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From Chapter Two: The appliance computing culture

This is the 21st excerpt from the second book in the Defen series: BIT: Business Information Technology: Foundations, Infrastructure, and Culture

Note that the section this is taken from, on the evolution of appliance computing, includes numerous illustrations and note tables omitted here.

The iSeries data center tour

This is a tour of a data center built around an IBM iSeries mini-computer. The important things to note here are:

  1. How much smaller and more focused this is than the mainframe data center seen earlier;

  2. The degree of centralized processing control;

  3. The focus on delivering packaged applications with only minor local tweaking; and,

  4. The high reliability, and relatively low overall cost, of the system.

The People

The data center has 110 budgeted positions, of which 98 are currently filled. Of these:

HR currently has openings posted for people with the following major skills:

  1. Team Leader for retail system enhancements, support and modernization ($69,300);

  2. E-commerce project manager with retail POS, Web sphere, and AS/400 experience ($93,500)

  3. Information security specialist (PC environment) ($64,243);.

  4. AS/400 support and maintenance programmer. Must have AS/400, PC, OS/400, RPG 400 / 3 / 2, CL, OS/400 Query, SDA, DDS, DFU, with SYNON, AS/SET, LSAMS and at least one major financial package such as JD Edwards Financials or Lawson Financials (2 positions) ($62,600);

  5. Web sphere development programmer with significant OS/400 and secure electronic commerce implementation experience (2 positions) ($71,300); and,

  6. Microsoft Terminal Server Client Access services support programmer (2 positions) ($51,000)

Typical programmer-analyst credentials (taken from resumes)


Specific Examples of work history (taken from staff resumes):

Notice the contrasts with the mainframe data center in terms of the broader roles assigned staff, the higher level of individual achievement, and the absence of the distinction between "customer facing" and purely internal roles.

Some notes:

  1. These excerpts don't (usually) include footnotes and most illustrations have been dropped as simply too hard to insert correctly. (The wordpress html "editor" as used here enables a limited html subset and is implemented to force frustrations like the CPM line delimiters from MS-DOS).

  2. The feedback I'm looking for is what you guys do best: call me on mistakes, add thoughts/corrections on stuff I've missed or gotten wrong, and generally help make the thing better.

    Notice that getting the facts right is particularly important for BIT - and that the length of the thing plus the complexity of the terminology and ideas introduced suggest that any explanatory anecdotes anyone may want to contribute could be valuable.

  3. When I make changes suggested in the comments, I make those changes only in the original, not in the excerpts reproduced here.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.