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I am a Mainframer
19 minutes | 3 months ago
I am a Mainframer: Dan Pavel Sinkowitz
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Dan Pavel Sinkovicz, OMP Mentorship Program Member and Student at the University of Northampton. On this podcast, Dan discusses his journey with the mainframe, the OMP Mentorship Program, and where he sees the Mainframe going in the future. https://www.openmainframeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2020/10/GMT20200724-190622_Chris-Blum-mp3cut.net_.m4a Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens, and you’re joining us today for the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, brought to you by the Linux Foundation’s collaborative project, the Open Mainframe Project. Steven Dickens: I’m joined today by Dan Pavel Shinkowitz, who’s going to talk to us a little bit about what he’s been doing on the Open Mainframe Project internship program. Steven Dickens: Welcome to the show, Dan. Dan: Thank you. Steven Dickens: So, Dan, it’s great to have you on the show. We always start these by giving the listener a little bit of an explanation of your background, what you’ve been doing. And when I looked at your bio, I thought it was really good to share this with the group. So maybe if you can start by just giving us a background and a bit of an introduction to yourself. Dan: So I am Romanian, but I studied in the UK at the University of Northampton. So I stumbled upon programming and coding when I was in my high school, just by completing an HTML homework a friend had, and now I’m here, I guess. Steven Dickens: Talk about it. So you’re living in the UK now, Dan, is that correct? Dan: So right now I’m in Romania, but while the university is going on, I’m in the UK, yes. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Northampton’s not far from my home back in the UK. So it’s nice to hear somebody who’s kind of back there. So just tell us about some of those early experiences, if you would, Dan. Tell us kind of how you heard about the Open Mainframe Project internship and what drew you to the platform. Dan: So I knew I wanted to get a job as fast as possible because I was needed to work in a warehouse and I really liked coding, but I hated working like physical work. So in my first year, I knew I couldn’t get a job because I don’t know much about the programming coding stuff, but I started to search for internships I can get into maybe. And I knew the Linux Foundation had a lot of them. They’re really into bringing new people into Linux and mainframes and stuff like that. Dan: So I stumbled upon the Opera mentorship, Open Mainframe Project mentorship, and I just applied. It was really easy compared to the other applications I had before. So I knew with experience, I had no chance of being accepted. So I knew I had to go out of my way and make something to get more chances of being accepted. Dan: And then I just heard about PRs, pull requests. I can make on the data project I will be working for basically, and I did like maybe five PRS before the application deadline. And I just got accepted. So this was the first year. I mean they, the last year, the 2019 edition, 2018. Sorry. Steven Dickens: So it was your involvement in the community that led to you being selected because you’d got involved and made some pull requests? Is that correct? Dan: Yeah, I think so, I think so. Steven Dickens: Okay. Well, I mean, that’s a good story for anybody who’s looking to get involved in these communities. I mean, code talks. I mean, it kind of proves to all of our listeners that the best way to get involved is to get involved. Dan: Exactly. Steven Dickens: So you got accepted onto the internship, Dan. Tell us a little bit about what your project was and what you were involved in and what you worked on. Dan: So the first year was easier than this year, but the first year we had to bring the CF, the cart foundry operator to Z and make some docker images that are compatible with the ZOS but and make some scripts that replace packages inside, I mean zips and stuff like that. And then this year, we’re expanding on the same project, but we want to bring cube CF to Z, and we are really, really close. We are like one error, one bug away. So yeah, that’s really, it’s really frustrating. We can’t get this one working. Dan: So we had everything working on the Coobernetti’s, but we had one error from Diego. If you know what Diego is, if not, I will explain to you, it’s basically you orchestrate the call with Diego, like, for example, the same as Coobernetti’s, but Diego specific have specific Kali we had no way to get past that error, and we just decided to go for, which is basically the same, but it uses Coobernetti’s instead. And that was much better, and as I said, we are really close to getting it finished, and we’re working on Z. Steven Dickens: So what’s it been like coming to the platform completely new and seeing Z for the first time? What’s been the experience? Dan: It was very hard. I was so confused about everything. I mean, everything I’m doing at the university has no similarities with what I’m doing at the mentorship. I had no idea of a command line about Linux, about Coobernetti’s, and I mean, everything. I had to learn everything from scratch. And I think that was really, really difficult, but I can say myself, I adapt easily to new technologies. I can learn very fast. Steven Dickens: It sounds like you’ve been a couple of years now on the mainframe. What are your thoughts? Most of our listeners have probably got 20 years on the mainframe. What’s your experience with only maybe sort of two years, 18 months on the platform? Dan: It’s great. I mean, especially the mentor who gives me a great experience, really helps me. The mainframe itself, it’s a no brainer to not use it because it has so, so many, so many advantages to it. I don’t really get why people are not building more applications for it. It has very high security and stuff. So I think that’s a great plus, but that’s why I really want to bring, keep stuff on, on Z. And I think this will open Z to more users and clients. Steven Dickens: And Dan, lots of students are looking at how they pick their careers. Where do you see yourself going from here? What does the sort of next step look like? Where are you in your college education? And what do you maybe see after that? Dan: At the moment, I’m into mainframes, but that could change over time. At the moment, I’m working for this internship for the cool CF project. And the last day, I just got accepted into a startup. So yeah, I think that’s good for my future, but in terms of, I like the most at this point I can’t tell. So, yeah. Steven Dickens: Okay. So then as you’re starting to look at technology, where do you see the platform going, as you’ve learned about the mainframe, where do you see the mainframe platform going in maybe sort of two to three, maybe four years from today, if you had a crystal ball? Dan: If I mean the open lane, the mainframe is really not knowing them about like few, few people know about the mainframe, and we really need to bring developers, more students into the mainframe, and start building apps for it. And I think the Open Mainframe Project mentorship is a great example of what I’m trying to explain. Cause I had no idea about mainframes two years ago, and now I’m building really great apps on Z. Steven Dickens: What’s been the reaction of your friends and colleagues when you’ve said you’re working on a mainframe model. What have they said? Dan: The majority of them had no idea about mainframes that was to be expected, but I tried to explain to them what it was, but they really weren’t that into it. So yeah. Steven Dickens: Do you think the program, the internship program, is helping spread the word there? Dan: Yeah, it really is, it really is. I think there were like 150 applicants or something. I mean a lot of applicants compared to last year. So that’s a great thing, seeing more students applying for the OMP mentorship program. Steven Dickens: What would you say to those people who are thinking of applying for next year? What would be your advice? Dan: My advice is if I mean if they already know about common lines, Coobernetti’s and stuff, they already use in the project they applied for, that’s a really big plus, but the thing that I think it’s the most important is contributing to the project you are applying for and submitting at least, and maybe for two or three other requests. That way, they can see you really care about the project, and you really like it, that you don’t even need to be paid to do that stuff. Steven Dickens: So get involved basically would be your advice, just get, get onto, get up, get involved in the project, and contribute. Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s the most important stuff. Steven Dickens: I think that’s really fascinating. I mean, the more I learn about the open source community, the more the meritocracy comes through for me and how people get rewarded for their efforts. And I think the thing Dan, I’m going to take away from this call today is you’ve got involved in the community, and that’s led to you having a fantastic opportunity. And I think if our listeners take one thing from this time together, that’s the message. Would you agree? Would that be your message to people who were looking to get involved? Dan: Yeah, I completely agree with what I just said. Just get involved. That’s the most important thing. I mean, the most important thing to me as I can say right now. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Well, Dan, that’s been really good. I think our listeners will have got a lot from that. I think some really good takeaways. Good to see you getting engaged on the platform. So thank you very much for your time today. Dan: Thank you. I will like to give my thanks to some people right now that… Steven Dickens: Go ahead. Yeah. Fantastic. Thank you. Dan: Yeah, it really helped me out during this mentorship, especially this year, cause I screwed up a lot of times. So the first is May, he was basically the one I was contacting to forward my problems to the people that can resolve them. Then Martha for and the university for providing the VM and the free resources, which is amazing. We, I think it’s pronounced and Mark Fresniger and Bruce Keogh for fixing my mistakes. And lastly, Vlad Ivana, which is my mentor. And I know I can always contact him and he’s really, really great. Steven Dickens: Oh, fantastic. Well, I’m sure all of those and I recognize some of the names, and I’m sure there’ll be grateful for the shout out on the podcast today, Dan. So thank you very much for your time today. It’s been great chatting, and to our listeners, you’ve been listening to the Open Mainframe Project, “I Am A Mainframer” podcast. Please click on the links below and subscribe and give us your comments and we’ll try and spread this message more widely. And join us next time for the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast. The post I am a Mainframer: Dan Pavel Sinkowitz appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
36 minutes | 5 months ago
I am a Mainframer: Ross Mauri
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM Z. On this podcast, Ross discusses his journey with the mainframe, confidential computing, advice for those just starting their journey with the Mainframe, and where he sees the Mainframe going in the future. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/anchor-audio-bank/staging/2020-09-01/0a3e0852f3ff58feef9ac0d2582a4c06.m4a Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens and you’re joining us on the Open Mainframe Project’s I’m A Mainframer Podcast. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project designed to be a focal point for open source on the mainframe architecture. I’m joined today by one of the biggest names in the mainframe space, Ross Mauri, who’s the general manager of IBM Z and LinuxONE at IBM. Nice to see you, Ross, good to talk. Welcome to the show. Ross Mauri: Thanks Steven, it’s great to be here. You know I love open source and I love mainframes, and I couldn’t have thought of two better topics, so looking forward to it. Steven Dickens: So Ross, one thing we always do, and it almost sounds weird to get you to introduce yourself to the mainframe community because I’m sure most of them know who you are, but just really, if you can just give us a little bit about your role at IBM, what you do, and just a sort of introduction to yourself, so we can get the listeners orientated. Ross Mauri: Sure. I’ll start with the day I joined IBM permanently, which I joined to write operating system code in assembly language, and that was my career goal, and I joined in the MVS operating system, so it was really great. I met my career goal on day one, 42 years ago. But, over time, I’ve done a lot of programming and then I went into management, and I’ve been very, very fortunate to hold a number of really great management and leadership positions. And right now, for the last six years, I’m the general manager of IBM’s Z and LinuxONE, as you said, and that is really, I have end-to-end responsibility for that business globally for IBM, the financials, of course, quarterly and yearly, but the strategy, the technology roadmap, the engineering support, marketing sales, all of that, in the end, comes to me because I’m responsible for the top line and bottom line of this business. I have to say, it’s been a great six years so far. We’ve changed a lot of things in IBM Z and LinuxONE, well, we created LinuxONE in the last six years, and I’m really happy to be here. It’s like I worked for like 35, 36 years preparing myself to do this job and I’m really loving it. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. So, Ross does some things that I know, because I’ve heard you over the years present, and we’ve worked together on the Linux side over the last few years, so I’ve got some background, but love to pull through your association with open source, you mentioned it in the introduction. You’ve got a particularly interesting background in that space, I think for an IBMer and a Mainframe person, so if maybe you could just give us a view on your role. Ross Mauri: Being what I call a programmer by trade, I was always interested in software and when open source really took off, I read about it, I didn’t participate, I read about it. But then, in 1998, one of the distinguished engineers from the lab in Germany came to me and said, “Guess what, Ross? We’ve got Linux up and running on the mainframe, but we don’t want to tell anybody because we’re going to get in trouble.” and I said, “Well, why are you telling me?” and he said, “Because we want you to tell everyone.” and I said, “All right.” So, I dug in, I knew a bit about Linux, but again, no hands-on experience. I dug in with him and I saw that we really had something, I thought, that could be special there. It’s one of those things where you are thinking about the future, but if you think back in ’98, ’99, Linux and computing was a whole different world back then. But, I saw the possibility and I love the machine-dependent layer of Linux and things like that. It really just struck a chord with me, so I championed it through the business, and including some interesting licenses and things like that, not only was IBM afraid of them, a lot of companies were, but I championed it and we publicly announced Linux on the mainframe. We got Marist College to host the Z architecture machine-dependent portion of the kernel. They still host it today. So, that was a fun beginning. But, then things really started to take off with Linux and IBM finally decided to support Linux as a company and be very broad about it. When Sam Palmisano and I made that announcement, I got a call the next day from Irving Wladawsky-Berger and he said, “Ross, we’re going to start a Linux unit and we want you to run it.” and I was like, “I’m all in.” So, that was a lot of fun. And I hired Dan Fry, who was the first person I hired, and he started the IBM Linux technology center, which really made tremendous contributions to Linux from an open source point of view. Along that path, there was discussion amongst a number of industry players, HP, Intel, Fujitsu, many others, that we needed a home, if you would, not one company, but we needed a home for Linux, and could we start something where we all contributed and created a not-for-profit? So again, reflecting back, the funny thing is that no one in the industry wanted to call this new entity Linux. They didn’t want that in the title. We called it the Open Source Development Lab. And IBM was one of the founding partners, I was the elected as chairman of the board of this new not-for-profit, and I was chairman of the board for four years, then I stepped off and allowed Dan Fry actually to come on and take my place because that was the right thing to do. Again, Intel and a lot of others were there from day one. I love, love, love seeing what the good old OSDL has grown up to, it’s grown up to the Linux Foundation, which is absolutely, I think, an essential not-for-profit and place for open source projects. The Linux Foundation does so many good things on so many dimensions, but I’m really happy that I was part of its roots and that today the Open Mainframe Project is obviously flourishing there. Steven Dickens: So, Ross, this show’s going to air early September and that’s going to be a key date for us as we look back at that 20 years. Maybe just give us your own perspective over that 20 year period. You talked about LinuxONE being launched, that’s five years on Monday, we’re recording this on the 14th of August, 17th is the fifth anniversary. Just give us your own flavor of that journey over the last 20 plus years. Ross Mauri: The first five years where, I would say, really