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IBM Unveils Software and ISV Initiatives to Handle Surge in Mainframe Transactions

IBM Unveils Software and ISV Initiatives to Handle Surge in Mainframe Transactions

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/08/06 -- IBM today announced new software and initiatives that will help companies handle the explosion of business processes and applications that are turning the IBM System z mainframe into a global hub of Internet-based computing. IBM estimates that this trend -- propelled by the rising tide of services oriented architecture (SOA) -- will cause transactions running on mainframes to easily double before 2010.

IBM is announcing:

-- Software tools that make the creation of "services-ready" mainframe
   applications by Java,   VisualBasic, COBOL and PL/l developers as easy
   as mastering an advanced video game after only a short time.

-- An initiative to expand the base of independent software developers
   using the System z platform.  IBM will encourage new ISVs to develop
   their applications for the System z through technical, sales and
   marketing support, no-cost access to IBM IT architects, advertising
   discounts and customer lead generation tools.

-- New IBM middleware to secure and integrate the hundreds of applications
   and petabytes of data running through mainframes and other computers
   in an IT infrastructure.

-- New university courseware and a global "Master the Mainframe" student
   contest to reach the next generation of mainframe developers around
   the world.

The Internet is creating an explosion of interconnected business processes -- such as grocery chains cross-checking inventory and shipping with suppliers -- that flow through interconnected applications. More IT infrastructures are relying on modular code, or "services," to string together the ever-increasing number of applications between different types of computers in an automated way, based on open standards.

Since services are placing new demands on network performance and security, more companies are turning to System z as the bedrock for building out an SOA. According to a survey of U.S. and European companies by Forrester Research, nearly 70% of SOA users say they will increase their use of SOA, and 62 percent of organizations with more than 20,000 employees are currently using or plan to use SOAs in the next 12 months. Forty-six percent of large enterprises that deploy SOAs are using the mainframe for strategic business transformation. (1)

"Mainframes -- which process much of the world's most strategic information and applications -- are now finding second careers as the hub for SOA," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. "Customers today are just beginning to scratch the surface of what a services-oriented approach to software can do to make their businesses more responsive and opportunistic. By using mainframes to free up, connect and use information that's stored in applications, companies can bring products to market faster, make quicker connections with global business partners, deliver better service to customers and streamline their IT operations."

According to John Campbell, senior vice president and CIO of American Modern Insurance Group, "The mainframe is a platform for the future, and enabling our development teams to create SOA-enabled mainframe applications is important. We expect SOA technologies to deliver business solutions quickly and provide more flexibility when offering services to business partners across a wide range of technologies."

Today, more than 60 percent of IBM's mainframe revenue comes from new workloads driven by IT trends such as Linux, virtualization, Java and SOA. In fact, System z -- which is the flagship member of IBM's Virtualization Engine hardware and software portfolio -- can run an SOA involving many hundreds of applications. Linux makes a mainframe even more versatile by enabling it to create thousands of "images," or views, of virtualized data; more than 1,700 customers are running Linux on System z.

System z's automated management capabilities can reduce IT costs; companies using mainframes need up to 60 percent fewer IT specialists than it takes to manage UNIX servers running a comparable workload. Vexing IT processes, such as patching security holes or updating applications, can be automatically handled as services across mainframes and other computers in an infrastructure.

New Tools and Initiative to Promote Application Development on System z

The surge of services running on the mainframe requires "services-ready" software and the right tools for developers. IBM is announcing new, easy-to-use software tools that will help meet the demand for more programmers writing mainframe applications for an SOA environment. IBM Rational COBOL Generation tools are based on new technology created at IBM's Software Development Lab in Raleigh, North Carolina. Developers familiar with Java, VisualBasic, PL/I or COBOL can create SOA-enabled mainframe applications by using a platform-independent language, Enterprise Generation Language, and then transforming it into COBOL. This helps companies tap into customer and financial data contained in the $1 trillion worth of mainframe applications written in the COBOL programming language.

To help independent software vendors (ISVs) develop and market new mainframe software applications, IBM is announcing Systems z for ISVs, a new worldwide initiative that provides software vendors with technical, sales and marketing resources to build applications that run on IBM middleware and System z. The initiative, offered through IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks, starts by providing ISVs with no-cost consulting sessions with IBM IT architects. IBM then creates a customized online environment where vendors can develop, port and test applications on System z, with IBM consultants supporting the ISVs throughout development and porting.

Going one step further, IBM consultants will work alongside ISVs during their first client installations, ensuring that applications run properly in a real-world environment. ISVs can also access IBM Sales Connections for System z, where IBM sales experts in 50 countries for hardware, software and services connect ISVs to sales opportunities -- which can shorten the sales cycle, in some instances, from nine months to 90 days. IBM will also help ISVs increase their visibility in the marketplace with advertising discounts, lead generation tools and direct mail campaign support. Software vendors using IBM's marketing resources have reported lead generation rates of as much as four times the industry average.

IBM is also reaching out to the next generation of mainframe developers with new computer courseware via the IBM Academic Initiative, which works to increase the use of open standards technologies by university faculty and students. Nearly 300 universities worldwide have adopted IBM's mainframe courseware and resources to build enterprise computing skills in classrooms. In addition, IBM recently sponsored a global "Master the Mainframe" contest, where more than 700 students from 85 colleges and universities raced to complete realistic large-systems computing challenges, such as connecting data in a business process for a transportation company and its trading partners. The next IBM "Master the Mainframe" competition will occur later this year.

To help customers integrate mainframe data via SOAs, IBM is also announcing the following software, available later this year:

-- WebSphere Process Server for z will connect mainframe data to complex business processes via an SOA, such as an online credit card purchase that requires checking inventory levels and shipping status. In addition, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) for IBM System z will integrate applications and services as part of an SOA running on System z.

-- IBM WebSphere Portal for z/OS will combine different applications in an SOA environment and customize the information for computer users, such as a sales manager who can review deal status, revenues and product information all on one screen.

-- DB2 Viper for z/OS data server will unleash the goldmine of "unstructured" data -- such as email, videos, audio, images, RFID-generated data -- together with "relational" information in databases. It will support the IBM System z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), designed to help free-up computing capacity and lower IT costs.

-- Tivoli Federated Identity Manager for z/OS will help secure transactions across mainframe and distributed computers using SOA and Web services technology. The software's identity management capabilities and built-in compliance tools will enhance System z's inherent master encryption and intrusion detection features.

For more information on IBM, go to For more information about the IBM System z for ISVs initiative, go to

IBM, WebSphere, Tivoli, DB2 and Rational are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

(1) Survey Data Says: The Time for SOA Is Now, Forrester Research, Inc., April 2006

Laurie Friedman
[email protected]

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