faced by large enterprises. What do all these drivers have in common? Probably the simplest way to label it is the issue of flexibility. Responding to change, rapidly, is driving IT innovation. Finding smart ways to deliver bomb-proof systems – core applications that already add value, already support the business – into new channels to support, quickly, going into a new territory, splitting data centers, reaching new clients, sometimes where the traditional platform isn’t appropriate for the model, is the demand. Linux makes sense as a viable, enterprise-scale solution in a growing range of cases.

…and so is the application!

For so many of the world’s largest IT organizations applications literally mean business. They keep the operations ticking over, and without them the organization would be unable to function. Many of those systems have been relied upon over years, built on the solid foundation of the COBOL language. COBOL’s continued evolution in its 6th decade, and Micro Focus unrivalled support of COBOL across dozens of leading platforms mean when bullet-proof core systems need contemporary levels of flexibility, COBOL and Linux are the natural, low-risk option. It’s no wonder that Micro Focus sees more and more Linux deployments of COBOL applications than ever.

Conclusion

Is Linux alone here? Not at all. One could easily argue that other UNIX variants and Windows are viable production systems for many application workloads. That’s not the argument here – platform viability is the choice of the customer. What’s important is that organizations need to be able to make smart decisions to support rapid business change. Advancements in technology such as Linux, alongside the power and portability of COBOL, help them do just that.

Defining the future of enterprise applications

It’s nearly that time of year again. Yes, the holidays and colder weather (for those of us in the Boston area) are both fast approaching, but it’s also nearly time to attend one of the most electric and engaging events in the open software community – SUSECon 2016. Ed Airey takes a closer look at this upcoming event, its touchpoints with the enterprise community and the continued interest in Linux as a platform for future innovation – all ahead of next week’s activities in Washington, D.C.

Lead with Linux

If you’re a developer, you’re always watching out for the latest technology that delivers new tools, new features and that innovative capability that’s sure to ‘wow’ your customers.  Linux has increasingly become that target technology and platform of choice for new software development, pilot projects and company innovation. Why Linux?  Simply put, it offers the choice and open flexibility that developer demand along with the cost savings that the business desires.

With countless Linux distribution choices on the market, this platform provides vendor variety for both development and operations teams alike. Built on an open-source base, Linux also delivers unmatched compatibility with leading software packages and needed integration tasks. Last, but not least, Linux vendors (in most cases) offer a subscription licensing alternative to that of traditional software packages—providing an opportunity for business to leverage OPEX rather than CAPEX budgets.  All of these reasons also align nicely with a recent Micro Focus survey where Linux was selected as a strategic platform for future growth.

SUSE Linux & App Modernization

But for the enterprise, where critical business workloads reside, are all Linux offerings really created equal?  For organizations with trusted business applications, it’s important to understand the distro difference to ensure existing core systems continue to run without costly interruption.  Some Linux providers pride themselves on enterprise-grade Linux offerings—offerings designed for scalability, performance and security. One such example is SUSE—and that brings us back to next week and a key SUSECon session topic.  Whether you are a software developer, an operations manager or an IT director, this year’s event is an opportunity to define your Linux future and the future of your enterprise applications. For those with legacy application workloads running on (let’s say) less than current hardware, this is also your chance to move to the future.

SUSE Linux delivers a launch pad for established enterprise apps. For legacy (COBOL) applications, this powerful combination of SUSE Linux, Visual COBOL and LinuxOne take existing business systems to new architectures including the Java Virtual Machine and the Cloud. Taking that step is easier than you may think.

LinuxONERockHopper

Join us in Washington, D.C.

Join Steffen Thoss from IBM Research Labs and Ed Airey from Micro Focus to hear how enterprises are moving core business workloads to SUSE Linux, underpinned by the latest in high performant, hardware and software innovation—LinuxONE and Visual COBOL.  Learn how with modern tools, industry expertise and proven platform technology, core business systems can be protected and extended well into the future. Discover how digital transformation is enabling new delivery models and why a ‘Lead with Linux’ strategy can enable enterprise application portability, flexibility and choice. Define your Linux application strategy and future proof your proven business systems at SUSECon on Tuesday, November 8th at 11:30am US Eastern time.  We’ll see you there.

