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Share's leadership dishes on San Jose conference

Members of the leadership of Share, the mainframe user group, discussed the main themes at this year's conference in San Jose, the impact of virtualization and more.

This week, mainframers and other enterprise systems users have descended on San Jose, Calif., to attend the Share user group's conference. In preparation, we asked four members of the group's leadership to share their insight on a few key topics to be highlighted at the show, including virtualization; their favorite part of the user group; and which sessions are must-see offerings.

For more on the Share user group:
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Participating in the discussion were Robert Rosen, former Share president, Pamela Taylor, Share vice president of strategic development, Jim Michael, Share treasurer, and Martin Timmerman, current Share president.

Virtualization is a major theme at the conference. But virtualization has been around mainframe systems for decades. So why all the attention now?
Robert Rosen: Share is much more than the mainframe; it's about all computing in the enterprise. Since virtualization now extends from the mainframe down to the desktop and it is receiving a lot of attention from all levels of the enterprise, it makes sense to arm our attendees with the latest knowledge and thinking in the area.
Pamela Taylor: Share … is about the enterprise-class IT environment and all the nuances thereof. And virtualization isn't just about virtualizing servers -- [virtual machines'] strength on the mainframe -- it's about storage, server, application, network and services virtualization that abstracts the application from the physical platform where it runs, which could be a mainframe, BladeCenter, Unix/Linux server or desktop. The virtualization story is about the complex enterprise IT environment, so it's a natural fit for Share.
Jim Michael: As virtualization is being used more broadly in IT -- from distributed server virtualization to storage, network and application virtualization -- it makes sense for the user community at Share to leverage our 35-plus years of experience with virtualization at all levels of enterprise IT. The increased agility, reliability and efficiency of resource utilization that virtualization can facilitate represents a major opportunity for Share member organizations, and we want to help them maximize the benefits they derive from these technologies.

What's your favorite part of Share?
Rosen: The broadness of the coverage and accessibility to peer experts. In my position [as CIO], I can't afford to be an expert in only one area. Share gives me the opportunity to be exposed to the entire IT milieu in one easy-to-attend event.
Taylor: Community. And seeing people get excited about the value that community can bring them to solve their immediate problems, build long-term professional connections and make contributions back to help others.
Michael: My favorite part of Share is the opportunity it gives me to interact with a community of other IT professionals across a broad range of highly relevant topics and to drill down with them into very deep, technical topics that will help me make a difference for my university. I can't overstate the professional growth, both as a technician and as a manager, that I've achieved directly through my involvement at Share; and it's great fun.
Timmerman: My favorite part of Share is the opportunity to explore the breadth of the enterprise IT world, to meet people who have implemented technology we are only considering and to provide my expertise to those considering options we have already implemented. All that is from a community that trusts each other to help each other make appropriate decisions for technology implementation.

What session(s) is a must-attend event at Share San Jose?
Rosen: The general session. [It] will set the theme for the whole week as well as give some indication of the thinking of our primary vendor [i.e., IBM].
Taylor: Helene Armitage's talk at the general session [Armitage is IBM's vice president of systems software development and lab-based services]. As the IT ecosystem seems to be becoming ever more complex, I'm interested to hear what she has to say about IT simplification and how that relates to virtualization, SOA [service-oriented architecture], cloud computing and all the trends that are developing in IT today.
Michael: It's hard to choose just one. Of course, I'm looking forward to the general session with Helene Armitage, as I think the topics that she's covering are central to effective enterprise IT. The other one I absolutely will not miss is Mark VanderWiele's session, "IBM Research Initiatives to Bring Cloud Computing to the Enterprise."
Timmerman: Like others, the Share general session is a not-to-be missed event. Hearing how we can work together with IBM to explore the benefits of virtualization in our own installations will provide a catalyst for discovery throughout the week. The general session also is about Share celebrating itself, honoring our best talent and recognizing our leadership team.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. You can also check out our Mainframe blog.

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