experimenting, working with clients on proof of concept, proof of technology, finding out things that we needed to go after, within the Linux kernel for scalability, RAS, security, whatever, and trying to figure out what workloads would really fit best on a mainframe. I’d say then, the next 10 years, so I’ll go from the first five years to years five to 15, was really an amazing expansion of Linux within the mainframe footprint, globally. A lot of server consolidation, database consolidation, went on in that time, but, also there was a lot of open source that wasn’t supported on the platform, on Z. Also, I think we’re kind of limited, but great success for the limits that we had, great success, as you know, more than half of the mainframe clients in the world today also run Linux on Z. But, then it’s these last five years where we’ve really changed the game, and I’m really happy that I’ve been part of that, it’s been a lot of fun and it’s scratching an itch that I always wanted to scratch. I knew that having a Linux only mainframe, the LinuxONE would be a good idea. I knew that we had to really, really bring more open source packages, runtimes, management frameworks, NoSQL databases, SQL databases, you name it, we needed to have a lot more open source on the platform, and we’ve done that over the last five years, there’s so much now available and supported. I also knew that we needed to now take this and move from server consolidation into real new workloads, so things like blockchain and confidential computing, and there’s a lot of workloads now that no one would have ever expected would run on a mainframe, but now not only do they run here, but I would argue that they run the best. If you care about performance and security, then this is your best home. If you don’t care about performance and security, then there are other homes as well. It’s been a great journey. The last five, we’ve really stepped on the accelerator though. Again, our expansion across the globe with Linux on Z or LinuxONE has just been phenomenal. Steven Dickens: It’s interesting, Ross, you mentioned something there that’s probably a segue into the next section. You mentioned security and you coined a phrase, confidential computing, I know what we’re trying to do in that space, but I think for our listeners, it’d be really interesting for you to maybe expand. When you say confidential computing, what do you mean? Just unpack that for us. Ross Mauri: There’s a whole industry initiative around confidential computing. I’ll tell you what it means to me though. What it means to me is: That your data and your code, but especially your data, can be locked down so tight that no one can get to it or access it except for you with the right cryptography keys. Not a system admin with high privilege, not a container admin, not anybody. So, compromised credentials and insider attacks that we know take place, well we see that they take place every week, they probably take place every day and they’re just not public, there are lots of breaches going on. Confidential computing, when properly implemented, is going to eliminate those attack vectors and the leakage of that data, so that people’s data, whether it’s corporate data that has great financial value or it’s personal data or it’s medical data, it can really be locked down. That’s what it means to me. What I really going for though, is: Confidential Computing alone won’t solve the problem. We’ve got our own secure enclave technology within Z. In fact, we released the fourth generation of that technology that we’ve been working on for 10 years, so the fourth generation was released this year, it’s running great. But, what you have to do with that, especially when you’re in a cloud environment, is you have to wrapper it so that it’s technically impossible for anyone to break in. If you look at today’s cloud environments, there’s administrative control and they have what’s called operational assurance that someone can’t get to your data. Operational assurance means: I signed a contract, and therefore I’m trusting the company that’s hosting my data, to follow the terms of the contract and not allow access, even though it’s technically possible. As you see again, the insider threat is the biggest threat to compromise today. It’s whether the person is bad or the person is blackmailed or compromised, or their credentials get stolen through phishing or other social engineering and somebody gets in because they’ve got their credentials, they’ve got admin credentials. If you really implement confidential computing correctly and have it have the right wrappers around it, end to end, you can technically assure that no one can get to your data. So, in the IBM public cloud today, with our hyper protect services, which by the way, are all FIPS set of services, they’re all based on LinuxONE, it runs globally. You can do things like you can keep your own key, bring your own key is interesting, when you bring your own key, the cloud vendor takes over control of that. I don’t know if you knew that. When you keep your own key, it’s your key and no one takes control of it, only you have access. If I lock down your data today, in the IBM Public Cloud, Steven, with hyper protect, and the US Government came to us with a subpoena and said, “We need to see Steven’s data.” IBM can’t get to it. The only way they can get to it is through you because you have the key. Confidential Computing, to me, is technical assurance that no one can access your data and keeps your data private. Steven Dickens: Ross, that’s… you’ve articulated it really well and I think that Confidential Computing is where we’re going to see the industry going. Where do you see the mainframe in that? So, I think, specifically, maybe go down that one layer into the, because we’ve got a relatively technical audience who likes to geek out on this stuff, so maybe if you would just, what specifically have you driven the teams to do to give us that unique capability? Ross Mauri: Right. The IBM Z has been known for its security for decades, and that’s been built around our core, banking, and financial services customers, that have to have everything locked down. So, let’s just take our HSM, it’s the highest grade, highest-rated commercial HSM that there is in the industry, and a lot of the other, again, I’m not going to get in deep into all the technologies, but the security technologies that we’ve had for banking, but I would say a proprietary way for banking to lock down those workloads, we’ve now taken those technologies and make sure they can either be accessed via Linux or a Linux workload payload running in one of our secure enclaves can inherit that security. So again, in our secure enclaves, all the data can be encrypted without any hit to performance. I don’t care how many gigabytes you want to encrypt a second or decrypt, we can just handle that. That’s an important thing, it’s throughput, how fast can you do it? But, another thing then, is what standards are you following? So, obviously we’re following all of the key industry standards for encryption, but we’re also investing ahead, Steven. We’ve got post-quantum cryptography algorithms already in some of our HSMs that we’re trying out, and as you know, NIST hasn’t yet selected the final algorithms that will be the standard for cryptography in the post-quantum era. But, IBM happens to have, I think there’s seven that have been down selected to the final seven or so, two of them are IBM’s, they’re all lattice-based algorithms, so whatever one gets chosen, whether it’s IBM’s algorithms or someone else’s, we’ve already experimented with lattice-based encryption and cryptography, we know how to do it, and we’re working hard. The next-generation mainframe is going to be post-quantum safe, and I think that that’s going to be a big step. So, where was I going with that? We started with banking technology that was really proprietary. We brought it into the open world, so it can be accessed easily, managed easily, through platform as a service in a cloud environment and we’re investing ahead of the curve. Because no one knows when quantum computers are going to be big enough and stable enough to actually break the cryptography algorithms of today. Some people will say it’s in the next five years, others say it’s in the next 20 years. I don’t really care. I want to have my data secure for the day that they do, the quantum computers are that big and that stable and they’re in the wrong nation-state’s hands or criminals’ hands. So, we’re investing in the future. Now, within our secure enclave technology, we’ve done a number of things, I said we’re on our fourth generation. We’ve really made it so that we’ve got… We’ve got a DevSecOps pipeline set of tools, so you can very easily compile and bring together your applications and your data and you can insert in a confidential and secure and signed way. So, that I know that my code, when it goes in there, hasn’t been touched by anybody and I know that the secure enclave it’s in, whether it’s the hardware, the microcode, the millicode, the virtualization layer, whatever’s in there, is also signed and secure. So, it’s about security, security, security, and locking every single step of the element… Every element in the stage is down. Again, we could probably talk for hours, and you should probably get Marcel on here to go real deep if everybody’s interested in that, but I think confidential computing is what’s needed today. It is what’s needed in the cloud and on-prem, and I’m really glad that IBM is a leader in this area. Steven Dickens: Ross, you have some fun on Twitter, and if anybody’s not following Ross on Twitter, they absolutely should, @rossmauri. I’m always amazed that you find the time to engage so much with the audience out there, but we had some fun with this and posted that we’d try and crowdsource, in the spirit of open source, we’d crowdsource some questions. One of the ones that came through from Pat Moorhead, who’s one of the founding partners of Moor Insights & Strategy, relates back to what you were just saying about confidential computing, so I’ll ask Pat’s question: Many companies claim they have confidential computing, what makes IBM’s version special? Ross Mauri: I think it’s this: All of the claimed confidential computing environments out there still have security holes in them, and they’re not that hard to find what they are in the different layers. Some of them are very restricted by, I say, how big of a payload you can have in there, how big of a database, how big of an application? So, the memory space is not that big. Ours is extremely large memory size, payload size. How many terabytes do you want? These things can grow up very big. The second thing is: I talked about this end-to-end implementation, so you can have trusted computing. No one’s actually implemented that yet, but IBM. It’s one thing to have the core technologies in the microprocessor and the virtualization layer and the container level, et cetera. It’s another thing to then wrapper it all together, so it can be secure end-to-end and basically guaranteed security. So, the difference is that, again, we’ve been working in this area literally for 10 years. This is our fourth generation, as I said. So, we know what holes are in everybody else’s and we’ve made sure that we fixed all of them. And we have red teams all the time, including the IBM X-Force red team, doing pen testing and other types of testing to ensure that they can’t get in, and I’m happy to say that they haven’t been able to get in, so it’s been a pretty good journey so far. Steven Dickens: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that you were going to make that claim, that’s a good one, Ross. One of the other questions came through from an IBM, a Mark Martin, and it goes back to what you were saying about quantum, ask Ross: Will quantum replace compute power in data centers, making them become storage warehouses. So, kind of general question, but interested to get your view. It made me think, so I’d be keen to see your response. Ross Mauri: Yeah, it’s interesting. I can’t look a hundred years out, but from what I know of quantum computers today, and they are very powerful and I have an active research program that I call Z plus Q, which is literally: How do we hook a quantum computer directly into an IBM Z and treat it as an accelerator? Where going with this is: Quantum computers are very, very, very good at some things, and they’re terrible at others. They’re not going to replace one for one traditional computing. I think, the computing paradigm for as far as the people that I talked to, can see, let’s look out 30 to 50 years, is there’s going to be classical computers and they are going to be connected to quantum computers. Think of the quantum computers as a really, really fast accelerator that is really good at certain types of algorithms, like Monte Carlo. They’re really good at some things. I can see the Z plus Q for our commercial clients, let’s say banks, being tightly coupled. The operational data is on the Z, but then when they want to do some kind of super fraud analytics or something like that, they package the data, you shoot it over the quantum computer, it does its work in lightning speed, comes back, and gives you that answer, an answer that might’ve taken, if you did it in classical computing, a decade to do, quantum computer can do it in mere seconds or less than that. So, I see this collaboration, if you would, this connection and collaboration between classical computing and quantum computing, really being the powerful thing for business, again, as far as the people that I talk to, again, for the next 30 to 50 years, and I can’t look a hundred years out, I don’t know who can. Steven Dickens: That’s interesting Ross. It leads to the next question that came from Alex Kim from one of our business partners, Vicom Infinity. His question was: What did we learn from our many attempts to merge other technologies into Z, and can we expect something again soon? He mentioned cell processes in 2007, maybe perhaps a GPU. So, maybe can you give that perspective? Ross Mauri: He didn’t realize it, but he’s actually already seen it. What we learned from some of those experiments was that we can put other processors, accelerators, right onto the microprocessor. So in z14, we put a crypto engine right on the microprocessor to do bulk encryption. 16 gigabytes a second per core. Go ahead and feed the beast all you want. So, that was putting a processor on a processor. We put a compression processor on, we’ve put a sort processor on, and in the future, we’ll put an AI processor on, for inference. He’s already seeing it, he just didn’t realize it. We learned a lot from those experiments and we did learn that the technology is dense enough today, and we have the real estate to actually put coprocessor or accelerator function right onto the microprocessor and therefore you’re getting the great benefits of an accelerator, but it’s done almost inline with the instruction stream for the rest of the processing. Steven Dickens: One of the other questions that came through was from Timothy out in Singapore. It was a great question, I’m looking forward to your answer on this one: What’s the most interesting recent example of a mainframe operator using their machine in some particularly clever way to solve an otherwise tough or impossible problem? Basically, what’s the biggest recent mainframe use case surprise? Ross Mauri: I won’t say it’s the intern that was working on the bank that brought the jars for a game and had a test partition, and I won’t say which game it was but dropped him in there and they ran like mad. But, anytime you use a banking computer to play games on, that’s always an interesting one. But, this was an interesting one: One of our PhDs in research, she’s actually the head of IBM Z research for me, Donna Dillenberger, ran an interesting experiment. Out in the university world, there was a biomedical competition, it was an open competition, and there was a set of biomedical problems, genomic problems, that they wanted to solve. The students had a certain amount of time and they were given the test data and they had a set of algorithms and suites, but they could make up whatever they want to. Where I’m going with this, it’s not so much about the competition, but what the competition asked for was for different companies to put up clouds that could be used for this competition over a week. Donna put up a very large Linux mainframe cloud with hundreds of virtual servers, and the experiment was: Let’s see if any of them realize that they’re running on a mainframe. Let’s see how transparent this is. Because you and I know Linux is Linux is Linux, but a lot of people out there, the uninformed out there in the world, think that Linux on Z is something different. But, this was like let’s do this blind, and let’s see if someone can figure it out. So, we put it out there. A week later, lo and behold, the winning team happened to use our cluster. It was random how the teams got assigned to different companies’ loaned clusters of these VM servers. The winning team came back and they were interviewed and they said, “Why’d you win?” they said, “Well, we don’t know. But, when we ran our models, they literally ran twice as fast or faster than what we were used to, so we were able to iterate on our hypothesis in our modeling of what we were trying to prove out in this genomic sequencing thing they were doing, prove it out much faster, so we just made a lot more progress over the time that was allowed than the other guys.” So, the interesting thing for me there is all these medical students that obviously know informatics, information systems as well, the programming, none of them realized they were on anything but a normal Linux system. But, they noticed, wow, it’s way faster. So, that