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Megatrends in Technology and Their Impact on the Mainframe with BMC Software

Megatrends in Technology and Their Impact on the Mainframe with BMC Software

On this episode of Futurum Live! From the Show Floor, The Futurum Group’s Steven Dickens talks with BMC Software’s David Jeffries, BMC IZOT’s VP of Research and Development, during the SHARE Conference in New Orleans. Their conversation covered BMC’s approach to current megatrends in technology and their impact on the Mainframe, as well as how BMC’s technologies will assist their customers in their mainframe transformation and their journey on the road to becoming an Autonomous Digital Enterprise. It’s a great conversation you don’t want to miss.

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Transcript:

Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens, and welcome to another Futurum Live! from the Show Floor. We’re here with you at SHARE in New Orleans, and I’m joined by Dave Jeffries from BMC. Hey, Dave.

Dave Jeffries: Super. Thank you for having me again, Steve.

Steven Dickens: Welcome to the show again.

Dave Jeffries: It’s [inaudible] kind of a natural to this.

Steven Dickens: It’s becoming a thing.

Dave Jeffries: Natural recurrence.

Steven Dickens: They think us Brits [inaudible] smarter than we are, but we’ll roll with it, right?

Dave Jeffries: What little do they know. Yes.

Steven Dickens: Well, we’re not going to convince them. A lot of listeners and viewers will recognize you on the show, but let’s start with an introduction. What do you do for BMC?

Dave Jeffries: I’m the head of the mainframe development team. That’s got all aspects of research development for the 250-odd products that we have in the BMC mainframe portfolio.

Steven Dickens: 250?

Dave Jeffries: It’s a lot, isn’t it?

Steven Dickens: They let you run it all?

Dave Jeffries: Yes, yes. An adult is in charge, some say, some may not say.

Steven Dickens: Seriously though, Dave, there’s a lot going on in the mainframe space. We’re seeing the mainframe connected to this hybrid multi-cloud open-source world.

Dave Jeffries: Yep.

Steven Dickens: Lots going on. We’ve got the Open Mainframe Project, we’re recording with those guys a little later. There’s Linux now, and becoming established in some of the biggest mainframe shops in the world. What are you seeing? I know from some of our conversations… we speak on a regular basis… you’re chatting to customers a lot. What are you hearing? What are you seeing?

Dave Jeffries: Well, I think we’re starting to see, clearly, hybrid cloud take off, but a hybrid cloud also start to settle. That the mainframe is a big part of it, but to be a big part of it, you’ve got to be open. You’ve got to be open to new technologies, new open-source, open telemetry, I know we’ve had a chat about, maybe more of a chat about that as we go through. It’s a different world and we’re embracing technologies that are more freely available to kids coming out of college. All right.

Steven Dickens: Mm-hmm.

Dave Jeffries: I think one of the biggest challenges we’ve always had on the platform has been skills. I think embracing those types of technologies is absolutely critically important. Every one of our clients is saying, “Help us make this platform more modern. Help us make this platform kind of more accessible.” I think the open nature is the way we address that.

Steven Dickens: You talked about open telemetry. I’m tracking that independently of the mainframe space. Exploding right now. How are you seeing that come to the mainframe from an observability perspective?

Dave Jeffries: As we talk to pretty much every one of our customers… we talk about dashboards, we talk about enterprise management, et cetera… and it’s becoming key to us that people are taking our data, and want to take our data, into new spaces. And to merge into, to bring mainframe data into the general openness of the data and the telemetry that’s moving around the operation and around the organization.

So I think, from our perspective, that’s the way that we enter that market. That’s the way that we normalize the data down. We give the right telemetry at the right speed, but we bring it, not just a direct pass-through from the mainframe, we put intelligence behind it and we use our intelligence to pass that through to whoever’s consuming this. Whether you’re consuming it in Splunk or whether you’re consuming it in BMCs Helix kind of platform, there are many different enterprise platforms these days. We have to get our data there. It has to be relevant and it doesn’t have to be proprietary. It has to be open.

Steven Dickens: We also talked, we had a long conversation a few weeks back around Linux.

Dave Jeffries: Yep.

Steven Dickens: And you touched on open source a few moments ago. What are you seeing in that space? Lots of focus on Linux on z and LinuxONE. What are you seeing?

