IBM Systems Technical University 2018 – Hollywood, Florida

October 23rd, 2018 IBM Systems Technical University 2018 – Hollywood, Florida
Marianne Eggett
z Systems Solutions Consultant


If you were unable to attend the 2018 IBM Z and Storage Systems Technical University in Hollywood Florida, you missed an outstanding event! Though the rain and wind shifted the evenings’ pool-side networking event back indoors, it did not dampen our spirits. Let’s take a quick glance on the week.

Monday’s Key Note

The main tent gathered to hear from IBM Mark Anzani, VP on IBM Strategy. He outlined the IBM Z strategy, positioning it for the open source community. A remarkable figure that 78% of businesses are already running open source software. Open Source integration with the IBM Z applications, via API, became a focal point during this week’s networking sessions.

Mark Wilson, Technical Director at RSM Partners, gave a chilling presentation on the dark web. Not only did he explain the easy access to our most treasured resource, our data, but also how vital the mainframe is because of its security architecture. This set the stage for the many pervasive encryption sessions.

This was followed by the Nationwide duo, Randy Frecking and Rich Jackson, who emphasized our need for openness amongst ourselves. As IT professionals, we need to share our knowledge in the same way the open source community shares and develops new technology at lightning speed.

The Week’s Breakouts

There were the usual tracks bringing the latest announcement on z/OS, IMS, CICS, WebSphere, MQ, z/VM and Linux. In addition to these, IBM Cloud, Blockchain, Analytics and machine learning were emphasized. An added treat were the many hands-on labs that gave an opportunity to test-drive new products.

One session introduced Zowe, an open source project, emerging from the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project. Zowe is a GUI front end to many of the day to day z/OS functions. This is targeted for the new systems administrators, to bridge the z/OS learning curve.

Wilhelm Mild, Executive IT Architect, along with the many IBM product developers, presented several aspects of integrating new open source applications and Blockchain with traditional IMS, CICS and Db2 applications.

There was also a rookie’s track that provided basic training to anyone that wished an introductory understanding of z/OS. Not only was the rookie’s track available to the seasoned IT professionals in attendance for cross training, but IBM TechU was open to nearby students. What a wonderful site to see young students excited to learn about the IBM Z platform.

Then, there was the IBM Storage track that introduced the new IBM Flashsystem and solid-state storage. Of keen interest for me was the 16U all-flash array DS8882F IBM storage unit, along with the Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) solid-state IBM storage, which are now available in the LinuxONE… making the LinuxONE a complete appliance with petabytes of internal storage capacity. Not only does the NVMe SSD IBM storage perform better compared to external storage, but is significantly less expensive, nearing 70-90% less expensive. Also, this is a first for IBM to support a configuration with non-IBM pluggable SSD1 in the IBM Z. Now this is simplification!

The Break Out that Took the Show

There were so many great sessions, but the best of show (my award only) went to The School District of Lee County. Trey Davis, the CIO from the school district, presented the turnaround story of the IBM Z. He won the audience’s attention when the School District’s users changed the chant from “kill the mainframe” to “I can’t believe how lightning fast it is!” During his short two years as CIO, he reorganized the teams by combining the distributed and mainframe team to work side by side, literally knocking down the walls that separated them. He implemented agile application development that rolled out two major applications to the business, in record time, both running on Linux on z. Then, Trey shocked the audience with his announcement of a Blockchain application for a student rewards program, also running on Linux on Z. All this took place in the two years since his arrival.

This wonderful story is even brighter to Mainline, as The School District of Lee County is a Mainline customer reference for IBM Z.
Read the case study here.


This event was so exciting… demonstrating the IBM Z positioning in the new world of open source and cloud. It is very clear that the IBM Z will not only co-exist with the new industry, but will grow with it, pushing the envelope on leading-edge advancements.

Please contact your Mainline Account Executive directly, or click here to contact us with any questions.

1 Non-IBM NVMe SSD storage’s support is the IBM client responsibility. IBM Supports the configuration that enables the pluggable non-IBM NVMe SSD storage in the LinuxONE. The client should pursue support for the Non-IBM NVMe from that vendor.

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