to me is one of the coolest things that happened in recent years. Steven Dickens: That’s a great story. I’ve not heard that one. I’m going to come back to your more details on that, that’s an interesting one, Ross. It gives me a great segue into the next section. One of the questions I always ask of the guests on the show, and you mentioned some of the students and academic community that gathered around the platform: What advice would you give to your younger self? So, we go back to Ross Mauri age 20, 21, 22, and you’ve got the ability to go back and give your younger self some advice, what would it be? Ross Mauri: I came to IBM because I viewed it as the biggest sandbox in the world that I could scratch my itch of programming, and it was. There are lots of good companies out there where you can do hardcore, operating system level programming. But, the advice I would have given myself is: To probably stay technical a little bit longer. I was technical and did programming and test and design and all that stuff for about six and a half years, then I went into management, when you go into management, you really don’t do anything anymore. It’s not an honest job, the honest job was when you code. But, I would tell myself to even learn more about coding. Because I think, even when you’re in senior management like I am now, the more you understand about your business, my business is IBM Z, there are other analogies out there everywhere, whether you’re in the cloud business or you’re in biomedical or you’re in banking, but know more about how your business really works, so that if your career goal is to be a manager, be an executive, run a business, be a CEO, the more you know about how it works on the ground, the better leader you’re going to be because you’ll be able to relate to people. I say that because I see people that don’t actually have good technical backgrounds and they try to run technical teams. They’re good leaders, but you just can’t help the teams enough as a leader unless you can really understand… You don’t have to understand every bit and byte that they’re coding, but understand what they’re doing and be able to relate to them. I can still relate to the hundreds or thousands of developers that work for me that write millicode, write microcode, write operating system code, write middleware code and database code, and cloud orchestration code because I had a technical background and I use it. So, my advice to myself is: I should have stuck it out another three, four years, and just learned that much more before I went into management. Steven Dickens: That’s interesting. I think that’s great advice for some of our younger listeners who are maybe starting to put their feet on their first career path, so thank you for that, Ross. I’ve asked this question over the last couple of years of guests of the show and I’m really looking forward to asking it to you. One of the questions I ask is: Look into your crystal ball, you’ve got that classic crystal ball we see in the movies. Where do you see the next three to five years of the mainframe going? What do you see as the future? As much as you’re able to talk about, Ross. Ross Mauri: Sure. The truth is: We’re working on what we’re going to ship in the next six years already. We always work on the next two generations of the system. So z15 is out there and today we’re working on Z next and Z next next. Now, I’m not going to tell you what technology it’s going to be in and all the details, but I’ll tell you the areas that we’re going to make great strides in. I already talked about AI, great strides in AI. We’re going to make great strides, from a software point of view, in bringing full, open source, cloud-native development toolset to z/OS, it’s already on Linux. I want to take all those great tools that everyone uses for Linux and make it so that the programmers of tomorrow can really leverage those open source tools, regardless of what language it is. Could be COBOL, which I know some people think is ancient, but it’s actually a pretty good language still. But it could also be Python or Go or Swift or Java, whatever language you’re going to run on your mainframe. Another thing we’re working very hard on is Hybrid cloud integration and IBM cloud integration. Hybrid cloud, to me, means really connecting clouds, and it means that’s done by Kubernetes containers. And that in the new programming paradigm services-oriented programming paradigms. So, we’re going to work a lot on hybrid cloud integration, we’ve already done a lot in the last year, but there’s always more to do. Then, I think there are some really interesting things that we can extend to the cloud, things that if you’re a bank and you run on-premises today, you depend on it, but some of those paradigms don’t exist in the cloud yet, we’re going to bring a lot of the paradigms for disaster recovery, other types of compute paradigms, again, that classical big businesses rely on, we’re going to bring that to the cloud. Because, we think we’ve got a leg up, because again, we know that our technology works, we know the algorithms in it, we know what bugs we’ve had to fix, we know what things didn’t work, so my team working with the IBM public cloud team are going to bring… We brought together the hyper protect services, but we’ve got a lot more up our sleeve. The answer is: There’s more open source in our future, there’s more cloud in our future, and there’s more AI in our future. And I already mentioned, we’re going to make sure that everything’s safe, quantum-safe. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. I think that’s a great answer, Ross. I’m looking forward to seeing that journey over the next three or four years, from what I can see from what you’ve said, it’s going to be an exciting few years. I think this has been fantastic, what are we, almost 40 minutes now? I think I could carry on interviewing you, but we’d probably want to keep it to a section where the listener can consume this. So, Ross is there any parting comments, anything else you’d like to share with the listeners before we wrap? Ross Mauri: I would just say, especially for those of you that are still coding, get out there and code. There’s a Linux community cloud if you want a free place to go and play for a while. There are lots of other tools, many of them free, but please get out there and code. Learn about the mainframe, learn about its strengths, learn about what it’s really good at, and which workloads you really should put on a mainframe, whether it’s on-premises or it’s in the cloud. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Ross, that’s been a really interesting a few minutes we’ve got to spend together today. I think our listeners are going to find this interesting, so thanks for joining us on the show. You’ve been listening to Steven Dickens interview Ross Mauri on the I’m A Mainframer Podcast. You’re going to be listening to the show in the first week of September, which is a week before the Open Mainframe Summit, which is on the 16th and 17th of September. Please go to openmainframeproject.org to register, and thank you for listening to the show. The post I am a Mainframer: Ross Mauri appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
20 minutes | 5 months ago
I am a Mainframer: Jessielaine (Jelly) Punongbayan
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Jessielaine Punongbayan, Senior Software Engineer at Broadcom in Prague. On this podcast, Jelly discusses her journey with the mainframe, the challenges for the mainframe, Zowe, and where she sees the Mainframe going in the future. https://www.openmainframeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2020/07/Jellymainframer-mp3cut.net_.m4a Steven: Hello and welcome. My name is Steven Dickens and I’m your host on the I’m a Mainframer podcast. Brought to you by the Open Mainframe Project and Linux Foundation collaborative Project focused on advocating for Linux and open source on the mainframe platform. I’m joined today by a fantastic guest. We’ve just been talking offline and I hope I’m going to get her name right, Jessielaine who, thankfully for me, has agreed to go by the name of Jelly for today. So Hey Jelly, welcome to the show. Jelly: Hey, thank you. Thank you for having me here and good job on pronouncing my name. I really love it. Steven: You’re too kind. I know when we were getting ready for the show, you helped me out massively, so I hope I didn’t offend. Jelly: No, it’s good. Steven: So Jelly, if you can just maybe give us a brief introduction. Tell us a little bit about what you do and a little bit about your background. Jelly: Sure. I am from the Philippines. I started off as a, well a mainframe application developer, so basically I have a pure mainframe background where I work for a backing agency in the Philippines and there I learned COBOL and the bank processing like on-call support or recovery stuff. I moved to Singapore to be a COBOL consultant. And there I was exposed to the European way of bank processing and some of these mainframe tools that they have there. Basically the whole first year or the whole 10 years of my experience, it would be mainframe application development. And that’s what I do most of the time. Now, I’m living in the Czech Republic and I transferred here first as a system operation. So I switched my career from application development to system engineering. And I worked for IBM for two years in the operations team where I do IPLs, just firing commands and just do ingesting. So basically operations stuff. And then after that one, I moved to Broadcom and now I’m a R&D engineer for Zowe Explorer. So I’m exposed now to modern mainframe interfaces. That’s what they normally do every day, all about mainframe and modernization. Steven: So Jelly, there are some fantastic little nuggets there. Moving around the world, moving to different companies. I think some of our listeners are really interested in how you can build a career that takes you around the world in the mainframe space, especially on a platform like COBOL. So, I mean, maybe if you can just give us a bit of, how did you get started? Sounds like you’ve jumped in and built your career in the mainframe. How did you get started? Give me a view early days how you kind of came out of college and maybe got into the platform. That would be interesting, I think. Jelly: Well, I started off as a programmer trainee. So after I graduated college, I started looking for a job and I don’t want to go for a real job so I wanted to have a training program and there’s this bank in the Philippines that offers a programmer trainee and they have two paths. One path is for visual basic group. And the other one is for the mainframe group. And there they thoughts about COBOL and JCL, and it was fascinating for me because I understood COBOL immediately because it’s just like writing a paragraph or a sentence. And I got a high-grade there and so they put me in the mainframe path and that’s where it all started for me in the mainframe industry. They put me in this COBOL department and we were working on in-house enhancements for the bank. And it’s mainly focused on COBOL. Steven: It’s really interesting, I mean, COBOL has been in the press a lot recently with some negative comments, particularly in the US. And it’s really interesting to hear you talk there about how you came to the platform new, kind of loved interacting with COBOL as a language and sort of got the bug for the mainframe if you excuse the developer pun, but just really kind of just got excited. So maybe give me a perspective if you don’t mind for the listeners around kind of what do you think about where COBOL is right now and maybe it’s perspective against other languages and kind of how easy is it from that developer perspective to engage with? Jelly: When I heard about that COBOL is needed before when COBOL became very famous recently, I was thinking about my experience at that and I think that people are afraid of COBOL because somehow it’s an old language. Sometimes when it’s old, you have this fear of the unknown and you don’t want to touch it. And when I was starting out as a young developer, I was very afraid of touching the terminals and I am afraid that I will break something and my colleagues are not really that helpful because they somehow enjoy that I’m afraid of touching stuff. But as time goes by, I acquired the love bug for COBOL because it taught me how to be resourceful. For me, the logic is simple. It’s simple how to code it. You can create the program and then you can find resource full ways on how to achieve your goal in COBOL. And the one thing that I love about this language is that you know what’s going inside and what’s going out. You know what’s going to happen in your program and you can expect it. And so if you have an error, you already know how to fix it, or you know what’s going on. So you understand everything that’s happening inside the program. So if I’m going to compare COBOL into, let’s say the modern language that they have, for example, right now I’m coding in TypeScript. And TypeScript is, for me, amazing because you only import packages that you didn’t code and this package helps you in doing this. But the negative side about that is that I don’t really understand what are those packages doing and how they are developed. And so there’s this blind spot for me in these packages. And for me, when you go in mainframe, you know everything, and that knowing part helps me or satisfies me as a developer. Steven: I mean, that’s fascinating, Jelly. I’m not a developer, not written a line of code, but I know a lot of our listeners are developers. And I think that just listening to you talk about sort of COBOL versus some of those other languages there was, I could hear in your voice the sort of perspective you’ve got of when you can see your code, you can understand the program that you’ve written. And I could hear that coming through it. Did I capture that right, because I think that’s what I heard? Jelly: Yes. I mean, that’s what I see as well. In my experience, when I code in mainframe I understand what I’m coding or at least I understand the process of it. And basically what you said is right. Steven: Obviously you’ve been on a journey, both with the mainframe and around the world. One thing that sort of came through in the bio that I was sent was the work you’ve been doing with Zowe. Lots of our listeners are interested in that project. If you could maybe just explain a little what you’re doing in the Zowe space, that would be fantastic. Jelly: So in Zowe, I am one of the engineers for Zowe Explorer and we are doing, well I’m doing lots of enhancement in that area. And as well as I am part of the Zowe mobile application. So this Zowe mobile application is an incubation project for Zowe and it was created by me and my team during a project. And this mobile app allows you to access your job spool, your mainframe job spool. So it’s good for reduction support that when somebody from operations calls you that there’s an abandoned job, you can just get it on your phone, and then you can submit that part. I’m also part of the COBOL course in the open mainframe project. And I’m part of the core team and I’m supporting and creating challenges for the learners today. Steven: So you’re building with Zowe’s ability to be able to see jobs on somebody’s mobile phone? Did I just hear that right? Jelly: Yes. So it’s one of the incubation projects that was donated this year for Zowe. Steven: That’s super cool. Would that give somebody, the ability who is not a mainframe expert to be able to just log in via their phone, check the status of a job and be able to sort of kick start a process without having to be a mainframe expert? Am I understanding that right? Jelly: That’s right, actually. Steven: Wow. I mean, I think for me, these are some of the interesting projects and speaking sort of from my own sort of perspective, these are why I do the podcast. To speak to the interesting people on the front line developing the modern mainframe. I think that’s super fascinating how we’re changing the dynamic around how people are getting access to this platform. Can you give me a bit of what your experience has been on Zowe and kind of how you see that open source developer model coming through the mainframe, which I know something we’ve kind of not had up until the last few years? How has that been as a developer experience? Jelly: Before, when I heard about Zowe, I actually have this doubt in Zowe because it says modernization. And as a pure Mainframer, when you hear the word modernization, I don’t want that. I love 32×70, I love the green screen, and I don’t want this new developer experience stuff, but when I was immersed in it, when I experienced how do you Zowe Explore, even Zowe CLI or I started creating APIs using the API SDK that open mainframe is offering. That gave me a lot of ways to innovate. It expanded my creativity and I then begin to ask this question, “What more can you do with the mainframe?” And excuse me, being able to do enhancement for Zowe Explorer and seeing how you can access your data sets or accessing your USS or your job spool using a Viscose editor. That fascinates me a lot. For me, using Zowe or using these modern interfaces is good because it’s not really what I thought it was before because before I thought that if you do modernization, you’re going to recode your COBOL programs, or you’re going to change everything, destroy everything and build everything from scratch again. But with Zowe, it’s not like that. It’s just giving you a new interface and a new way of connecting to the mainframe that allows you to have this cross-platform interaction with the modern platform and the mainframe platform and making it one, to work together. And that fascinates me a lot. And so when I saw this extension or the CLI, and then