Dave Jeffries: Linux is hitting its sweet spot now, I think. We got some data from IBM a while ago, that I think this is the first time that Linux-shipped MIPS and installed MIPS has surpassed z/OS, and even z/OS is growing as well. Of course, we all like to see z/OS grow. We’re seeing a lot of customers, we had conversations with customers in the last few days while we’ve been here, who are just seeing some astronomic growth around Linux and around Enterprise Linux, for many different reasons. It’s the ESG regulations, sustainability, just pure consolidation, but also leveraging the platform, LinuxONE platform. Security, crypto, I/O speeds, et cetera. There are so many advantages, and I think people are just starting to understand that it’s something they can embrace and not fear.

Steven Dickens: We’ve spent probably five or six minutes now, in August of 2023, and we’ve not talked about AI. That’s probably a record.

Dave Jeffries: That’s weird, isn’t it? Yeah.

Steven Dickens: That’s a record. Joking aside, though, I know you guys are doing a good job with the AIOps portfolio. There’s a lot of, obviously, hype around the large language models, and everybody’s trying to either AI-wash their portfolio or look at ways they can deploy AI from an enterprise perspective. What’s the BMC angle?

Dave Jeffries: I think there’s a number of facets. AI clearly is exploding, AI is the answer to everything. I’ll take it from a skills perspective. I think if I have one more chat about, “What are you doing with GPT? All right, what’s your approach to GPT,” then from our side, we look at it as a terrific opportunity, but we have to be cautious. AI in the wrong hands, very dangerous. We know that. Manipulation of AI models, good and bad, dangerous in the wrong hands.

I think we are bringing a sense of realism to the platform with our AIOps portfolio and our operational insights, which is starting to get good traction now because of the skillset. All right? It’s like an SME in a box. That’s the way I like to think of it. That’s starting to grow. We’re looking at GPT because GPT, again, it’s like an SME capability. We don’t have those people around the organization. We probably won’t have them around the organization for the next five or ten years or so, because they’re moving out into the next journey in their lives. Does GPT give us an opportunity to address that need? I think it’s well worth exploring, cautiously, but I’m optimistic about it.

Steven Dickens: We talk about optimism there. We’re talking about innovation, we’re talking about new things coming to the platform. One of the things in the shadows, that specter looking over everything we’re doing, is cybersecurity, cyber resilience. The threat landscape’s completely changed to even where it was four or five years ago. I know BMC is doing a lot in this space, but what are you specifically hearing from clients right now?

Dave Jeffries: I think it’s something that, clearly, more and more people have visibility to now, and awareness. I think certainly two or three years ago, it was a case of, “Well, until it really hits, who owns the responsibility of making sure we’ve got a cyber resilience plan?” I think it’s much more upfront and center now. We’ve obviously done a bunch of things, and we’ve made an acquisition in the AMI Cloud product set, to bring that in and to further bolster our solution around that space. I think, again, AI has a role to play in this, but it’s also that threat aspect of AI.

The platform is secure. The platform is a terrifically secure, and well encrypted, and well-managed platform from a vulnerability perspective. You see that? Okay. So I think, certainly in front of mind for us is to address customers’ concerns around, “How secure is my data? If something happens, how quickly can I resume production? What’s my business resilience like?” So, we’re putting a lot more focus in ensuring that business resilience, recovery point objective, recovery time objectives… which we know are absolutely critical to managing a business… they’re front of mind, front of center, and that’s what we’re trying to build solutions around that.

Steven Dickens: We’re here at SHARE in New Orleans. What would be the one takeaway that you could give to customers stopping by the BMC booth?

Dave Jeffries: Come and have a look at our AMI Cloud solution.

Steven Dickens: Okay.

Dave Jeffries: Because I think it’s very different. It’s our entry point to the cloud, and it’s something that we didn’t necessarily take lightly. Very, very good technology from a very good and very innovative company. We are really starting to see them integrate very well into our platform set and our products. There are many more things for us to explore in that space, and you really see all these technologies, AI, insights, cybersecurity, all merging together to be a really robust solution.

Steven Dickens: I think that’s a great way to finish and summarize. Dave, always a pleasure to have you on the show.

Dave Jeffries: Super, Steve. Thank you.

Steven Dickens: You’ve been watching Futurum Live! from the Show Floor. Please click and subscribe, do all those things to help with the algorithms, and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks very much for watching.

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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