What Is IT Trendz?
Since October 2013, I’ve been writing a series of blogs called IT Trendz, which is published once a week on the IBM Systems Magazine website. My first post was called “Mainframe Computers Created a Sense of Wonder in Me.” From the beginning, I’ve kept a schedule and I’ve written one 600-800-word blog post 50 weeks a year.
After a few months of blogging, I determined that it was best to come up with a big idea and discuss it over several weeks. This made for a more detailed exploration of topics because I could use 2,000-3,000 words to write about a substantial topic. This was the birth of the notion of a series.
Naturally, when you look back at the work you have done you find favorites. Since all the posts are still online, I can point you what I consider some of my most valuable and informative series—including IT consolidation, things they didn’t teach me in school and pivotal ideas in IT such as programming languages and middleware.
Exploring IT Consolidation
I made three posts in this series. I worked on consolidation projects in the past but after a long absence from the topic, I explored it again to reflect on the latest approaches and tools used.
You might find the phrase “IT consolidation” to be cold or even unimaginative, so my first post in this series explored how it can be both an art and a science. IT consolidation is important to the overall vitality of organizations and their IT departments. It’s a business strategy, but it also has many technical implications and anticipated outcomes.
My second post in the series focused on the diversity behind IT consolidation projects, which can relate to various undertakings from server to data center consolidation. This wide diversity of project types can bring outstanding benefits—like a 15 to 1 reduction in the number of mail servers or the reduction of 155 to just 12 major datacenters worldwide.
In my final post of the IT consolidation series, I explored the methods and tools affect the success of consolidation projects as they impact risk and the predictability of outcomes. There are many approaches, from doing it yourself to hiring a specialized IT provider. One tool I highlighted was the IBM Workload Estimator (WLE), a web-based sizing tool for IBM Z with robust capabilities is discussed.
Things They Didn’t Teach Me in School
The idea to write this series came when I was editing an eBook for a client and came across the term “polyglot”—which became the subject of my first post about what I hadn’t learned in school. Like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time reading and studying computer topics. But you might also be like me in that you haven’t come across topics like polyglot persistence and programming. Both of these terms are often discussed by IT practitioners, and while some people see them in a positive light, others don’t.
My second post focused on pseudo-conversational programming. After spending three months studying OS/VS COBOL, I wrote eight challenging batch programs, and then took my first professional assignment, which ironically involved writing online transactions not batch programs. Since I had no training in real-time programming, I needed some tutoring in how to write programs in the pseudo-conversational programs architectural style.
My final post in this series zoomed in on automating an entire software system. After five years of being an application developer, I was invited to join the system programming team where I stayed for a long time enjoying the many challenges of the technical work. One of the most interesting projects was automating systems by using tools to program the start up, shutdown and recovery of an entire software system.
My Favorite Things
This series is about IBM Z, programming languages, middleware and applications. This combination forms the bones and muscles of IT today. And anything that’s not one of these four components is probably dependent on them.
Remember the Tracy Kidder book “The Soul of a New Machine”? IBM Z has a soul, a heart, a body and a brain, and it has supported many human lives over time. There are the legions of developers who designed and developed it and software companies that created important systems products and applications. IBM Z makes the world a better place, and it’s also the point of focus behind my first post in this series.
My second post focused on programming languages. The importance of computer languages is now well understood and appreciated as applications happen because programmers write code to create them. More than 18.2 million programmers are writing code today, and if you look at the categories of today’s computing languages—such as data-oriented languages and procedural language—there are at least 49 different categories.
Middleware is the great amplifier of programmer productivity and application usefulness, so it was only natural for my third post to focus on the subject. The middleware market is particularly substantial; in fact, MicroMarketMonitor estimates that middleware will be a $20.8 billion market by 2019, growing roughly 6 percent yearly.
People appreciate computer applications because they depend on them to get things done. Considering this growing appreciation, my fourth post in this series focused on computer applications. The size of the application market is considerable, and according to “The Business Applications Landscape 2017 to 2020: SaaS Disruption and Vendor Proliferation” from Forrester, this is a $167 billion software market that’s evolving.
What’s Next for IT Trendz?
At the beginning of each year, I do two kinds of activities with the blog. One activity is to gather together a few of the best topics from the previous year and write about them in the hopes of attract a second reading from the blog’s followers. I also start off the year by looking for 10-15 topics that are interesting enough to support a series of three or four posts, such as open source, program management, DevOps, business strategy and others. Some I already know about, and others will require more research. That’s the joy of exploration.
One good source of ideas for me comes from the Enterprise Computing Community (ECC) conference, which is held annually in June. I usually write three or four blogs on what I learn after each ECC conference. This year, I’ll also be revisiting the idea of IT significance where I focus on the IT concepts and practices that make or have made a huge contribution to the industry.
If you have a topic you’d like to read more about, or if you’d like to expand on any of the ideas I’ve brought up in my blogs so far, just send me an email at email@example.com with “IT Trendz Blog Ideas” as a subject line. I’m always open to new ideas. The mainframe community could always use new bloggers, too, so feel free to use some of my ideation techniques to start creating your own content.