even though the web desktop, I immediately thought of a phone. I mean, why not use a phone? And so since we’re firing APIs as our way to interact with mainframe, it allowed us to create a mobile application. And so it doesn’t stop there since this API technology or these modern technology exists and we continuously improve, or we continuously find ways to have solutions for the mainframe. For me, Zowe has a really great future on how to interact mainframe with other modern technologies. And I like it because it’s something familiar for me as a person who has a pure mainframe background. I don’t really need to relearn much because it’s still familiar for me. I’m still coding my COBOL programs. I can still access it, but it’s just in a different interface. So that was a great experience for me when I started working or started using Zowe. Steven: You can hear the passion there, Jelly, coming through. And the show’s called, I’m a Mainframer. You’re a declared COBOL programmer, but you’ve then built a mobile app using open source. I mean, for me, that’s the perfect journey on the platform. What would be your recommendations to people looking to get involved in Zowe? How would you recommend they sort of getting started and dive into the community effort? Jelly: For me, what I would really suggest is just to try it out. I know that each and every Mainframer has their doubts. Maybe it’s not going to be like this, this and that. So try it out. And it’s just using the CLI. Check your jobs through the CLI or check your jobs through the VsCode extension. And then if you like it, try more components. And then after that, I would suggest joining the Slack community that we have and contribute there. Not contribute by asking questions, contribute by understanding what Zowe can do like providing use cases. And as a developer, for me, I’m here to help you to understand what the product does and also it will help me to understand what are your needs. And so by just trying it out or being a witness for Zowe itself is already helping out. And if you have experience in Typescript or any of these modern technologies or interfaces, then you can check out the GitHub repositories and contribute your code. Or if, or you can just contribute your knowledge to all these new learners that we have, especially in the COBOL course. There are lots of people who joined there and they’re just contributing their knowledge as a COBOL developer and how they will code in COBOL or how they will handle these processes. And by sharing knowledge, we are already contributing to the community and we are helping each other to improve this open mainframe project. Steven: Jelly, I think that’s been fantastic to hear you talk about the community that’s being built around this codebase. I think the mainframe always had a strong community ethos, but I think at the various conferences, I know you’ve spoken to Europe in the past. There have been strong mainframe gatherings. I think what we’ve seen with the open mainframe project is just harness that community and then they believe to come together for the common good. And hearing you talk about it just sort of fills my heart with joy about the platform that we’ve been able to build with the open mainframe project and how that really sort of gives this ability for people like you to develop, interact with colleagues and peers and new people in the industry, and sort of pull all that together. So Jelly, as we start to think about wrapping up for our guests here, I try and catch our guests out with one question. So I gave you a bit of warning when we were getting warmed up. You’ve given me a really interesting view of the mainframe platform. You’ve traveled the world with COBOL; you’ve seen and started to leverage an open source community to build on the survey platform. Where do you see the mainframe in three to five years if you were to look into your crystal ball? Jelly: If I were to look at my crystal ball, I want to see the mainframe as something that is in a cross-platform environment. So for me, I want to see mainframe using these modern interfaces, but as well as running in the mainframe. So basically what mainframe is doing right now, but with more modern interfaces for us to use. And as well as I want to see the mainframe community be more diverse with young developers and experienced developers working together, because for me, Zowe and this open mainframe project, it allows us to be all learners. As an experienced developer, I am learning new stuff. I am learning modern stuff. And as a modern developer, as a new grad, I am learning about mainframe and I want to see that mainframe community working together, learning together, and sharing their experience together. And for me having that makes mainframe, that forum, even stronger because we’re working together to improve mainframe, to be a better platform. And combining those two different worlds together, For me, it makes it really stronger, makes it better. Steven: So, Jelly, you mentioned something there “As a new grad.” If you could go back to you to your younger self and give yourself some advice as you were coming out of college, what would that advice be? Jelly: My advice for myself is to stick to what you have done. Stick to the mainframe. I think the mainframe has given me a lot of experience and a different perspective. It allowed me to think differently, to be more creative in my way of thinking. And so my advice is to just stick with the mainframe, learn it, and as well as continue learning, continue to search for more because there is so much more in the mainframe. You can do more in the mainframe and it’s a very interesting language and exciting language. It’s not a dead language, honesty. COBOL is not a dead language. The mainframe is not dead. And for me, it’s a very wide platform, you can learn a lot from it. And it’s very interesting. Steven: So jelly, I can’t think of a better set of sentences to start to wrap up our podcast today. It’s been fantastic talking to you. I feel like I’ve journeyed around the world. I feel like I’ve seen and heard about your journey and you’ve been a fantastic guest. So thank you very much for joining us today. Jelly: Thank you so much as well. Steven: So you’ve been listening to Steven Dickens and Jelly S Sr. software engineer at Broadcom. Thank you for joining us on today’s show. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, click in the links below and subscribe, or ideally write us a review as well, and give us five stars or whatever you have on your podcast platform. We’ll be bringing you more shows from the I’m A Mainframer Podcast series, where we talk to the most interesting guests around the world who are developing and advocating for the mainframe platform. So my name’s Steven Dickens, I’m signing off and we’ll hopefully speak to you soon. The post I am a Mainframer: Jessielaine (Jelly) Punongbayan appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
24 minutes | 6 months ago
I am Mainframer: Maggie Li
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Maggie Li, Chief Architect at Precisely. On this podcast, Maggie discusses her journey with the mainframe, the challenges for the mainframe, Zowe, and where she sees the Mainframe going in the future. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/anchor-audio-bank/staging/2020-07-09/703e03801dd72c3d168b1b9ee60c2043.m4a Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens, and I’m the host of the I’m A Mainframer podcast, brought to you by the Linux Foundation. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project focused on promoting and advocating for Linux and Open Source on the mainframe platform. I’m joined today by my guest, Maggie Li, who is the Chief Architect to Precisely, formerly of Syncsort. Welcome to the show. Maggie. Maggie Li: Thank you, Steve. Thank you for having me. Steven Dickens: So it’s great to chat. From what I can tell from your profile here, we’re going to have a good conversation today, and I think this is going to be a fun show for the listeners. What I always ask our guests to do first is really just to give us an overview of how you got started, and how you ended up on the mainframe platform. So if you could just give us a brief overview, that’d be fantastic. Maggie Li: Sure. I majored in electrical engineering in college, back in China. I guess I was one of the few girls who would choose engineering as a major back then. The school I went to is a well-known engineering school that had a male to female ratio of seven to one. Steven Dickens: We’re going to come back and talk about that. We’re going to come back and talk about that, Maggie. That’s interesting, but carry on. Maggie Li: Okay, sure. After I graduated from college, I started my career as a home appliance engineer. I designed hardware and wrote assembly code in microprocessors to control microwaves, air conditioners, and other home appliances. It was kind of fun because I got to do a lot of cooking as part of my job. I remember we cook the chicken, beef, and vegetables to test the microwave recipes, and we eventually converted the recipes to code. That went for four years until I came to the US for postgraduate education. My major was electrical engineering again, with a focus on Telecomm. The fact that I went to Syncsort after graduation was actually a surprise to many people. I got several job offers at the time. Among them, the most attractive one was from Motorola. So it sounded like a no-brainer, right? I almost accepted the offer, but changing my mind at the last minute. Because I really liked the people who interviewed me at Syncsort, and I thought it was a great culture fit. Back then. I knew virtually nothing about mainframes, but I thought my assembly background may somewhat help and make my job easier. That’s why I came to the mainframe world. I guess I was right about the people and the culture, but I was wrong about the job being easy. I did expect complexity, but I was not prepared for that level of complexity. I think you know what I mean. Steven Dickens: I do. I do. Maggie Li: Yeah, yeah. So, in the beginning, there was a lot of frustration. But luckily, I was surrounded by many supportive colleagues. With their help, I was able to get some traction and started to learn quickly. After a few years of working on mainframes, I started to enjoy the challenge. And I can tell you I love the mainframe. Steven Dickens: Oh, that’s good to hear. That’s good. So you’re on the right train. I interrupted you because I was keen to kind of drill into the point. You mentioned a seven to one ratio there when you were an undergraduate. Can you maybe just kind of expand a little on that point? We’ve had a lot of really powerful female leaders on the show in the mainframe space, and I’m always keen for some of our younger listeners to hear about that journey. So if you can maybe just expand on that topic a little bit, that’d be interesting. And talk about kind of how you’ve seen that progress since you were in college, through to where you are today as a really senior technical leader in Syncsort. Maggie Li: Okay. Sure. I loved math. I loved physics when I was very young. And my mother was a professor when I was in high school, and she always encouraged me to pursue my interests. So that’s why I started to learn electrical engineering for my major. But I would like to say to the girls that, if they think about their choice for their careers, I think it’s a good time for women in tech right now. I encourage them to give a try. Because of my own experience, I never felt gender has anything to do with one’s capabilities, even in the most hardcore technology areas. For example, Precisely, there is something we have always been proud of. Our team had about 30% women, and over 40% of the leadership team was women. What’s interesting is we never had any quotas. This happened all naturally. And that says something. So I would like to… My advice to other women in the industry is, you are every bit as capable as men in what you do, and your success solely depends on the number of efforts you put in. Be positive. Be proactive. Volunteer for more responsibilities if something aligns with your interests. And for the leaders, be mentors to other women. I think if the girls can pick the technology industry, I think this is a great industry to work in. I believe in the foreseeable future; IT will continue to be a leading industry that will make most of the changes in people’s lives. Therefore we will see tremendous growth. Steven Dickens: So it’s interesting, the journey you’ve been on, and how you’ve seen the challenges for representation sort of change. When I was reading your bio here, I picked up that you’re involved in the Master the Mainframe contest and how you mentor a group of high school students through that sort of contest to bring new fresh blood into the mainframe. Have you seen any of those challenges or any of those concerns come through in your mentorship as you’ve moved towards the more senior part of your career? Have you seen anything there, Maggie, that you’d share with the listeners? Maggie Li: So I feel the biggest challenge for the mainframe going forward right now is the shortage of skilled people. Because it has been there and will continue to be the biggest challenge for the mainframe, that’s my feeling. Today it is extremely difficult to find professionals that are skilled in mainframe because the talent pool is quickly shrinking. Many people working on the mainframe are approaching their retirement age. But at the same time, we don’t get much new blood joining the workforce. If we don’t do anything to turn this trend around, we will be in a very awkward situation when the existing talents do retire. That’s why I have personally tried to promote the mainframe to young people whenever I got a chance. And I do love the Master Mainframe contest. I feel that the program is a great way to bring awareness of technology to people. And I hope it can stimulate some interest and help bring new talents into the mainframe world. Fortunately, at Precisely, we have been fortunate in attracting young talent to the team. A team that will one day become the next generation of mainframe engineers at the company. Steven Dickens: I agree. I’m a huge fan of the Master the Mainframe. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the winners over the years at various events. I’m always heartened by how those winners are sort of looking into embarking on a career with just unbounded optimism. And it’s infectious when you get to meet some of those younger mainframers as they embark on their journey on the platform. Maggie Li: Yeah, the program was a fantastic program, and the winners could get t-shirts, gift cards, and backpacks. The kids were so happy. I could feel that. Steven Dickens: So, Maggie, again, I was really impressed when I looked through the bio that the team sent through to me. Could you tell us a little bit about what you do specifically for Precisely as a chief architect? I see some wonderful projects here, but it’s probably best for our listeners if you can give us a brief overview of what you’re involved in and what cool projects you’re working on. Maggie Li: Sure. Just a little bit background of our company before I talk about myself. Precisely is a company with a 50-year history of delivering data-sorting and data-integration solutions for the IBM mainframe before last year’s Pitney Bowes software and data acquisition. Now we are the global leader for data integrity. I have been with Precisely for 21 years. I started with the company as an assembly developer for mainframe sort products and MFX. Syncsort MFX was the core product back then. Over the years, I went from developer to various management roles and was leading a number of R&D projects for MFX and our log data integration product, Ironstream. Both MFX and Ironstream are the main products for the company. About three and a half years ago. I transitioned from the management trackback to a technology role, a technical role. My current role is Chief Architect for the mainframe portfolio. Most of what I do now is research new mainframe technologies and prototyping code for our mainframe products. I am responsible for the architecture of Precisely Syncsort mainframe products family as well as the Ironstream product family. I also lead a cross-product architecture team in researching and reporting on a variety of topics across either portfolio of products. So that’s what I do at Precisely. Steven Dickens: I’m interested Maggie, you’ve obviously got a 21-year history on the platform. How have you seen things change over that 21 year period? The mainframes are a very different beast than it was back in the late ’90s. So I’d be really keen to get your perspective on what you’ve seen change over the years. Maggie Li: The old days when I started from Syncsort, we used3270. And now recently we see mainframe and Linux and cloud getting closer and closer. In the future, I feel the mainframe will coexist with the distributed world and the cloud world. This is why I have been working so hard in the past few years in our product called Ironstream. The old days, mainframe used to be the lack of accessibility of its data, I feel. So breaking data silos, that’s our focus at Precisely. For example, Ironstream provides seamless integration of mainframe data with distributed and cloud-based systems. This way, our customers can monitor all their systems whether the systems are mainframe or distributed architecture from the same platform, the modern platform. Mainframe customers run mission-critical workloads in the largest company around the world. One of our key strengths is the ability to connect mainframe data to modern readily-adapted platforms, such as Splunk, Kafka, and ServiceNow. The other things I’m thinking it will be in the future, we will have