Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plumbing the Taxonomy Part 5: Optimization

Imagine a computer that normally runs nearly 100% busy all the time without slowing down, uses resources such as storage with maximal efficiency, runs programs that have been tightened up to minimize CPU and memory usage, does backups and restores efficiently and effectively, and keeps network bandwidth down while delivering massive data throughput.

Of course I'm talking about the mainframe, easily the most frugal computing platform in use today. Starting from the early days when available resources such as memory, disk and tape storage, and processor cycles were minimal, it has always been the norm to optimize the usage of the mainframe. Right from the beginning, there have been many ways - and software solutions - for optimizing the mainframe to maximize the value received.

Today, squeezing every last drop of value from the mainframe continues to be a core part of the culture and techology.

That's more important than you might initially think. As I discussed in my CMG article at, Moore's Law, an observation that has been used to point out that computers keep getting smaller, cheaper, and faster, is winding down. Already, CPU speeds have stopped increasing. The laws of physics tell us that eventually storage and memory capacity growth will also start to plateau.

When that happens, those who are already in the habit of making the most of every resource will be light years ahead of those who have gotten in the habit of letting bigger, faster computers make up for the inefficiency and sloppiness of how their solutions are built.

And, more to the point, the mainframe, which has remained lean, responsible and scrupulous, will be the only platform that is so optimized - right down to the hardware architecture - that the ever-bloating cycles of bigger, slower software on other platforms will result in the mainframe being further and further in the lead.

Let's hear it for frugal computing, and the business-enabling characteristic of optimization so ubiquitous on the mainframe!

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