MaytheOSbewithyou

Great technology never gets old – Linux celebrates 25 years!

As Linux celebrates its 25th birthday, there’s plenty of good cheer going round. Derek Britton grabs a slice of cake and looks into a few of the reasons to celebrate.

Happy 25th Birthday Linux

It’s quite hard to imagine a world without Linux in it, but in reality one of the industry de-facto standard operating environments has just reached its quarter century anniversary. This blog looks at the story of how we got here.

In the IT world of 1991, the desktop market was just blossoming, the personal computer was becoming more powerful, intel were breaking Moore’s law with reckless abandon, and Microsoft were starting to get their act together with a brand new exciting development that was to hit the streets a year later, called Windows. The server market was also expanding. An interminable list of organizations including IBM, HP, Sun, TI, Siemens, ICL, Sequent, DEC, SCO, SGI, Olivetti were building proprietary chips, machines and UNIX variants. UNIX had already by that stage enjoyed significant success since making the leap from academia to commerce, and everyone was trying to get a share of the spoils.

Faced with such a crowded market, how did Linux take off?

The phenomenon that was the Linux revolution has been ascribed to a number of factors, including the market desire for choice, technical freedom, and value for money.

The products on the market at the time were entirely proprietary and cost a lot of money. A vendor lock-in and an expensive contract was not all that appealing to CIOs looking to derive value from their investments in what were ironically referred to as  “open systems” (given the proprietary nature of the systems in question).

Linux plugged the gap in the market of true openness. Because the ownership was in the hands of the community, there were no proprietary elements. And the open source nature of the kernel meant that provided you had a piece of suitable hardware, Linux was basically free to use.

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Technical Altruism

The devisor of Linux, Linux Torvalds, set about improving on other UNIX kernels available at the time, but took the stance that the project should be entirely open. While the idea was his, he merely wanted to invite others to help the idea take root. Indeed Torvalds’ own view of the name was that it sounded too egotistical, and for the first 6 months of the project, the acronym FREAX (an amalgam of “free”, “freak” and “x”) was used as the working title. Only later did he accept that Linux might work better.

Whether such altruism would yield any fruit is easy enough to quantify. Recently, the Linux Foundation released the Linux Kernel Development report stats showing that more than 13,500 developers from 1,300 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since 2005. Moreover, it isn’t just hobbyist techies in academic labs. The same report indicates that among the top organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development since the last report (which was published in March 2015) included industry giants such as Intel, Red Hat, Samsung, SUSE, IBM, Google, AMD and ARM.

Linux – A Global Player

So much for contributions to the kernel itself, but what about the whole environment, and what about deployments in industry? Did Linux make any headway in the commercial world? Of course the answer is resoundingly affirmative.

Consider just a few of the Linux implementations:

  •  Thousands of major commercial, academic and governmental organizations are now Linux devotees
  • The number of users of Linux is estimated at 86 million, according to SUSE.com
  • Android, the de-facto mobile device environment, is Linux-based
  • The world’s most powerful supercomputers are Linux-based
  • Some of the world’s largest companies, including Amazon and Google, rely heavily on Linux-based servers

Little wonder then that in 2013, Linux overtook the market share of all other proprietary UNIX systems.

But if its open source, who will pay for its future?

A question mark about whether an open source (read: free) environment could be commercial sustainable must also be answered. Arguably the best way to do this might be to look at the health of the organizations who seek to make Linux a commercially viable product. These are the vendors of the various Linux distributions, such as SUSE, Red Hat and Oracle.

Looking at the health of the Linux line of business in each case, we see highly profitable organizations with trend-beating revenue growth in a tough market sector.