the same or similar DevOps tools and user experience in the mainframe as in the distributed and the cloud system. I’m thinking in the future; our users do not need to develop two sets of skills to code their business applications. The end-users will not be able to tell from the user interface, whether the underlying system is a distributed system in the cloud or a mainframe in the cloud. This is the Open Mainframe Project, IBM, and CA, I feel we are working hard on this effort. And I really appreciate that. Steven Dickens: Yeah. That’s an interesting area. We’ve got a strong community built around the Zowe Project. And I think you were hinting at some of that in your previous answer. How do you see that as part of a future for the mainframe? Maggie Li: We are looking at Zowe, too. We feel modernizing our mainframe products with cloud user experience will help our customers reduce their development time. So we started to evaluate different options, including OpenShift and Zowe. we need to pick the right solution for different products. Participating in Zowe Conformance Program is one of our options. Actually, we joined the Open Mainframe Project last year. we trusted the Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation is a community we trust. Our company joined the ODPi project five ago, and we have been working with the Linux Foundation very closely since then. And later, we joined Hyperledger Project, and last year, we joined Open Mainframe Project. Steven Dickens: So, Maggie, I think you’ve given us a really good overview there of some of the big trends and things you’ve seen. I’m always keen to understand maybe what you would have said to yourself back in ’99. What advice, if you could have a time machine, what advice would you go back and give to your younger self as you were just starting to embark on this career? I always find the answers to this are interesting for our listeners who are maybe thinking about how they’d start their career. So what advice would you have given to your younger self? Maggie Li: I think if I could go back, I would choose the mainframe again. Because mainframe actuality has a lot of architectural advantages, maybe a lot of people didn’t know like security, speed, and availability. Security is very important, right? It has been a growing concern in recent years as we see more and more frequent data breaches. The most shocking one to me was the Equifax instance that happened in 2017. Every time something like this happens, it impacts millions of people and could cause losses in billions of dollars. And to me, I feel the mainframe is the most secure machine even right now. I will not say the mainframe system is invisible, but we are much less vulnerable than a distributed system. So I will see the mainframe will survive in another 20 years with cloud, Linux, and every modern technology, every modern platform. Also, availability and reliability is another key advantage. I’m not sure if you know, the Z in [inaudible 00:20:40] brand name, it means zero downtime. And they are guaranteed to run continuously for 40 years without any failure. I got that from the internet, and that’s amazing. Steven Dickens: Yes. Some of the stats are just… I remember a client presenting to a big audience saying that they’d not had a second of planned or unplanned outages in over 20 years. So I think that stat kind of blew me away. [crosstalk 00:21:13] Maggie Li: Yes. So for many organizations, the value of this advantage is far greater than the cost of the system. So this is probably why they have been staying with the mainframe. And this is why I love the mainframe. And I would like to choose the mainframe industry again if I could go back. Steven Dickens: So as we look to wrap up here, Maggie, I always ask our guests on the show, if you could look ahead into a crystal ball, where would you see the mainframe, sort of three to five years from now? What are those big trends that are going to impact the mainframe platform over that period of time? Maggie Li: Like what I said, in the future, I feel this, every mainframer and Open Mainframe Project, hard work. In the future, I would expect the end-user will not be able to tell from the user interface, whether the underlying system is a distributed system in the cloud or a mainframe in the cloud. Steven Dickens: Yeah. I think I see the same trend in our future. So it’s really interesting that you share that perspective. Maggie, the time has flown by. This has been a fantastic conversation. I think our listeners are going to be really interested to understand a little bit about your personal journey. So thank you for sharing that with us today. Maggie Li: Thank you. Steven Dickens: Are there any other parting comments or anything else you want to share before we wrap? Maggie Li: Nothing else. Thank you very much, Steve. Steven Dickens: No, and thank you from the listeners and from me. It’s been great having you on the show. So you’ve been listening to the I Am A Mainframer podcast. I’m your host, Steven Dickens. It’s been great listening to Maggie talk to us today from Syncsort. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard on the show, please click below and give us a rating and help us promote Linux and open source on the mainframe platform. I’ll sign off and I’ll speak to you next time. The post I am Mainframer: Maggie Li appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
19 minutes | 8 months ago
I am a Mainframer: Sebastian Wind
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Sebastian Wind, System Design at DATEV eG. On this podcast, Sebastian discusses his journey with the mainframe, the Open Mainframe Intern Program, becoming an IBM Champion, and where they see the Mainframe going in the future. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/anchor-audio-bank/staging/2020-05-19/8ce5d781369eb58e3c758e9519001d05.m4a Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens, and you’re listening to the I Am A Mainframer podcast from the Open Mainframe Project. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project, and we’re focused on driving the adoption of Linux and open-source on the mainframe platform. I’m joined today by my dog in the background, but also by Sebastian Wind who studied at the University of Leipzig and IBM champion. I’m looking forward to this conversation. Welcome to the podcast, Sebastian. Sebastian Wind: Hey, welcome. Steven Dickens: So, Sebastian, just to help the listeners out, if you could maybe give us a brief introduction and a view into your background, that would really help us out here to get started. Sebastian Wind: Of course, I studied at the University of Leipzig and I was also an intern of the Linux Foundation and I focused on enterprise computing and we also had a real mainframe at our university. So we could play around with the hardware and everything, and that’s what made me enthusiastic about mainframes in general. Steven Dickens: Sebastian, that’s really interesting. Tell us a little bit about your first experience. The University of Leipzig’s a fantastic university that’s worked with us for a number of years. Just give us your sort of first exposure to the mainframe and tell the listeners your logging on to a screen for the first time. Talk us through maybe that experience a little bit. Sebastian Wind: Yes, our professor told us about mainframes in the first year, and I was always curious about those machines that run large banks and stuff like this because I was quite sure that it couldn’t be some computer like the one that I had. It couldn’t be something like this because it always crashed, and that’s what made me interested. And well, the first time when I looked on and I saw the screen, I thought, “This is like it’s a joke or something? It looks weird.” And I didn’t realize that this is it like this is the real thing. That most people work on it and how powerful it actually is. I didn’t realize that. Steven Dickens: So just you’re logging on probably to a 3270 screen, what was that first few moments? Was it really that unusual to what you’d seen? Was it Linux? Was it z/OS? Just maybe tell us a little more. Sebastian Wind: It was z/OS. z/OS, yes. Steven Dickens: So, you were logging on via a 3270 onto the mainframe? How did that kind of [crosstalk 00:02:58]? Sebastian Wind: Well, I was used to very graphical applications and stuff like this, and the better it looked, the more advanced it is. That’s the mindset you have as a student, I guess. And this was like, it was pretty weird and all the controls were pretty weird too, but I managed to learn more about it and now I know most of the utilities. Steven Dickens: And I think a lot of our Mainframe listeners will be aware of the journey you went on, but maybe if you could just explain a little for the maybe people who are listening to this develop mainframe experts, was that a two-hour journey, a two-day journey, a two-week journey, a two-year journey to become proficient on the mainframe? I think that would be interesting to get your perspective, somebody completely fresh to the platform coming on for the first time. Sebastian Wind: Well, I started out with the courses at university and then I read about Master the Mainframe. And this was interesting for me because they claimed this would be like real-world challenges and stuff like this. I wanted to see if everything I’ve learned, is this the real stuff? I wanted to see if this is the real challenge, what they teach me. And I started out to be quite successful and it was first for the German, Austria, Switzerland region two times, and then became a global winner in 2017. So it was basically I guess two years. Steven Dickens: So talk a little bit through that Master the Mainframe. I know a lot of people have come through that program but just give your experience. That’s obviously a big program that IBM runs to get college kids onto the platform, but just maybe elaborate because I know a lot of people listen to this, and then they’re considering whether to apply for that program. So maybe just give us your experience there. Sebastian Wind: Well, for me, Master the Mainframe was very important because I could see where my skills are. Like, can I be competitive with the rest of the new mainframe generation? And the whole experience was quite fun. It’s like a game, a little bit like a game, and you can develop your skills and read about it. Steven Dickens: So maybe let’s get a little bit more current Sebastian. So you’ve come through Leipzig, you’ve come through the Master the Mainframe, talk us through that transition from doing the internship at the [inaudible 00:05:56]. So maybe let’s pause. You mentioned that you did the internship at the Open Mainframe Project. Can you maybe just elaborate on that a little first? Sebastian Wind: Yeah, I applied for the internship and was… How can you say? Elected or something. Well, and then I was on the other side of like the mainframe, the Linux side, and I already knew about Linux of course, but the combination with the Mainframe was very interesting for me and I bought it over a monitoring tool and it was a great experience. I also got to Whittlebury through the program and I could give a short presentation about my internship there. Steven Dickens: So you came through the internship program and then came out to the Guide Share Europe event in Whittlebury Hall in the UK? Sebastian Wind: Yes. Steven Dickens: And how did you find that community? I know that community personally, but how did you find mainframe was in the one place. How did you find that environment? Sebastian Wind: It’s a great community and I’ve met Mark Wilson who’s a great guy and all the other people. So it was a really good trip for me. And through the trip, I also met Wolfram Greis and I joined his European Mainframe Academy and did a trainee course there. So it was awesome. Steven Dickens: So then you’ve come through the University of Leipzig. You’ve done an internship at the Open Mainframe Project. You’ve been to a big community event where there are 500 mainframe people. You’ve kind of established your role in that community and got onto some of the programs. You’ve done Master the Mainframe, talk us through then as you’re moving from being a student into the workplace, how that worked out for you? Sebastian Wind: Well, I saw a lot of Mainframe customers in Germany and also visited them through the European Mainframe Academy because they have the onsite meetings always at mainframe customer sites. So I looked around and I was wondering who’s the best workplace. And then I also met guys from data and they are very innovative, they have always the latest stuff on the mainframe and that’s how I got in. Steven Dickens: So give our listeners a view of what you’re doing from [inaudible 00:08:40] now and what your day to day role looks like and really what your transition from being a student into the workplace has looked like. Sebastian Wind: Well, it was almost seemingly because I did my master thesis at finance informatics in the Db2 Group. So I worked there already and then moved to Nurnberg and giant data and there I have multiple projects. And they are also very interesting because on the one side we have that batch scheduling system for the payrolls, which is z/OS and more like the traditional mainframe workload. And then we also have projects on the Linux side, we try to set up an open build service from SUSE and get our containers maybe on every platform we want. One of those platforms is also the mainframe, of course. Steven Dickens: So it’s interesting you talk about the containers piece. I think that’s becoming a more and more relevant conversation as we see people look to deploy more cloud native applications on the platform. What’s been your experience with that particular realm of technology on the mainframe? Sebastian Wind: Yeah, I think we have pretty much… We try to get the platform in a good position inside the company and that this is one essential thing to get done and that’s maybe also… I hope it will be a huge part of the future of the mainframe platform in our company. Steven Dickens: Sebastian, tell me a little bit about what you’re doing with deploying containerized workloads on the platform, and how you deploy those, how’s that working out for you? Sebastian Wind: Well, at the moment we deploy those containers on x86 hardware and there are no plans yet to get other platforms involved too, but we hope to get the flexibility and to do this in the future. Steven Dickens: Okay. So tell me a little bit about what it means to be an IBM champion. That’s not something we hand out easily. So just maybe give me a perspective of how you got engaged in the program. What that means, what you’re doing to advocate. It would be really good to hear a little bit more so the listeners can understand that program. Sebastian Wind: So the reason I am IBM champion is that I’m very much involved in mainframe education. So one major thing in the mainframe world is that we need new skills and new people to join us. And I’m connected to the universities and create courses and care for their systems and try to teach interested students and also to get them in the mainframe business to give them new opportunities. And therefore we have the Academic Mainframe Consortium, and this is a group of mainframe customers and universities who are engaged in this field and who are helping us with, for example, with mainframe hardware. So we are getting one z12 enterprise-class for Leipzig at the moment from T-Systems and I’m organizing the mainframe swap now and try to install it. Steven Dickens: So thank you for your efforts. I think the community would thank you for… It sounds like you’ve been on that journey, you’ve been the recipient of help from the community it’s managed to help you get a job and build a career. And now you’re trying to pay that back into the community to help others come through. Would that be a good summary of- Sebastian Wind: Yes. Steven Dickens: So Sebastian, I think that’s been fantastic. There are some really interesting points there. One of the other things I always like to ask of the guests on the show is as you look forward still at the early part of your career, where do you see the mainframe three years, five years, maybe you’re lucky to maybe think 10 to 15 years from now, where do you see the business going? Where do you see the technology going and really what gets you excited about? Sebastian Wind: Well, for me as an enthusiast, I would always host my stuff on the mainframe like if I had the cash or something, but the business side in the company, it is tough. We have to position the mainframe in a good way to get a new workload on it. And the competition from other offers is quite hard, and it’s all about to integrate the mainframe inside those heterogeneous IT landscapes, I guess. Steven Dickens: So would you see there’s any particular technologies or things that you’re interested about that you think are going to be coming to the mainframe over the next few years that you’d maybe call out as being particularly interesting? I appreciate that’s a tough question. It’s late on a Friday afternoon for you here in Germany. So I’m asking you the tough- Sebastian Wind: Well, no it’s okay. I think the mainframe still has some advantages already inside it that other platforms cannot offer, at least not in the quality the mainframe can. So I wait for IBM to deliver, I guess. Steven Dickens: So let me maybe ask the question a different way. If you could have one wish for a piece of technology on the mainframe, maybe what would it be? Sebastian Wind: To install directly on the hardware not [inaudible 00:16:22] anymore, but I guess it’s a bit weird, but I would like to have the last 10% of performance again. Steven Dickens: Okay. That’s a good request. So maybe one final thing and you get to ask me a question. What would