The Buzz

Oct 07, 2013

Ideas Needed for #nextpowerapp Contest

By Evelyn Hoover

The IBM Systems Magazine and EXTRA enewsletter readers are smart folks full of good ideas. We are looking for those good ideas for a contest we are co-sponsoring with the IBM Linux on Power team.

The Next Power App concept is simple and open to everyone (except IBM and MSP Communications employees). Tweet your idea for the #nextpowerapp using the hashtag and be entered into a drawing for a tablet of your choice (valued at up to $500). So basically you write 140 characters with our hashtag and you could win a tablet. Simple, right?

And if you don’t have Twitter, we’ve got you covered there too. We set up a #nextpowerapp Web page with a button you can click on to fill out a form with 140 characters. Those ideas will be tweeted out via our @LinuxIBMMag Twitter account (feel free to follow us there too).

Need some examples of what we’re looking for? Here you go: "Analyze what's in my refrigerator and give me a good recipe to make #nextpowerapp" or "Regulate traffic so I never have to wait at a light again #nextpowerapp".

Once the contest closes Oct. 31, Linux subject matter experts will select the top ideas. This final cut from the judges will be highlighted on the IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Facebook page. The entire community will get an opportunity to vote on the FINAL and WINNING entry. The person with the winning entry wins the tablet. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the opportunity to vote, and we’ll also be communicating via Twitter.

So come on readers, submit your ideas. It doesn’t take long and you could win a tablet.

Aug 27, 2013

IBM zBC12 Takes Center Stage at SHARE in Boston

By Mike Westholder

Just weeks after IBM announced the new zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12) and the zEnterprise EC12 GA2 as well as many other enhancements to System z technologies, the latest addition to the mainframe line was the star of SHARE in Boston. The zBC12 was the centerpiece of keynotes, technical sessions and the expo hall, generating considerable buzz around the event Aug. 11-16 at Hynes Convention Center.

“Even some of our hands-on lab sessions use the actual machine that’s running on the trade show floor,” noted SHARE President Brian Peterson. Being the first place to learn about and get firsthand access to the latest and greatest IBM technology is nothing new for SHARE, however. It’s one of the many benefits its members and conference attendees enjoy, he said.

Offering unique insights into the zBC12 were co-presenters Greg Lotko, IBM vice president and business line executive, System z, and Kevin Barber, associate director of the Medication Management Center at the College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona. In their keynote, Barber discussed an analytics application his organization developed to help pharmacists and doctors be more effective in providing medications to their patients.

Initially, Barber ran the application on an Intel technology-based server but as users of his solution grew exponentially, he had to move it to a more scalable, robust environment, Peterson recounted. As the number of customers exploded, Barber shifted from platform to platform, eventually moving to the zBC12, which could meet capacity demands now and into the future, at an approachable price point. The ability to start at a modest entry point and scale extremely high to meet growing business demand, without changing the architecture, is extremely attractive.

“It’s one of those stories where it’s great to a have customer proof point to make real,” Peterson said. “That’s what makes it compelling.” 

Those types of stories, offered in sessions or personal conversations, are what make conferences like SHARE so valuable, he added. “There’s nothing like talking to someone face to face, in a hallway or over coffee or in a session. I hear story after story of people who have talked to someone at SHARE and was able to go back to their work and solve a problem.”

Peterson, himself, noted one case where he saved the company he worked for hundreds of thousands of dollars based on alternative approaches he learned engaging with someone at a SHARE conference. “That’s one of the drivers for many people--tangible results they can bring back to their organizations. If you watch people here, you see them talking to each other, engaged.”

And there were many people to see at SHARE in Boston, he noted. “I believe we’re seeing the largest attendance in the last three years.” He attributed the attendance numbers to the recent IBM announcement and improvements in the economy. “Not only do we have more people involved face to face, we have more participating with newer ways like SHARE Live—all to the good,” Peterson noted. Offered for the past three or four years, SHARE Live allows subscribers to view select sessions remotely via as they happen or after the fact (for about six months). “It’s a way for those who can’t travel to share in the conference experience and get premium content,” he added.

 In addition to the larger crowd, its makeup appears to be changing as well, Peterson noted. Over the past few years, generally, the attendees are younger. “One of the most optimistic things I’ve observed—it’s very much of mix,” he said. “I think people who come to our events get a lot out of it. We’re picking up new people. The tenor is changing a bit; it’s a little younger, which brings in new perspectives.”