Consider all the other players in the sector with their commitment to Linux. IBM has invested millions of dollars in Linux, introducing a new range of Linux-only mainframes branded as LinuxOne. Meanwhile in what might have been seen as unthinkable a few years ago, Windows vendor Microsoft has launched partnerships with Linux vendors including SUSE and Red Hat to provide a collaborative cloud hosting solution.

MaytheOSbewithyou

Now it’s old, we need to get rid of it, right?

Well we’ve heard it all before, haven’t we? It’s getting on a bit so we need to replace it. Like mainframes, like COBOL, like CICS, like Java. These technologies have enjoyed significant anniversaries recently. And in not one single case can you justifiably argue that the age of the technology means it warrants discontinuing. Indeed, most of the ideas might have been formed some time ago, but not unlike Linux, in each case the community and vendors responsible have continued to enhance, improve and augment the technology to keep it relevant, up to date, and viable for the modern era.

In technology, the myth that age implies a lack of value is diametrically incorrect. In IT, age demonstrates value.

No surprises.

At Micro Focus, we love Linux, and we’re not surprised by its success. We’ve long since advocated the use of innovative technology to help support existing value IT investments. Systems and applications that run businesses should be supported, enhanced, innovated, and modernized. At a low cost, without any risk. That’s what Micro Focus has done. Whether it’s with the applications themselves or with the underlying operating environment, building and operating today’s and tomorrow’s digital infrastructure is what we do best.

Indeed, speaking of birthdays, Micro Focus is 40 this year. Enduring value is no stranger to us. Now, who brought the candles?

Achieve peak performance at #MFSummit2016

The inaugural Micro Focus cross-portfolio summit opens this week. Andy King, General Manager for UK and Ireland offers his insights as to what to expect from the program.

This is a big week for myself and Micro Focus. On Wednesday, I raise the curtain on the future of our new company and our products for the customers who want us to take them into tomorrow.

Since the 2014 merger with the Attachmate Group, we have become one company operating two product portfolios across six solution areas. The single aim is to meet our customers’ mission-critical IT infrastructure needs with enterprise-grade, proprietary or open source solutions.

But what does that mean in reality? We are all about to find out.

#MFSummit2016: Current challenge, future success is our first cross-portfolio conference. The format mixes formal sessions and face-to-face opportunities, informative overviews with deep-dive, issue-specific questioning. It is a first chance to check out the roadmaps, and share experiences with our experts.

The focus is firmly on interaction; product specialists and fellow customers will be there to discuss your business and IT change issues. Set your itinerary to get maximum value from the day. The 12 sessions are split into three broad themes.

SUMMITT

Build. Operate. Secure.

Whether your IT issues span every area of build, operate and secure, or are confined to one or two, Micro Focus has it covered with a diverse range of products and solutions that will help to meet the challenges of change. I’ve selected three sessions to illustrate the point.

Secure

Dave Mount, UK Solutions Consulting Director presents an Introduction to Identity, Access and Security. Dave’s view is that understanding and managing identity enables better control of internal and external threats. He illustrates how our solutions can help our customers better understand and manage these threats. Find out how from 11 to 11.30pm.

Operate

From 1.30 to 2.20 pm David Shepherd, Solutions Consultant, Micro Focus and Stephen Mogg, Solutions Consultant SUSE discuss how Micro Focus and SUSE could help customers meet escalating storage requirements and costs with secure, scalable, highly-available and cost-effective file storage that works with your current infrastructure. If that would help you, then check out The Race for Space: File Storage Challenges and Solutions.

Build

Immediately after that, our COBOL guys, Scot Nielsen, Snr Product Manager and Alwyn Royall, Solutions Consultant, present Innovation and the Next Generation of COBOL Apps. It’s a demo-led look at the future that show the way forward for modernising COBOL application development and deployment in new architectures. So if you are ready for new innovation from older applications, get along to see that between  2.20 to 3.10 pm.

Networking opportunities?