be your question that you would ask me? Sebastian Wind: Okay. Can you unlock the z12 for Leipzig? It has a bad license on it. Steven Dickens: I can ask and I can go and have that conversation. I’m happy to do that. I was thinking more generally, I’m happy to help with that one, Sebastian, but maybe a more general one that would inform the listeners. I’ll take that one as a specific one as an IBM but I’m happy to help. We do everything we can to support our community. But maybe if you’ve got more general question, you’d ask me? That’s a tough one, right? Sebastian Wind: Yeah. I mostly have very specific questions. Steven Dickens: I think we’re going to end up having a conversation after we finish the podcast. But now, is there anything that you’re interested to know or see that maybe I can help with? Sebastian Wind: Well, I guess, no. I just have specific questions. I would ask like we use Cloud Foundry, can we get a proper port to Linux on Z? Steven Dickens: So that’s an interesting one. A lot of the cloud tooling is an emerging space for us on the platform. So I think, yes, there’s some good work going on in that space. And maybe I can connect you to some people in the community who are doing that work. One of our platinum sponsors agents is SUSE and there’s a gentleman there and SUSE called Mike Friesenegger, Mike’s a fantastic platform advocate. And if you don’t know Mike, he would be somewhere I would direct you. There’s also one of our distinguished engineers from an IBM side who chairs the Technical Advisory Committee, gentlemen called Ingo Averdunk, if you don’t know either of those gentlemen, I’m happy to connect you, Sebastian. And I think you’re certainly asking the right type of question around Cloud Foundry and where we’re going with cloud tooling on the platform. So I can get you connected to both of those guys. Steven Dickens: So Sebastian, this has been a fantastic journey. I think you’re a poster child for how we want to bring new people onto the platform. You’ve come through some of the programs you’ve done the internship from the Open Mainframe Project. You’ve done the academic initiative, Open Mainframe Project at IBM, Master the Mainframe Project that the team does. You’ve gone and built a career in industry and in paying that back. And I think that’s a fantastic story. So I’d like to thank you for joining us on the call today. That’s been really interesting. Sebastian Wind: Yes. Thank you. Steven Dickens: So you’ve been listening to the I Am A Mainframer podcast from the Open Mainframe Project. If you’d like to listen to more episodes like this, please go into the section below click and subscribe takes you a couple of minutes to write a review also. And we’d appreciate those as we try and build a fan base here for the I Am a Mainframe Project. My name’s Steven Dickens. It’s been great chatting to Sebastian today and we’re signing off. We look forward to speaking with you on the next episode. The post I am a Mainframer: Sebastian Wind appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
23 minutes | 10 months ago
I am a Mainframer: Vaughn Marshall
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Vaughn Marshall, Sr Principal Product Manager at Broadcom Inc. On this podcast, Vaugh discusses his journey with the mainframe, Zowe, and where they see the Mainframe going in the future. https://www.openmainframeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2020/03/GMT20200306-200933_Chris-Blum-mp3cut.net_.mp3 Steven Dickens: Hello. My name’s Steven Dickens and you’re joining us for the I Am A Mainframer podcast. I’m joined today by Vaughn Marshall from Broadcom, who’s going to tell us a little bit about his journey on the platform and some of the cool projects he’s working on. So Vaughn, welcome to the show. Vaughn Marshall: Thank you. Steven Dickens: Vaughn, I always start by asking our guests on the show to tell us a little bit about kind of your personal journey. Just introduce yourself, give us a flavor of kind of how you’ve ended up on the platform and really get us orientated so the listeners can get started and start to connect with you and understand your journey. Vaughn Marshall: Sure. So, I would say I have maybe a little bit of an atypical background in the terms of the mainframe platform. I’d say at the very beginning of my career, I was definitely working on mainframes, but it was pretty short-lived. This was probably in the early nineties and at that point in time, everybody was saying mainframes were on their way out. And certainly, it was, everybody was working on mainframes. That was the main thing. But what was becoming really, really prevalent or starting to was open system’s development. And so I actually ended up, through the company I was working with, working on open systems platform when we, we’re working on new technology. And so that was my introduction to the world of mainframe and I didn’t really end up back on the platform until much later. Vaughn Marshall: Probably in I would say the 2010 timeframe. And that’s because some software that I had developed that was part of an application integration platform was acquired by what was CA Technologies now Broadcom. And ultimately that piece of software kind of made it in the CA Endevor product suite, which I am now the product manager for. So, a little bit different, but I certainly have always appreciated the mainframe as a platform that can process a lot of transactions. It’s very powerful and it’s just been a bit of a divergent journey for me to get back to the mainframe. But it’s somewhere where I started my career. Steven Dickens: So maybe let’s pull on that thread a little Vaughn for analysis and maybe dig into what was, I suppose the reentry back into the mainframe space like. I’ve heard people describe that they were surprised about how vibrant and modern the platform was when they’d had time away. Was that your experience and maybe just give us your own perspective. Vaughn Marshall: Yeah, absolutely. So, I wouldn’t say necessarily I was surprised by how vibrant it was, but when I was coming back into the world of mainframe, a lot of effort was being made to modernize the tools that were there for the mainframe. So for me personally, it was actually like a little bit like riding a bike. People who didn’t know me well didn’t know I had started out in mainframe, were very surprised to see that I could navigate a 3270 pretty quickly and efficiently and just thought I was a super fast learner. But definitely, once I got into the space, a lot of the work that I saw going on around me was modernizing the tools and the way people are interacting with the eye to essentially looking at the next generation of mainframe developers. Vaughn Marshall: In terms of the platform itself, it’s always been something that seems to be pretty timely in terms of the technologies and spaces, sorry, the technologies that are being used on the platform. So things like pervasive encryption, container technologies, all these things that are considered pretty much on the cutting edge in the world. But distributed development are still things you encounter in the world of the mainframe. So I guess that was a little surprising. But definitely one thing that struck me was that the tools, at least when I started, were pretty much still 3270 oriented. But that’s changing really quickly. Steven Dickens: And yeah, it’s interesting that you mentioned that obviously one of our projects under the open mainframe project is so easy. So maybe give us your personal perspective of how you see that 3270 to kind of modern interfaces today and maybe speak from the experience system of the Broadcom customers and kind of how you’re seeing them make that transition. Vaughn Marshall: Yeah, there’s a huge amount of interest in Zowe and I certainly am part of that open mainframe project. So definitely got a great feel for that. You know, the way I look at it, it’s actually kind of interesting. It almost is a parallel to what we’ve seen happening in the world of applications, right? So if we look at applications, we’ve seen new technologies come along and really it’s almost like sedimentary rock. There’s just new layers coming on top of new layers and old ones don’t really go away. You just add new ways of interfacing. And if I look at the tools themselves, I’m seeing almost a similar sort of thing happen. Right? Vaughn Marshall: So we’ve got the mainframe tools, which typically if you look at the things people are using on the mainframe, they’ve been there for many, many years. They have processes built up around them. They have all sorts of things that are embedded that make them hard to replace. And so just like when we were looking at modernizing our applications and we were starting to build web applications and now mobile applications where we add layers on top of everything, but it’s very painful to replace the core technologies that are under them. It’s the same thing that seems to be happening in terms of tools. So Zowe is definitely one of those things, right? People are changing the way that they interact with the mainframe. There’re new layers, whether it’s the Zowe desktop or Zowe CLI. There’re new ways of interacting with modern interfaces that kind of opened the mainframe up to that next generation of developers. Steven Dickens: I think the way you’ve just described there with sedimentary rock, it’s a really good analogy that people and the listeners particularly will be able to get their head around of this layering, as you mentioned. Of technology on top of technology. I think I see a really interesting dynamic around people having more success with that approach than a rip and replace. I mean would that, would that be something you’d see from the Broadcom side? Vaughn Marshall: Yeah, 100% it makes no sense. Rip and replace is basically reinventing the wheel over and over again. And I’m not saying that you can’t improve things, but it’s definitely a lot easier to stomach in terms of costs, in terms of risk if you’re not constantly restarting, right? If you’re taking the best of what’s there and maybe changing it to appeal to the next generation or so that you can achieve certain goals or integrations. If you can do that with minimal disruption, that’s the best way forward. That’s the best way forward in my opinion. Steven Dickens: Yeah, I would tend to agree. So, I mean, let’s maybe do a shameless plug for the products that you’re responsible for within, from Broadcom and really just trying to understand when you talk about product manager for the mainframe application development business, kind of what that means. What the cool things you’re working on, maybe what would be of most interest to the listeners. We’ve got a pretty tight crowd of mainframe listeners here, so maybe just give us a view of kind of what’s the cool stuff you’re working on right now? Vaughn Marshall: Certainly so shameless plug, right? So I’m working with CA Endevor and that is for those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it is a, we call it the original DevOps tool. So CA Endevor, actually, if you’ve seen it spelled out, it’s E-N-D-E-V-O-R, and not what people usually use when spelling the word Endevor as into strive forward. But the reason for that it’s an acronym, it’s not a word. Steven Dickens: Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s news to me. I used to work for CA back in the late nineties and I didn’t know that. So you’re going to have to elaborate Vaughn. What does Endevor mean? I’m going to learn something here. Vaughn Marshall: There you go. It stands for the environment for development and operations. Steven Dickens: Environment for development and operations? Okay. Vaughn Marshall: Yes, it sounds pretty close to that buzzword everybody’s saying these days, DevOps. So I like to say, oh yes, DevOps, like everything else, it was invented on the mainframe 30 years ago. But anyway, that’s so you know what we’re trying to do when we talk to customers is really figure out how they can take that investment in mainframe DevOps that they actually have and preserve it and make it relevant in the year 2020. It’s actually if you boil it down to what people have done for many many years and looked at the way people work with our tool Endevor, they’re doing a lot of the same practices that are done with modern DevOps. So for instance, I make a change. It automatically builds, you know, when I package things up, they start promoting through a defined life cycle, which to me is just a pipeline. Vaughn Marshall: The thing that I find is, all of these things are happening, but when you start talking to DevOps center of excellence architects and next-generation developers, the view of what’s happening, the 3270 view becomes something that is a barrier for them to understanding that this is really all just the same thing. So the more that you can interface into the tools they’re more familiar with, the more that they understand that this is something that can fit quite easily into the world of DevOps. So that’s what we’re doing. And you mentioned Zowe, CA Endevor was one of the products that were first out the gate with the Zowe CLI plugin. So Zowe CLI or command-line interface is basically a framework for the mainframe that allows you to essentially interact with mainframe and mainframe products through a command-line interface. Vaughn Marshall: Of course that’s another head-scratcher for us old guys. Cause I remember when we were all getting rid of our command-line interfaces, but they’re making a comeback these days. And of course the reason being, it’s much easier to script a command-line interface than it is a GUI. So basically when we start thinking about DevOps and things like that, we want to think about easy automation and something that runs universally in all sorts of different DevOps tools. So Zowe CLI has been one of the things we’ve done to modernize our interface into Endevor, making it scriptable in all sorts of different DevOps tools. And from there that means you can put basically pipeline views on top of what’s already happening and has been happening in Endevor and still preserve your investment. So that’s one thing we’ve been working on. I could go on. Steven Dickens: It’s interesting that transition, as you mentioned, back to CLI. I remember as I say, I used to work at CA back in the late nineties and it was a move to GUI interfaces and everybody was going to move away from command-line and we seem to be seeing it hover in a sense. What would you put that down to and, I mean you obviously got that level of experience and see that dynamic firsthand. Maybe just you know, for some of our older listeners who’ve seen that transition and that trend or maybe for some of the new listeners and I know we’ve got a community that listens to us that would fit into that space. Maybe just give your perspective on that transition around the command-line. Vaughn Marshall: So it’s a few things, for the most part, I would say number one is when you’re looking at a command-line interface, it’s something that you can script and make your own. So you can make new commands. It’s basically an API that you can also use interactively. So that scriptability and that natural fit into the world of automation is probably the number one reason. But it’s also more than that. If I look at people that are working on Linux or Unix technologies, they’re very comfortable in the world of command-line. And if you’re a developer, once you get good at something, you get very fast at it if you can keep your hands on the keyboard, right? You don’t have to go and reach over to a mouse and click something. Vaughn Marshall: So you see the most productive developers and they’re just whizzing away on their keyboards. And so in that sense a command-line interface is also a very developer-friendly, advanced user interface. I won’t say that maybe they have the intuitiveness of a GUI, but once you know the command that you’re working with, you can issue it really quickly. And for that reason, developers really like command-line interfaces. Not to mention again its familiarity when they’re working on Unix systems through secure shell, it’s all command line. So it just becomes something that they’re very used to. So that next-generation developer is very, very used to using command lines and we’re starting to see a Renaissance or a comeback with command-line interfaces. Steven Dickens: Yeah, I’d agree with that. I mean I see almost a bifurcation. You’ve almost got the low code, no code guys out there who sort of building composable objects into code and that’s happening at the business sort of line of business level layer. And then as you say, you’ve got to renaissance back to the command line for the sort of pure developer so it’s almost, I see those two streams. Would you agree? Would you sort of see the same dynamic? Vaughn Marshall: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. There are definitely people that like to get low level and the command line is probably in their wheelhouse. Steven Dickens: Okay. So I mean let’s pivot maybe a little bit, start to look ahead. Where are you picking up any big trends, you’re picking up kind of feedback as you engage with the Broadcom client base around where they’re seeing the platform as they look ahead. Vaughn Marshall: Yeah, absolutely. So the interesting thing is that is, like I said, when I started my career in mainframe, I was there for a bit. But the big thing that I had heard probably for 20 years was that the platform won’t be here for very long. And you know, I heard that drum get beat over and over and over. Mainframe’s going away, it’s a dinosaur, et cetera. But I’m actually starting to hear very, very different things now. Certainly, there’s probably been certain classes of companies that have got off the mainframe. Those are the guys that aren’t on the platform anymore. But