New or old, number-crunching apps draw on big iron's power

Big data is giving a new lease of life to the mainframe, and companies like Syncsort are providing the tools to make big tin ready for big data.

When it comes to crunching through exabytes of data the chances are that you will use a mainframe computer to do it. Where once mainframe data processing was just about pushing through millions of database transactions quickly or processing thousands of payroll cheques, today it can just as easily be about very large scale data or program modelling and other complex tasks.

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That is one of the reasons why, according to Compuware's recent survey of mainframe use, 78 percent of CIOs said that they still considered the mainframe to have a crucial role in digital transformation.

One of the key components of the mainframe success is the range of companies that support it like, for example, Syncsort.

Syncsort's mainframe software is intended to help companies offload inefficient legacy data workloads and then optimise them.

Last year, the company announced that it was teaming up with the big data company Splunk, with the aim of using its software to enable the visualisation, correlation and analysis of streams of data generated from the mainframe.

Also, last autumn, Syncsort launched ZPSaver Suite, with specialised utilities that help customers offload Copy and SMS Compression work to IBM zIIP processors. IBM zSystem z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) is a special purpose processor that lets system managers off-load some specific DB2 tasks from the CPU. This speed ups some processing and it has proved highly successful with the result that many other tasks have been similarly off-loaded.

Now, Syncsort has added the ability to offload resource intensive Sort processing workloads to zIIP, further speeding performance and generating savings, the company says.

"The release of the ZPSaver Suite demonstrates our commitment to continually look for ways to help our customers fully leverage the tremendous strengths of the IBMz and z13, especially zIIP processors and advanced levels of cache design," said Harvey Tessler, founder and general manager for mainframe at Syncsort.

According to Tessler, Syncsort is seeing high customer demand for its Ironstream product for providing real-time, operational insights for Splunk.

Tessler: Mainframe still very much in demand Photo: Syncsort

Ironstream lets customers push mainframe data into Splunk environments, "in real-time for advanced analysis of operational health, without disrupting or adding costs to the mainframe operating environment", said Tessler.

Syncsort will be announcing new capabilities for Ironstream next month, he said.

As one of the co-founders of Syncsort, Tessler goes back a long way with the company - all the way back to the original decision in 1969 for IBM to unbundle its software and services businesses.

Tessler was one of the four founders of Syncsort who, immediately saw the opportunity to exploit the situation and build up their own business building software to run on IBM's mainframes.

According to the privately-held company, its software is deployed in some 12,000 sites in 70 different countries.

Further Reading:

Ubuntu Linux is coming to IBM mainframes

LinuxONE: IBM's new Linux mainframes

Are affordable mainframes the future of virtualization?

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