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 Foundation, OpenStack, 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
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.
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.