if you look at companies where there’re massive amounts of transaction processing going on still, banks, insurers, governments, those types of things, a lot of them are starting to recommit to the mainframe. So that’s very interesting. And in that sense, in recommitting, they’re also looking at getting that next-generation onboard. Vaughn Marshall: So what I see happening in terms of the future like you’ve said that the outset, the platform itself is pretty vibrant, there are lots of different things. But now what we’re facing is how do we get the next generation of developers involved in, happy to work in the platform and make it their career. And so what I’m predicting and seeing a would be a Renaissance in terms of the tools that are available for the mainframe. I think that type of thing is going to explode as well. You know, if we look at, we’re kind of in a transition period where you’ve got the constituency that that is very, very happy with their 3270 environments and don’t want to necessarily change that, but you’ve also got that next generation of developers that want to use all of the latest and greatest tools. So we’re kind of in that hybrid. So I think it’s going to be what’s going to really change in the platform, it’s going to be the tools that are in use. Steven Dickens: Yeah. And I always ask this question of our guests, if you were to look into a crystal ball and predict the future sort of two, three, maybe four years out, what would you see for the mainframe as a platform in that sort of time horizon? Vaughn Marshall: Yeah, that’s a good question. Well, I think if you walked around the shop, you’re going to probably see a very different crowd of people, a lot younger. I’m actually starting to see that at offices like Share. It’s definitely a lot more younger showing up. And the other thing that’ll be interesting too is whether the mainframe will stay kind of in this silo. I would like to hope that in the next little while there’ll be more of a, it’ll be integrated more into let’s say the regular development areas. So you’d have more full-stack developers where they think about their applications, not so much in terms of platforms in which parts of their applications run on which platforms, but as a holistic thing. Vaughn Marshall: So you know, if I want to make a change to one of my front ends, I’m also equally comfortable and able through the tools to go into the backend and make those sorts of changes as well, rather than having to have these one section of the building where the mainframers live and then there’s everybody else. That’s what I’d like to see happen, and I think I’m starting to see that and I think it will be a bit to get there. But it’s certainly the more and more we train the next generation and make them comfortable in the platform and make the platform more like other platforms, the more that I see that happening. Steven Dickens: Yeah, I’d agree. I’m starting to see that same blurring of the line. It’s more this is the developer and now it’s more independent of the platform. Vaughn Marshall: Yep. And, and funny enough too, what I’m also seeing is it’s not just the newcomers coming in and learning from the old guard, but really also bringing new technologies to the platform. Zowe is a case in point right? That actually in our shop, Zowe CLI was something that was done by one of our teams of developers during one of their innovation sprints, and why they did that just because they wanted it to be able to use some of the tools that they were used to using in their careers. And so they enabled that through a building a CLY for themselves. It wasn’t a product or anything part of the open mainframe at that point in time. It was just that next generation of developers writing tools they wanted to use. Steven Dickens: And that’s for me one of the really interesting trends seeing this platform open up the community we’ve built with the open mainframe project. Really just what was probably the poster child for a closed system sort of 10, 15 years ago has just opened up Linux come into the platform, Java and other sorts of restful APIs come into the platform, opening it up to different developer mindsets. You know, most recently with things like Zowe as you mentioned, and I think that the whole openness of the platform, it is very different from where it was just even a few years ago. Vaughn Marshall: Yep. I would 100% agree and in fact, I think that having an open platform is critical. Not only that and having a community around that is critical to making things prevalent. It’s kind of the old beta versus VHS analogy, right. If you make something closed and proprietary then it’s not going to be as widely adopted. And certainly, I think the mainframe definitely needs to go more in that direction. It needs to be something that anybody can pick up and write code for. I’m not sure if IBM has plans around that, but they should, whether it’s emulators, I think emulated environments, things that make mainframe and mainframe technologies accessible will also make it more pervasive. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Vaughn, is there any of those sort of parting comments before we start to think about wrapping up? Vaughn Marshall: No, I don’t really think I have any, I will say that for me, for the journey, it’s been actually a surprise ending up in, in a mainframe again, but a pleasant one. It’s one thing that I was reminded of as I joined the platform is the passion that the people who work there have for it. So you know, that’s unique when you go to events where you encounter mainframers they’re always a very tight community and that’s actually great. I like that a lot. Steven Dickens: Yeah, I’ve picked that same experience while I was up at share and not this week, the week before and it’s always a tight-knit group. Very sort of keen to talk across vendors, across clients. You certainly feel part that kind of fraternity, that club if you will. And I think that’s, it’s got a different dynamic to it as a space. Vaughn Marshall: Yep. Absolutely. Steven Dickens: So Vaughn, that’s been a fantastic conversation. I think our listeners will have really enjoyed the show. Thank you for joining us. Vaughn Marshall: My pleasure. Steven Dickens: So that was Steven Dickens talking to Vaughn Marshall on the I Am A Mainframer podcast for the open mainframe project. If you liked today’s show, please click and subscribe and there are numerous other shows we can get you plugged into via a subscription. So please hit the subscribe button and come and join us on the I Am a Mainframer show for the open mainframe project. The post I am a Mainframer: Vaughn Marshall appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
26 minutes | a year ago
I am a Mainframer – Rose Sakach
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Jeff Bisti sits down with Rose Sakach. Rose is a Product Manager at Broadcom. Rose tells Jeff about her journey with the mainframe, ZOWE, and the future of the mainframe. https://www.openmainframeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2019/10/iamamainframerrose.mp3 Jeff Bisti: Hi, my name is Jeff Bisti and I am the host of the I Am A Mainframer podcast from the Open Mainframe Project. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project that was put in place to promote the open-source and Linux adoption on top of the mainframe platform. I am joined today by Rose Sakach, a product manager at Broadcom. Looking through your bio here, I see you’ve kind of touched a little bit of everything – application development, operators, CIS prog, product administration, and consulting services. So first I want to thank you so much for coming on the show and I want to hear a little bit about what you’re doing at Broadcom today. Rose Sakach: Hey Jeff, sure. I’m really excited to be here. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I’m a product manager at Broadcom. I support mainframe dev ops and app dev products, and I have to say that my mainframe journey started decades ago in the early 80s when I was bitten by the developer bug in college. And the journey continues as my experience and expertise in the platform has enabled me to achieve professional and personal goals that I never thought possible. Rose Sakach: And that kind of relates to what I do today. I never ever thought I’d play a role in setting vision and strategy for many of the products I used as a developer way back when. Product management for me, it’s a dream. For someone like me who has a passion to help solve customer problems with technology, that’s what we do, and there’s so much involved in it. There’s technical, there’s operational, there’s fundamental business knowledge that you need to know, and there’s a whole side of it that involves relationships and relationship skills. Jeff Bisti: And you’ve seen it from all the angles it sounds like. Rose Sakach: Yeah. I’ve had the good fortune to absolutely see it from all angles. Jeff Bisti: So being a developer is what got you into it in general, and is that what brought you specifically to the mainframe, or just kind of introduced you to IT? Rose Sakach: Yeah. Actually all things. I can give you a little bit of history on how I got into it. Jeff Bisti: Yeah, please. Rose Sakach: Okay. So I’m blessed to be the first person in my family to attend college and I struggled a bit when it came time to decide on a major. So the guiding principle at the time was to determine what could I study that would be in really high demand? Because I really needed to increase my probability to get a job when I graduated. I had a school loan I had to pay for. Rose Sakach: But for me, in the mid-80s, the IT industry was really taking off and almost all of the companies out there were looking to build up their internal staff of programmers. Everybody had an IT staff at the time, and that, paired with the fact that I knew that there was a need for developers, it helped me make my decision to add computer science to my studies. Unfortunately, at the time, computer science wasn’t even a major, so I had to minor in computer science. I majored in math, but by the time I graduated, I graduated with a double major because, by the time I graduated, computer science was in fact offered as a major at school. Jeff Bisti: Well, I was going to say- Rose Sakach: Go ahead Jeff Bisti: Some of the people that I work with here at IBM in Poughkeepsie, the time when they got into the industry, there was no CS degree, so a lot of them have interesting backgrounds in things like psychology and mathematics, and I think that kind of a breadth of experience and passions coming into it really gives us a varied landscape of people. Rose Sakach: Yeah, absolutely. That was not uncommon for me, as well. I sat beside folks who majored in, as you said, things like psychology and chemistry. That wasn’t common at all, but the field was really booming at the time and there were a lot of people that were trying to make the transition to a career that they felt would give them the ability to really move forward. Rose Sakach: And it was absolutely the case for me. When I started my first job at a local bank, they took us straight out of school. They hired groups of grads at a time and put us through accelerated courses, essentially leveraging what we learned in school and helping us to apply it to their landscapes so that we could become pretty effective pretty quickly. And needless to say, having a COBOL background and having the ability to program in COBOL was definitely a must back then, and it still is today. That’s one of the benefits of the mainframe. Rose Sakach: But, if you recall, back then, there was, and I can tell you this now, that Y2K, I was actually one of the developers who could have contributed to a Y2K problem, not accounting for a four-digit year and some of my COBOL programs. But I actually helped to resolve it on the other side of that, as well. So I worked in IT as a systems programmer through the Y2K challenge. Jeff Bisti: Oh, wow. And that always strikes me today when I see people writing things down with a two-digit a year thing. I’m like, “Put four digits just in case. We need to save the world 8,000 years from now.” Rose Sakach: Yeah, yeah. There certainly was a lot of investment around the possibility of what could go wrong with accounting for the full four digits of the year back then, for sure. Jeff Bisti: Coming from a programmer background that you do, how do you see things going into the modern dev ops mechanism paradigm that we’re going into today? Where programming used to be, you open up the dataset, you make your edits, and then physically move the file, maybe. And today there’s a whole development pipeline. You get all sorts of people involved. How do you see that changing today? Rose Sakach: Yeah, it’s interesting. We have a whole wave of young engineers coming on board at Broadcom and the manner in which they approached their job is completely different than the manner in which I had approached my job when started I decades ago. And it really is all about finding ways to do something automatically as opposed to manually, they have access to a whole array of open-source products and tooling that I did not have access to. Rose Sakach: When I started my job in the financial industry, we had a specific set of approved tooling that we could use, and that was the only tooling we could use. In fact, if you wanted to use something else, you had to have it approved through special process and procurement. Rose Sakach: Today, engineers and developers have the ability to access, like I said, anything in the open-source world, and it’s all about automating not so much the coding part of it, but testing and deployment and promoting all the way up to production is very much an automated process, and it’s very much a build it according to what’s most comfortable to you so that you can be most efficient and effective. So I think, in a sense, the IT world has turned itself more towards ensuring that developers and engineers are very comfortable and competent in their environment. Jeff Bisti: And I’ve seen a lot of news lately about how Broadcom is getting involved with the Zowe Project, and that’s obviously a big collaborative effort. Have you been personally involved with that at all? Rose Sakach: I have, more recently. I was not involved when Zowe was first introduced in August of 2018, obviously, I was involved because I was a part of Broadcom, and Broadcom is one of the primary contributors to several of the components associated with Zowe. Rose Sakach: Now, I’m very proud and happy to say that I product manage the Zowe CLI component. But I have to say that when Zowe was announced and the announcement happened at one of the very large mainframe conferences called SHARE, I was never more elated or more proud to be a mainframer. Rose Sakach: This is, in my opinion, a very historical time for anyone in the mainframe. We’re at this crossroads where we’re turning over the reins of the mainframe to a new generation of mainframers and, at the same time, we’re sort of changing the paradigm on how people perceive the mainframe because it’s sort of been known as a very closed and somewhat ambiguous platform. Now, with Zowe, we’re opening it up and, essentially, any vendor, any person, anyone interested in contributing to this framework can do so and can be a mainframer. Jeff Bisti: Yeah. And what’s kind of interesting is that the people that are joining on as new mainframers right now, they have so many more options for what areas they’re going to get into, what they’re going to excel in, where they’re going to make the deep part of their broad T experience, and they’re going to be learning it in a way that’s fundamentally different than previous generations have. And like you said, the collaboration model and the tools available are completely different. So it’s such an important time right now because this all has to work. Rose Sakach: Absolutely does. