z Systems Solutions Consultant
IBM held another excellent IBM Systems Technical University (Tech U) in Atlanta Georgia. The weather was perfect, the Hyatt Regency hotel was top notch, and the IBM and vendor sessions were exciting, with new lessons and new innovations. We even had an evening event at the new, beautiful Mercedes-Benz Stadium! Let’s take a quick glance on the week.
This year, two Key Note speakers talked about new technology. Tom Rosamilia, IBM Systems SVP and Chairman North America, spoke of exciting new technologies. He outlined topics presented in the many break out session during the week. Also, it was a fascinating introduction into quantum computers. It is real! IBM has a quantum computer available to educational facilities and businesses willing to test the technology. Bits and Bytes are gone in the quantum computer world. It’s ready to take Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics to new heights. Watch this space. It will be mind-boggling.
So, back to what’s happening today and how current technology is transforming today’s businesses. We don’t often consider the sports industry and its technology. Danny Branch, Chief Information Officer of AMB Sports & Entertainment, explains the technology built into the new Mercedes-Benz stadium, recently opened, that offers fans a new experience. Their challenge was to make the stadium more enticing than sitting in your living room, safe and warm, watching the game on a 60” high definition TV. This high-tech stadium includes 1,800 WiFi access points and 4,800 miles of fiber optics! The Thursday evening event brought all the Tech U participants to the field for food and a little fun with soccer and corn-hole. Tours were available that showed off the media room, through the locker rooms, for those willing to walk the mile!
The Week’s Breakouts
This week’s breakouts included IBM Power Systems, IBM Storage and IBM Z topics. I spent my week attending the IBM Z breakouts, and felt I needed more time for the many topics I wished to attend. IBM Z had the usual tracks on the latest z14 hardware, z/OS, IMS, CICS, WebSphere, MQ, z/VM and Linux. In addition, there were tracks on cognitive, machine learning, AI and a large focus on Cloud. As an added treat, there were many hands-on labs that gave an opportunity to test-drive new products and gain certifications.
I was amazed at the lightening-speed the Secure Service Container is evolving. Wilhelm Mild, Executive IT Architect from Germany, presented IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services. This may be the next game changer for LinuxONE and Linux on IBM Z. He presented four IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services appliances including:
- Hyper Protect Crypto Services
- Hyper Protect Database as a Service
- Hyper Protect Virtual Servers
- Hyper Protect Containers
These appliances are self-installing in an LPAR and totally secure at FIP 140-2 Level 4. IBM Z is the only platform in the industry with that distinction. The future of LinuxONE installations will be incredibly easy for future administrators, even those with minimal knowledge of IBM Z. Imagine being able to roll out a LinuxONE server to their application and business teams in a single day! That’s simplification! NOTE: Not all these appliances are available today, so watch this space during 2019.
Containers were a big topic. IBM, SUSE and UBUNTU offered their perspective on the current and upcoming evolution of containers. Simplicity and security are the goals for the new style of waterfall application development and deployment. The need for security has led to a new runtime, Kata Containers, which evolved from the OpenStack foundation and combine technology from Intel Clear Containers and Hyper runV. This was announced for IBM Z, at the end of 2018.
Will Multi-architecture containers be the enabling technology to port any software to IBM Z? Maybe even SQL Server? Interesting idea. So, as these containers grow from 100’s to 1,000’s of deployed containers, how will administrators manage them? Enter IBM Cloud Private, which is not a cloud implementation but a management tool for Docker containers and Kubernetes. IBM Cloud Private not only manages Kubernetes clouds, but it includes vCloud Air from VMWare, IBM Public Cloud, and Hyper Protect appliances, discussed earlier, from a single master interface.
New IBM containers on z/OS! Yes, you heard me right. Announced February this year, the IBM z/OS Container Extensions allows execution of docker containers in z/OS, utilizing ZIIPs. This is a creative idea for our z/OS customer wanting to run open source applications.
IBM has instituted IBM Badges to recognize the many hours we spend in technical training for IBM products. These are ideal to attach to your business profiles, including LinkedIn. Participants were able to follow an outlined IBM technical sessions path towards attaining the desired IBM Badge.
Again, IBM Tech U organizers extended this event to nearby students. What a wonderful site to see young students involved with the many IT technologies offered here, IBM Z, Power Systems and Storage. I’m sure it was an eye-opener to them!
There is a lot happening with IBM Z. IBM is taking this platform into the 21st century, and beyond. It’s exciting to watch the IBM Z platform evolve. Join us all at the next IBM Systems Technical University.
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