Of course. Whether you are enjoying refreshments, post-event drinks – or your complementary lunch – alongside industry representatives, product experts and customers, visiting the pods for demos or roadmap walkthroughs, then the whole day is a refreshingly informal way to resolve your technical questions or business challenges. Alternatively, ask your question of the expert panel at the Q & A session at 3.45 to 4.15 pm.

PH House

In summary

Our promise to delegates is that after a visit to #MFSummit2016 they will be in a better position to navigate the challenges of business and IT change.

Wherever you are in your IT strategy, Micro Focus solutions enable our customers to innovate faster with less risk and embrace new business models. #MFSummit2016 is our opportunity to show you which solutions will work for you, where – and how.

Sounds attractive? You’ll really like our stylish venue, Prince Philip House. It is handy for Piccadilly, Charing Cross and St James’s Park Tube stations. Attendance is free, but book here first.

I’ll be speaking from 9.30. See you there?

SHARE-ing is caring

SHARE began as the first-ever enterprise IT community user group back in 1955 and is still going strong. The upcoming San Antonio event looks certain to be another great success. Here’s a sneak preview of the event and agenda.

SHARE

Since 1955 SHARE has provided education, networking opportunities and influence for the Enterprise Information Technology Community. It’s still voluntary and for 61 years its mission has remained steadfast; at its core it’s all about professional networking, Mainframe technology, education, professional growth and growing a strong community of like-minded technologists. And just like Mainframe technology, it’s moved with the times – check out the cool new look website complete with Social Media integration and you’ll see what I mean.

SHARE new look

The Dev is in the detail. Mainframe and COBOL AppDev

As proud members of the Mainframe and COBOL community Micro Focus has maintained a steady presence at SHARE events over the years. We’re now a bigger company that boasts SUSE Linux in our portfolio but does that make the event any less important for us? Absolutely not –both Micro Focus and SUSE will be at upcoming San Antonio event in March.

SanAntonio

We’ve spoken a lot recently about the digital age and how (and often contrary to popular perception) this is underpinned by so-called ‘legacy’ technology. SHARE provides a great opportunity to explore modern Enterprise computing challenges and how the mainframe world continues to meet them head on. This year SHARE has its own dedicated DevOps track, signalling the importance of this discipline as a topic in the ongoing Mainframe debate.  My colleague Ed Airey is looking forward to hosting his DevOps session ‘The Dev is in the detail: Appdev, DevOps and the IBM Mainframe’ and hopes to see many delegates join in to discuss how that discipline is shaping up. In his own words Ed explains: “We always look forward to the SHARE event as a highlight in the mainframe calendar. We are delighted not only to participate in the sessions and the exhibition hall, but also to present our mainframe solution to the SHARE community. Our focus this year on DevOps is in step with growing interest in this topic from the SHARE delegates”

Skills, Education, Rockhopper and Emperor

IT Skills too will be high on the agenda, after all Skills and Education is a core SHARE mission that we jointly spoke about on an IT skills webinar recently.  This year as a bigger Micro Focus we are particularly excited to be going as the value of Linux for enterprise workloads and new app innovation is sure to be the talk of the town.

Linux, at SHARE, has become a consistent topic of interest for its delegates.  IBM’s recent LinuxOne announcement and continued investment in Linux systems will certainly capture attention as well.  The SUSE team will be highlighting their recent capabilities including expanded enterprise grade scalability for core applications. For Enterprise IT shops interested in understanding how to implement Linux for new Mainframe app innovation, SHARE San Antonio won’t disappoint.

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Is it just for the Mainframe and COBOL Developer community?

