With over a century of innovation, IBM has led some of the greatest technological advancements in computing history. This tradition continues today with Big Blue’s ambitious efforts in quantum computing. And with its pending acquisition of Red Hat, IBM is positioning itself to be the premier enterprise IT provider.
IBM last year merged several of its technical conferences, bringing the full force of Big Blue under one figurative roof with IBM Think, which takes place February 12-15 in San Francisco. Well established as a hub of tech innovation, San Francisco also happens to be the headquarters of AppDynamics. So we’re very excited to participate in this major tech event in our own backyard.
On and Off the Mainframe
IBM has been a prominent big iron vendor since the heyday of the mainframe. (Tech historians and old-timers will no doubt recall IBM and the Seven Dwarfs and the BUNCH acronym.) We mustn’t forget, however, that the mainframe is far from dead—it processes 90% of global credit card transactions, more than 30 billion transactions per day. And mainframes are essential to modern airlines, whose real-time systems couldn’t function without big iron’s staggering transaction rates.
Mainframes remain very relevant due to their stability and scale. But for us to build artificial intelligence into applications with greater ease, these systems must be augmented with recent innovations such as modern cloud services. Looking to the next generation of computing, I’m thrilled to learn more about the newest quantum computer advances at IBM Think.
Soup to Nuts with IBM
Very few vendors have the depth and breadth of IBM, which no doubt will extend further with the Red Hat acquisition. (Amazon Web Services is catching up, though, with AWS moving aggressively to cannibalize the development stack for builders.) A user journey today could easily cut across multiple IBM technologies. For example, when I go Weather.com (an IBM company) to check the San Francisco forecast, the following flow could occur:
- Request leaves my ThinkPad (Lenovo, yes, but formerly IBM).
- Web request travels the public internet via the IBM Content Delivery Network (CDN).
- The IBM CDN directs the request to an IBM Cloud load balancer, and then to an endpoint.
- A Red Hat OpenShift cluster is hosted on an IBM Cloud RHEL Instance.
- OpenShift directs the request to the appropriate JBoss Application Server and AMQ containers, powered by OpenJDK, to start formulating a response.
- As the response is formulated, my experience on Weather.com is enriched with other marketing data going through a 3Scale API Gateway or a Fuse Integration Engine.
- The actual weather data could potentially be housed on a z/OS mainframe persisting on a DB2 database, which is exposed via a CICS.
- Page content starts to appear on my screen and is rendered via StrongLoop, Carbon Design and other web frameworks.
Wow, my request and response almost never left the IBM ecosystem. And then there’s the developer experience, with developer and DevOps tooling provided by IBM and Red Hat, such as Urbancode and Ansible, respectively. The example above shows the good amount of choice in both the IBM and Red Hat stacks. And there are steps where the two firms could have swapped places, too.
Too Many Choices Bring Fog Delays
Building systems is never an easy task. And with the massive scale required today, the fog of system development is a real problem. The good news is that software engineers today are in a great place. High-level open source software tools and platforms are bountiful, and access to projects is greater than ever.
But this presents another problem: with all these choices, how do we validate our technical decisions? Keen observers will note there is a lot of overlap with application development products at IBM and Red Hat. For example, compare application servers WebSphere Liberty vs. Red Hat Enterprise Application Platform, or messaging platforms IBM MQ vs. Red Hat AMQ. As the two firms integrate, there will be more opportunity to cross-pollinate and mix infrastructure to deliver the best business value and customer experience. And for measuring business impact and the customer journey across multiple platforms and devices, AppDynamics is the premier choice.
AppD and IBM: Your User Journey
AppDynamics can capture the entire user journey—from end user device to the mainframe—with our deep insights and the power of artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps). As shown in our weather forecast example, a variety of technologies and infrastructure play a vital role in fulfilling an end user’s request. With so many steps involved, it’s difficult to gain end-to-end visibility of the user journey. AppDynamics is positioned to partner with you to track this journey across multiple devices and infrastructures. In December 2018, AppDynamics and IBM launched a mainframe agent, IBM Z APM Connect, an innovative monitoring solution that’s quickly gaining popularity with many of our customers. At IBM Think, we are eager to discuss how we can continue to provide a superior user journey in 2019 and beyond.
See you at Think 2019
AppDynamics has a strong relationship with both IBM and Red Hat, and we’re looking forward to strengthening these bonds as the two companies join forces to develop great new technologies and products. We’re also excited that our very own Jonah Kowall will be presenting with IBM on the “Mobile-to-Mainframe” visibility journey (Thursday, February 14th at 3:30 p.m.). Stop by booth 313 to engage with AppDynamics. We’re excited to meet you!