“There’s an extraordinary sense of community with SHARE,” Peterson said. “All of these amazing individuals do the tangible work of putting up the next show and moving the industry forward through user input. They do all of that and have been since SHARE started in 1955.”

Next up, those volunteers will be preparing for the next SHARE conference to be held March 9-14, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

Aug 06, 2013

Countdown to 50

By Mike Westholder

 Like a bullet train hurtling forward through space, the IBM mainframe is an unstoppable and unprecedented force in IT—quickly approaching its 50th anniversary milestone. And just as a bullet train bears little resemblance to the first steam-engine locomotive, today’s zEnterprise EC12 has advanced far beyond the System/360—the first mainframe with a compatible, upgradable architecture—which IBM announced to the world on April 7, 1964. Similarly, while the steam engine helped usher in the Industrial Age, the mainframe ushered in the Computer Age. 

To mark nearly 50 years of computing innovation, IBM Systems Magazine has launched a new site— A sort of historical and social gathering place, built around next years’ milestone, the site offers the “mainframe generation” a chance to share their memories or thoughts, through multiple media:

  • Write a post recounting your first mainframe job—whether you started 30 years ago or 30 days ago
  • Upload a video about what’s made mainframe a lasting, one-of-a-kind computing icon
  • Or submit an audio podcast recounting your favorite mainframe-related anecdote 

Some of the audio, video and written contributions may be used in future print or online features as well. So please help us mark this unprecedented computing milestone, and be part of history in the making.




Jun 28, 2013

IBM Systems Magazine Launches its First iPad App

By Evelyn Hoover

With the redesign of IBM Systems Magazine completed, the editorial and design teams, which are always looking for a new challenge, set their sights on our next big venture—the IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition app for iPad.

The magazine staff has been monitoring the growth of visits to the magazine’s website and other digital products to determine when we should launch an iPad app. That traffic has reached a tipping point, hence our launch today of our new iPad app for the Power Systems edition readers. An Android version of the app is also being considered for readers who want to consume the magazine’s content on an Android tablet. You can download the app and read the July issue of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.

Starting with the July issue, readers of the Power Systems edition will be able to experience the magazine in an iPad optimized app with interactive features. Currently, magazine content is available in print and digital formats. Exclusive technical content is also available on the magazine’s website. The recently launched iPad app provides yet another content format for readers who are increasingly adopting tablets as a way to consume information.

Each month, the iPad app will bring information on the world of IBM technology. Current and new readers will enjoy the convenience the app provides along with enhancements such as interactive features, audio, video and animations. We're excited about all of the bells and whistles that we'll be introducing in the app, but as always, we don't want form to win out over function so the great content you have come to expect will continue to be delivered in a new format. As always, that content includes:

•    Thought leadership from IBMers and other industry leaders
•    The latest IBM technology announcements
•    In-depth customer case studies
•    Hands-on solutions to IT challenges

Mainframe readers don't despair, an iPad app for the bimonthly IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe edition launches in September.

Once you’ve downloaded it, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment or sending me an email


Jun 21, 2013

Sharing the Cake

By Tami Deedrick


The day has finally arrived. We’ve been working on celebrating the IBM i 25th birthday for several months. We worked with IBM to create the 25 icons for the vignettes, planned our June issue with a special cover story and some memories, helped trickle out the 25 vignettes on our blog sites, shot video at COMMON and set up a commemorative website.

The website has our special June cover story with thoughts from IBM, business partners and customers and some of their favorite memories. It also has all 25 of the vignettes and the business partner remembrances. Nearly finished and hopefully up when you take a look are three videos we shot at COMMON on the community, business and technology of IBM i at 25. I hope you enjoy all the components!

IBM has been rolling out special campaigns too. It’s IBMi25 Facebook page has been a hit with the community, which has jumped on the bandwagon with sharing its memories too. It’s also just recently released a whitepaper of all of the vignettes and a really cool commemorative poster.

I’m guessing the IBM i community has been all over it, eating it up like a ravenous lion. We love this kind of attention, don’t we?

Now I’m a “newcomer” with only seven years in the IBM i world. I certainly can’t compete with the lifers that some of you are. However, you’d have to be blind or a complete outsider not to know that our community has always been a huge part of IBM i and its success. As the operating system celebrates 25 years, I think much of the credit for its longevity is its devoted and passionate user community.

So just to share the sweetness, here’s a roundup of some IBM i 25 goodies for you to enjoy. Consider it the cake. Happy birthday, IBM i!

IBM Systems Mag IBM i 25 website

IBM i 25 Facebook page

IBM i 25 vignettes whitepaper

IBM i 25 commemorative poster