Absolutely not.  The increasingly popular EXECUforum takes place for industry and commercial executives to come together, discuss key challenges and solutions, and share experiences too. IT Decision makers, Analysts and visionaries will all be there discussing challenges like Big Data, Analytics, Mobile, Skills, Productivity and the highly relevant DevOps methodology.  Micro Focus panellist Derek Britton comments; We are delighted to join the EXECUforum discussion panel this year. Our clients are driving towards DevOps as a means for improved application delivery, and we are helping them in a variety of ways to accelerate their implementation. We are only too pleased to be part of the discussion at SHARE”

San Antonio here we come…

We’re hoping many of our Mainframe and COBOL friends will be going too. Our brilliant #DevDay events are an ongoing testament to the value that face-to-face events bring to the Enterprise Tech community. Please stop by our booths to say hello to the Micro Focus and SUSE team who will be very keen to hear about your experiences. We’d also be honoured to see you at our sessions:

Our SUSE specific sessions:

What’s New with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems (see session details and add to your agenda here)

SUSE Manager at Large Scale (see session details and add to your agenda here)

DevOps specific sessions:

The Dev is in the detail: Appdev, DevOps and the IBM Mainframe (see session details and add to your agenda here)

DevOps:  Cultural Mindset (see the EXECUForum agenda here)

See you there, whether you’re planning to attend for a day, or the whole week…..

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‘May the Open Source be with you’

SUSECon, the Woodstock for Open Source devotees, wound up in Amsterdam last week. Steve Moore took a look around, and found some familiar faces.

The halls of the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, are not a great place to be selling proprietary software. More than 700 delegates attended 127 sessions and visited 20 demo stations, all dedicated to maximising the opportunities that open source offers.

SUSE, now a Micro Focus company, has been creating open source software, Linux and cloud infrastructure solutions for more than 20 years. It was the first company to market Linux for the enterprise and more than 13,000 businesses worldwide now use SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Open source is embraced by more companies than ever before to simplify application deployment on OpenStack-based cloud infrastructures.

MaytheOSbewithyou

Tale of the tape

The venue was once home to the Dutch stock exchange, the floors strewn with tickertape tracking the ups and downs of the national economy. Fluctuating fortunes are now measured in other ways – not least in how organizations manage disruptive technologies and maintain optimum levels of customer service. But innovation can be as elusive as inspiration. That’s why they come to events like this – to see what open source can achieve.

The Westinghouse Electric Company was awarded the SUSE Always Open Customer of the Year award for excellence in using SUSE solutions to ‘control, optimize and innovate’ their IT environment. They will not be the last organisation to maximise the close development relationship between SUSE and SAP.

The opening keynotes by Michael Miller, SUSE Sales VP and Nils Brauckmann, SUSE President and General Manager, highlighted partnerships as key to success in the new world of open source. Both speakers highlighted data access, management and storage as new battlegrounds and SUSE just won twice at the 2015 Storage Awards. SUSE used the conference to announce that they are set to collaborate with SAP on the OpenStack cloud provider interface. The two men believe that only open source can support the innovation needed to win these struggles.

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?

It’s not surprising that open source zealots would bang their own drum. But other voices are speaking up in favour of the freedom to innovate that open source offers. Microsoft, HP and other companies on that scale offer open source options. And when IBM book a stand you know that the industry’s major vendors view open source with respect.

Opinions formed many years ago are being revisited – this article deconstructs 10 of the more obvious concerns. And with more companies under growing pressure to keep the lights and fund innovation all while stymied with stagnant IT budgets, doing their own thing with open source becomes more tempting.

Micro Focus is happy to stay out of this particular argument. Borland GitCentric and Subversion Connector support open source standards without being open source tools per se. However, if open source works for some of our customers we are happy to support that, and we recognise the need to resolve business challenges through new thinking rather than throwing money at them.

LinuxONERockHopper

On the right track

This is a central tenet of the wider Micro Focus approach and it was a key theme in our session at SUSECon. Derek Britton and Ed Airey hosted a well-attended discussion, Ready for the mobile-first and Cloud-first economy. In a room with an attractive – and distracting – view of Amsterdam’s Centraal train station, Micro Focus offered a new perspective on enabling mainframe and distributed systems to meet the demands of the digital age.

