Share President Pamela Taylor talks top mainframe issues

High software costs, cloud computing, and next-gen mainframers are top topics addressed by IBM Share user group President Pamela Taylor.

Share, the IBM user group made up largely of mainframers, will hold its fall conference Aug. 23-28 in Denver. SearchDataCenter.com caught up with Share President Pamela Taylor to discuss what's on Share members' minds. Taylor is the senior solutions manager at Sterling Commerce, a software company that specializes in business process integration technology.

For more SHARE coverage:
Share 2009 conference coverage

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What are the top two or three challenges for Share users?
In this economy, most people would say efficiency, getting more done with less. But also, they're making sure at the same time that if they're not on the bleeding edge of technology, they're at least current with the latest environment. I think everybody is convinced that as the economy is starting to turn around, IT will be part of the engine that propels business forward. If they don't start to explore and understand new technologies, they'll be behind the curve when economy starts up its growth path.

High software costs are a perennial issue for Share users who run mainframes. What are they doing to control them?
Everyone is falling back on the tried-and-true models. They talk to vendors and negotiate or renegotiate with vendors. They examine what they're actually using and determine whether they need as many instances of what they're running.

At share this year, some dozen sessions are on cloud computing. Are Share users implementing cloud computing in production, and if so how?
I think what people are doing initially is experimenting with private clouds in the large enterprise space. In the small and medium business space, they're more inclined to start experimenting with [Software as a Service] for cost purposes.

IBM is often pushing its academic initiative to promote the mainframe to the youth. Have you found the demographics of Share users changing, and if so, how?
When you think about the fact that our membership is corporate membership, the measure we have is in the conference participants. We have taken some explicit steps to expose the IT world and the mainframe environment to younger and younger students. And just in the halls, I'm seeing broader demographics in the last three or four [Share conferences] than before. I'm happy with how the zNextGen group has been successful. You might only see a couple dozen at the event, but the group now has 300 individuals. It's a good success story on engaging the new generation of IT professionals.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. Also, check out our blogs: Data Center Facilities Pro, Mainframe Propeller Head, and Server Farming.

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