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t. I think that’s really a fundamental benefit that Zowe brings to the mainframe world. In the past, as I said, many of us were restricted to using tools that were approved and tools that were unique, if you will, to the platform. Zowe, that paradigm, opens it up and gives folks the ability to use tools that they’re familiar with, tools that they’re comfortable with, and bring it to the mainframe. Jeff Bisti: Now, I’ve heard a lot of people like to focus on the GUI aspects of Zowe, but you mentioned that you work on the CLI aspect of it. Can you talk a little bit about that, as well? Rose Sakach: Yeah. So command-line interface, right? Jeff Bisti: Mm-hmm. Rose Sakach: Initially, when we started introducing and interacting with customers to obtain their feedback on the command line interface, traditional mainframers, folks that have been working with mainframe for most of their lives, would look at that and be somewhat confused over why would a mainframe person want to go back to using what people refer to as a DOS prompt when they’re interacting with the mainframe when we have a UI that we’ve been using called ISPF for years? Rose Sakach: And from that angle, it made sense, but what they weren’t realizing and what they didn’t understand is that the power behind a command-line interface is the ability to utilize it in the form of scripts that can be translated into automation on any level of interaction and activity within the mainframe. And as they became more and more aware of that capability, the mindset started to shift. Jeff Bisti: Yeah. Especially if you go into a room full of programmers, you’re going to see a bunch of monitors filled with a bunch of text and that’s kind of the way that a lot of the mainframe programmers like it, too. That’s just the easiest, fastest, most clear way of getting information. So the idea of being able to treat the mainframe platform as an object-oriented environment, it just makes sense. And the most compelling demos I’ve seen have been based around just those raw features and power that you get from that. So it’s great to hear about that. Jeff Bisti: There’s a lot of people who think that the mainframe is has been static and it’s their fault for not really paying attention. The mainframe is just constantly evolving and the big winners in the mainframe world are going to be the ones that identify and latch on to those areas where things are evolving the fastest. What is your insight on what people should be paying attention to right now to most accelerate their business and capabilities? Rose Sakach: Well, honestly, my feeling with mainframe for many years now has been that it sort of doesn’t get a lot of attention because it works, and the mainframe staff and the folks who support the mainframe are just super expert in their space and the mainframe sort of just hums along. So there’s no need to have attention to something that’s working perfectly and doing the job that it’s tasked to do. Rose Sakach: But when I think about it, and I think about what would be, from my perspective, the challenge associated with the mainframe isn’t more about how best it can be leveraged or whether or not it’s being leveraged or whether or not it’s maturing along with the rest of IT. It absolutely is. The challenge, I think, is going to be more directed at whether or not, and how, organizations are going to support the actual transformation that has to happen culturally, and from a management perspective, to continue to support it so that it continues to run sort of in the background seamlessly doing the job that it’s always done so well. Jeff Bisti: You’re echoing something that we just, I just recorded a podcast prior to this and that was something that came up, as well, is once you solve the technical problems then it’s time to solve the cultural problems. Rose Sakach: Yeah. And it’s interesting because, for many, many years, I think a lot of mainframers felt that the manner in which the mainframe was maintained and the manner in which the way mainframe software had migrated its way from test to deployment would mandate how all the other platforms behaved. And what’s actually happening is just the opposite. The processes and the procedures that are associated with mobile Cloud and distributed development, essentially where dev-ops was born and continuous delivery was born, those processes are actually the ones that are mandating and dictating how the mainframe should behave and how mainframe software should be delivered. Jeff Bisti: Yeah, absolutely. And tooling is one thing. People’s familiarity and skills, that’s going to play a big part, as well. I kind of want to go back to Zowe just a little bit. Rose Sakach: Sure. Jeff Bisti: Because one of the big fears is that people are just going to learn the Zowe way and they’re not really going to know what’s happening behind the scenes. In your work with the CLI team and Zowe in general, is that a concern that you have? Rose Sakach: Not really because Zowe essentially is a framework on which all other things mainframe can be built, and hopefully will be built. I know there are mainframe products that are out in the market that are running, doing the jobs that they do, whether they’re products that perform software change management or products that perform debug, file manipulation, what have you, UI. All Zowe’s doing, really, is changing the manner in which those types of activities are performed and it’s allowing the way, I guess it’s allowing the more modern developer, the folks that have experience in other platforms, to manage and work with the mainframe in the same way. Jeff Bisti: Yeah. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I don’t want to shift gears again a little bit, but you have interesting pathway through your career, getting started in IT as a woman. I just have to ask were there challenges there, or how has your career kind of been influenced by that? Rose Sakach: It’s interesting. I never believed in singling myself out or anyone else on any level at all, and I never felt one way or another that I had an advantage or a disadvantage. As a woman, if I were to give someone advice on getting started in IT, or any other area that may be challenging from one aspect or another, I’d say if you have a passion for something, I had a passion for technology. I didn’t realize I would have a passion for technology until I took my first programming course in college, but if you have a passion for that and you’re interested in being part of an amazing transformation, just stick with it, seek out opportunities. In this case, I would say seek out mainframe opportunities and learn all you can about the platform. Do the best you can and the opportunities will find you. Jeff Bisti: Yeah. that’s great advice. It’s absolutely a very interesting time. I have just seen the change cycles from, on the Z side of things, ramp up from years to months. And things go from, “Wouldn’t it be cool if,” to, “This thing is ready to test,” to, “This is ready for customers,” in such a short amount of times now. And it’s so exciting to be here right now, I think. Rose Sakach: Yeah, it absolutely is. And like I said, it’s absolutely amazing to see that… people, in general, have become so accommodating to technology, and I guess it’s because we live with technology every day in ways that we never thought possible, having the power of so much in our phones, for example, the ability to the travel anywhere and have GPS send us directions to where we need to go. Rose Sakach: And I think, yeah, having that technology and having the ability to adjust to an updated app, for example, every couple of days has extended itself into the world of mainframe, where that world would not be able to accept a change more than once a year at one point in time. Jeff Bisti: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Along those lines, is there anything that you’re really looking forward to on the mainframe, or just IT in general? Rose Sakach: Yeah. I’m really looking forward to enterprises as a whole marrying the worlds much more so than they do today. And again, I think the whole point with Zowe is to enable that in a way that was never possible before. So when I say “marry the worlds,” meaning it is possible to accept that application change in the form of mobile or Cloud very quickly. Rose Sakach: I see that happening in the mainframe space, as well, and I think it’s going to happen sooner than anyone can imagine, provided, as I said, that culturally and managerially, we’re ready and willing and able to accept the changes that are coming down in support of technologies that would allow that to happen. I think Zowe’s a key player there and I think all of the supporting vendors are key players there, and I think the market’s going to demand it. Jeff Bisti: That’s fantastic. And it’s good to hear that you’re fully behind Zowe and that you’re leading the CLI efforts. I really can’t wait to see what comes down the pipe from you guys. Rose Sakach: Us and the world, right? It’s open. Jeff Bisti: And everybody. Yes, that’s the whole point, I guess. Rose Sakach: That’s the beauty of it. Yeah. We’re all making history. Jeff Bisti: We really are. Rose, I want to say thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. I’ve had a whole lot of fun and I hope the listeners are enjoying my tones, me sitting in for Steve. But I want to thank you again so much for being here. This has been great. Any social media handles that we should have put out there for people to follow you, or contact you? Rose Sakach: Social media handles. I am at LinkedIn under Rose Sakach, and Twitter @RASakach. Jeff Bisti: Great. Make sure you give her a follow. But, until next time, my name is Jeff Bisti and you’ve been listening to the I Am A Mainframer podcast from the Open Mainframe Project. Please click and subscribe if you haven’t already, and tell your friends on social media platforms, and we’ll be with you again soon. The post I am a Mainframer – Rose Sakach appeared first on Open Mainframe Project.
28 minutes | a year ago
I am a Mainframer – Jeanne Glass
In today’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, Steven Dickens sits down with Jeanne Glass. Jeanne is the CEO at VirtualZ Computing. Jeanne tells Steven about her journey with the mainframe, advice for people starting on their career path, and the future of the mainframe. https://www.openmainframeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2019/09/GMT20190830-190330_I-am-a-Mai-1-mp3cut.net_.mp3 Steven Dickens: Hi. My name is Steven Dickens, and I’m the host of the I’m A Mainframer podcast from the Open Mainframe Project. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project that was put in place to promote the open-source and Linux adoption, on top of the mainframe platform. I’m joined today by my hopefully exciting guest, I think she’s going to be a rock star on this podcast, Jeanne Glass. Hi Jeanne, welcome to the podcast. Jeanne Glass: Hi Steven. Thank you for including us in your series. We’re thrilled to be part of the I Am A Mainframer podcast. Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Jeanne, we normally start these by just getting you to introduce yourself, let the listeners get a view of who you are and the organization you represent. So if you could just get us away, that would be fantastic. Jeanne Glass: Sure. Thank you, Steven. I’m founder and CEO at VirtualZ Computing, and day to day I work with our team of senior executives, many who are well known in mainframe computing like Vince Ray and Mark Holmes, both world-renowned experts in the mainframe industry through our time working together at CA Technologies. We reconnected about 18 months ago, co-founded VirtualZ and we’re working to create new ways to reduce mainframe software license fees in unique ways, primarily through automation and then for the first time, enabling true mainframe cloud computing and mainframe software as a service. So we’re really excited about what we’re doing. Steven Dickens: Wow. So there are enough topics for me to go through for probably three or four hours worth of podcasting, so you’re giving me a lot of ammunition. Let’s just start. Obviously the mainframe has been around for a long time, a lot of adoption out there in the marketplace. Just maybe spend a couple of minutes talking me through, what it means to start a brand new organization in this space. Obviously there’s a lot of organizations that have been in this space for decades, but you’re kind of at that bleeding edge running a new innovative startup, from what I’ve gathered from the previous conversations. Just really keen to get that view and let the listeners hear a little of your story. Jeanne Glass: Thank you. That’s actually been one of the most interesting aspects of starting VirtualZ. There’s two things that I’ve really bubbled up as unique about our business, in addition to the technology itself. One is we really announced our company and our product at SHARE in Phoenix, in March. At that conference, I didn’t realize that we would stand out the way that we did, because we were really the first new entrant as a mainframe ISV in a long time, and I didn’t have that perspective coming into and creating VirtualZ. The second thing I learned, not realizing this as I was creating VirtualZ either, is that we are the first women-owned mainframe ISV in history since the platform was introduced in the 1960s. Jeanne Glass: So we received a lot of recognition. One is a women-owned business. IBM has been very supportive of us, as a new women-owned technology company. And then in particular, the first and only in the mainframe space. And then also just people are excited to see a new company innovating in the mainframe software space, which is very exciting for us. We’re innovating in a way that we believe is going to create a shift in how mainframe software is licensed, by enabling customers to license mainframe software as a service for the first time. So it’s been really [crosstalk] eye-opening for us. Steven Dickens: Yeah, I can imagine. I’m particularly interested in this women-owned business piece. As a father of four daughters, I’m really tuned into this as my daughter’s approach to the workplace. Can you really expand on that for our listeners, and really what that means to be a woman-owned business? What that means, and what that recognition meant. Jeanne Glass: The recognition practically has meant a lot of awareness and marketing. IBM featured us in Terminal Talks with Frank De Gilio and Jeff Bisti, and in IBM Systems Magazine and their May/June, and then again the July/August issue. Just a lot of sponsorship and promotion of VirtualZ as a women-owned business. VirtualZ as a women-owned business was foundational to the company. We have seven owners, three are women, four are male. And that means that the male owners need to be supportive of VirtualZ as a women-owned business because there are certain sacrifices, we have to have majority ownership, decision making. There’s a lot of processes to maintain a women-owned business and it’s beneficial to our customers because they have certain targets that they have to achieve for diverse spending. So not only will VirtualZ help customers reduce their core mainframe software license fees, but it also will help them achieve their corporate objectives. Jeanne Glass: It’s also important because a lot of the challenge in the mainframe goes back to the skills gap, and young people and women are an untapped resource to help promote and grow the mainframe. And so we’ve been doing a lot of work on women in IT at conferences like SHARE and others, to bring more attention to the mainframe at large, through tapping into young people and women. So we think it’s very important at large just in the world, but also in particular in the mainframe space, to create awareness around women and young people in the mainframe, and we’re working to do our part. We just sponsored, for example, women in IT breakfast at SHARE in Pittsburgh. I spoke on a panel on women in IT at SHARE at Pittsburgh, and we’ll continue to support and do our part. Jeanne Glass: What I’ve also learned, and why I think it’s important to create awareness about women in the mainframe and women in IT at large is, through the process of founding VirtualZ, I’ve been surprised at some of the data. So one example that I recently learned is venture capital. Today only 2% goes towards women-owned businesses, and of the 2% that is invested with women, non-women owned businesses receive around a million dollars in investment, and women-owned businesses receive about $280,000 in investment and yet women-owned businesses outperform by 2%. So there’s a much bigger gap than I realized, and that has come to light as part of starting VirtualZ as well. Steven Dickens: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I wasn’t aware of those statistics and I’m alarmed by them, and I’ll certainly be following up to dig in with you and get more details on that just for my personal edification, but I think that’s something we all need to be aware of. I know we’re aware of it as an Open Mainframe Project. We talk about it actively about board representation, and how we are looking to diversify our structures and being more inclusive. It was just in our recent press release, and I was talking to some of the press at Open Source Summit, North America last week. Steven Dickens: That was one of the key features of our press pack and our press package. So I think, I’m glad to see that you’re out there pushing on those boundaries as we are as a project. I think there’s more we can all do in that space, and as I say, as a father of four daughters, I’m trying to prime the pump so that when they enter the workplace instead of seven or eight years time, it’s a different landscape out there, and certainly we’re not still talking about some of these issues. Jeanne Glass: That’s right. Thank you for that. Steven Dickens: So Jeanne, as we go from talking about VirtualZ. As we transition from talking a little bit about you and your role at the company, and what you’re doing as an organization, this is the I Am A Mainframer podcast. I always like to try and get behind and get the perspective of your personal journey. So if you can just maybe expand and give the listeners how you’ve gone from maybe where a bunch of them are looking to come out of college and looking to build their own career, right through to some of our other listeners who are in senior leadership positions. So it was interesting for me, and I think listeners do understand your journey. So if you could give us an insight there. Jeanne Glass: Sure. From an educational perspective, I have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, which at the time was primarily a COBOL programming degree. And then went on to earn my master’s degree in international management, but I ended up in computing really at the prompting of my mom, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was two years into college and still undecided and she told me, “Now just take some computer courses because no matter what you do, you’re going to require those skills.” And it turned out to be a blessing because I’ve really found my path. I would never have imagined that I would have any skills in COBOL programming, but it turned out I was good at COBOL programming. Jeanne Glass: Two teaching assistants at the university … I’m sorry, two professors at the university that I attended, asked me to become their teaching assistant and the CIO at the university hired me as his staff assistant. So I was able to gather real-world work experience and teaching experience, while I was getting my degree a
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