This could have been subtitled ‘where Micro Focus COBOL meets SUSE Linux Enterprise on the IBM mainframe’, because for organisations running core systems on outdated platforms, this slide deck offered a pathway to future innovation.

The key is to leverage what’s there and just add what’s needed. Because in most cases the current IT has enduring value and the organization that adds to it rather than risking it all in a drastic package replacement or rewrite strategy will achieve an advantage over those that fail to recognise this potential.

DerekandEdSUSECon

Taking core applications into the future

The IT challenges are many and resolution depends on the organization’s ability to form a future-proof platform strategy. In short, where can the organization run the core business applications that have underpinned past success? Many are moving away from older variants of UNIX or other proprietary machines, such as UNYSIS or Tandem, and towards emerging standards, such as Linux. Rehosting to open architectures can reduce TCO by up to 90%.

But the platform is just half the story. Indeed, the true value to the organization of their core systems is the business logic and data, rather than the platform or language. So protecting, evolving and enhancing that value in the digital age is vital. As such, Application development – adapting older code to meet business changes – requires some thought, too. But there are plenty of options. A modern IDE can breathe new life into long-standing applications – an issue for the many enterprises whose portfolio is 65% COBOL.

Imagine the banking network using COBOL apps to run their ATM network. Those same apps now need to support mobile device access. That’s a technological innovation that the original developers could not have anticipated a good example of the disruptive and mobile technologies now challenging many organisations. And who can predict the next one?

Whatever the next innovation, maximising the enduring value of the open mainframe, COBOL and SUSE combination to create a back end IT infrastructure robust enough to withstand future demands is a business-critical decision. Platform selection is another strategic decision requiring a well-considered answer – let us assume that the movement from UNIX or proprietary systems to Linux (whether on a new IBM LinuxOne or other hardware) will appear on many boardroom agendas in the future. Importantly, rehosting to an open architecture liberates developers from the prescriptive structures of proprietary code. It creates the potential for organisations to create their own futures, built on platforms and applications built for their own requirements. So – will the source be with you?

SUSECon 2015 – Harnessing Innovation

Amie Johnson from Micro Focus looks back over the November 2015 SUSECon in Amsterdam, including the Micro Focus session on how how COBOL, SUSE Linux and the IBM Mainframe can come together to deliver unique solutions in response to the challenges of this new digital age.

This year at SUSECon, 700 attendees convened in Amsterdam for a week of technical sessions and peer discussions on how to keep the world’s core business systems up and running all the time – as in it’s Saturday night and the servers alright. Don’t reboot it just patch uptime – so we can take can things like ATM machines, air travel and shopping on Black Friday for granted. Delegates from IBM, SAP, Fujitsu and others were on hand to collaborate with the open source community around bleeding edge innovations in the realm of invisible technologies that “just work.”

The core business system of many organizations touch our everyday lives.  But unlike their reputation for ‘always on’ availability, their make-up and composition are less straightforward.  Typically these systems are a mashup of decades-old, and intricately woven business logic with application data structured in a way that requires specialty skills and tools to manage, maintain and even understand. Which is why, for most IT organizations, true reverence of mission critical applications is only realized after something goes terribly wrong and these systems are inaccessible or unavailable.

We live in a data-driven economy.  Always on. Always on-demand and always changing.  This makes future-focused decisions tough. A lot of the discussions at SUSECon covered the challenges IT shops encounter when managing today and the future of their mission critical ‘everyday’ business applications. Questions overheard at SUSECon included:  How do I deliver faster, improve quality, or even create a DevOps culture? Do we have the knowledge to make confident application management decisions? How do we keep the best of what we have, build on it and run it in the cloud? The consequences of these decisions can result in costly missteps, loss ground to the competition or possible threats to the security and reputation of the business.

Micro Focus and SUSE: Harnessing Innovation Together

Last year’s SUSECon event saw Kevin Loosemore, executive chairman for Micro Focus, which now includes SUSE – talking about the synergies between these two brands. Which makes sense if you look at the shared list of customers. Micro Focus and SUSE serve 20,000 customers around the world. More than 90% are among the top 100 of Fortune Global companies. Many trust Micro Focus and SUSE technology to keep the most mission critical systems running smoothly, or what SUSE kernel guru, Vojtěch Pavlík characterizes as, “the things that are not seen, but are supposed to work perfectly.” SUSE Linux Enterprise runs stock markets, air traffic control systems, even space programs. And whether you think COBOL is dead or making a comeback doesn’t matter, because 70% of banking and financial transactions come from applications written in COBOL (some in Mainframe environments running SUSE Linux). These systems have to work perfectly – everyday.

SUSECon is microcosm of what we do to help our customers meet today’s challenges. We truly listen to our customers, discuss their challenges and opportunities, and then leverage our hard-earned wisdom from years of developing solutions to meet their unique needs. Both Micro Focus and SUSE collectively have 65 years of experience helping customers retain the valuable business logic within their core applications so customers can run those apps on enterprise-class IT systems in any environment. We make significant investments and work diligently to ensure everything works perfectly so your systems can adapt for future success. But delivering innovation requires more than the sum of one company as Nils Brauckmann, general manager at SUSE acknowledged in his keynote, “is not just about innovation,  innovation is really important but equally important is that we take this innovation and together with our partners, harness it. Having the right type of partnerships to get the job done is awesome.”

This approach is working. This year is the 15th anniversary of SUSE on the IBM mainframe – appropriately celebrated with beer and birthday cake.  Further evidence of the company’s ability to develop strong business partnerships to foster innovation is the caliber of the shows sponsors including Dell, SAP, IBM, Intel, Fujitsu, and Microsoft and support from open business initiatives including Eclipse Foundation, Linux FoundationOpenStack, WSO2 and, just announced at the show, Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Harnessing Innovation at the Application Level

Increasing IT agility today is all about the ability to quickly build and deploy high quality, next-generation applications that are open, secure and highly available so IT shops can innovatively tackle rapidly changing business needs. Both Micro Focus and SUSE are popular in the app dev community for offering some of the best dev tools. Micro Focus helps you take advantage of valuable business logic within your core systems as your design and deliver new services to serve new customer requirements. While SUSE helps you build and easily manage portable application stacks that can deploy anywhere from the mainframe to Amazon EC2 and even OpenStack (think software defined data centre). In the Micro Focus session, attendees learned how we can help you improve business agility, reduce cost and accelerate time to market for core COBOL business applications when ported to an open architecture, running SUSE Linux Enterprise. In the future, our customers can expect greater collaborate between SUSE and Micro Focus teams to deliver expanded value to their core business applications.

 Harnessing Innovation at the Hardware Level

LinuxONERockHopper

Well, the real pressure is on when it comes to leveraging today’s fast changing hardware environment. Digital demands from mobile, big data, and Internet of Things require your software support billions of transactions making high performance, high throughput solutions more relevant than ever before.  In particular, this topic resonated for Micro Focus and SUSE’s customers that are passionate about LinuxOne, IBM’s effort to enlarge the ecosystem for Linux on the mainframe. IBM presented a live version of this open source demo from the Open Mainframe Project. The buzz and excitement around these speedy, RESTful mainframe systems (LinuxOne Emperor and Rockhopper) was infectious. Our customers can look forward to ways in which SUSE and Micro Focus can help you leverage the power of the mainframe platform alongside the innovative capabilities of Linux to deliver to enterprise services like making it easier to adopt DevOps.

SUSELinuxOne

The SUSECon experience successfully captured our approach to helping our customers adapt and succeed. Every business has its unique requirements, strategies for growth, competitive differentiation, but the key to success is often how are these goals best achieved?  We help you see how you can start from a position of strength, leverage what already works and build a sound strategy for future growth and innovation.

SUSE