The “New” Development Secret Driving Delivery of Mainframe Data to Big Data Environments

There’s a simple, effective way to target strategic software development.  Drum roll please…..LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!

While other answers like “Dream Big” and “be a visionary” are not without merit, regularly asking customers what their biggest challenges are, then building solutions for them to test in a timely fashion, is the secret sauce to success.  That’s true whether you are a technology vendor, an organization building solutions for internal users and customers, or a business looking for new revenue streams via applications they can market to other firms in their industries.  The year/years-long process has evolved.

I have seen great examples with our customers.   Guardian Life, for instance,  has launched projects to improve management of member, product, policy, premium and claims data.  They are doing this by centralizing the transformation of the data so they can consistently baseline and supply enriched data to downstream processes.  This allows them to support many new use cases, including data distribution, reporting, visualization, and predictive analytics.

Another example is Medical Mutual of Ohio.  It is using the Splunk® Enterprise platform to correlate all enterprise-wide security data, including z/OS log data from the mainframe, to gain maximum visibility into user-authentication data and access attempts to help protect customer information stored in DB2 from unauthorized access. Similarly, our customers in Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Healthcare are now improving customer service and better protecting digital information assets with new capabilities.

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At the core of targeted application development is a continual process of listening to our customers.

I have seen management and developers at Syncsort follow this lead in the development of several “Big Iron to Big Data” solutions.  These solutions leverage Syncsort’s nearly 50 years of mainframe leadership, ongoing contributions to the open source community and deep relationships with strategic partners in the Big Iron and Big Data ecosystem.

By listening to our customers, including but not limited to our customer advisory board, these enhancements and new solutions address the complex set of requirements that large enterprises increasingly must meet for delivering critical operational data on the mainframe to next-gen Big Data environments such as Apache Hadoop, Spark, and Splunk.

Successfully charting a path from Big Iron to Big Data is critical for many of our customers to help them gain competitive advantage. They tell us how their need for analytics on new and unique data sets is increasingly important, together with their need to correlate it with data from enterprise data warehouses, distributed systems, and data lakes.  Those are priorities.

With this in mind, we’ve have been working for several years now, leveraging both organically developed and acquired technology to continually build and deliver products that meet these specific needs.

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Syncsort’s customer-driven Big Iron to Big Data products bridge the gap between the Big Data and Security users, and the mainframe data that is critical to make sense of enterprise-wide Big Data for business intelligence.

Listening to our customers and incrementally building new technology to meet their needs is yielding results in three important ways:

  1. We are seeing steadily increasing interest and purchases from customers, and engagement from key partners. For instance, Hortonworks just chose Syncsort DMX-h as their solution of choice for optimized ETL onboarding to Hadoop. Splunk partnered with us on Ironstream®, our unique-in-market solution for making mainframe machine data, including key log and security data available in real time to the Splunk® Enterprise platform.  We have partnerships with Databricks and Confluent because of Syncsort’s work to enhance integration of data between Spark and Kafka with enterprise-wide data sources.

  2. We are getting strong positive feedback from influential industry analysts and media who see the importance of the intersection of Big Iron and Big Data. In fact, we are receiving awards recognition on our recent innovations from industry publications. In June alone, we received multiple accolades including two IT World Awards — our mainframe connector for Apache Sparkgarnering the Gold winner –  the highest accolade in “Innovations in IT”  category. Syncsort Ironstream® was among the top five solutions for “Most Innovative IT Software, and Syncsort was once again named by Database Trends and Applications to its DBTA 100 list of companies that matter most in data. Additionally, DMX-h, the company’s industry-leading Big Data integration software, was recently nominated for the 2016 DBTA Reader’s Choice Awards for the “Best Data Integration” and “Best Hadoop Solution” categories.

It’s fair to say that our customers and Syncsort are looking to work together to bridge the gap between mainframe and emerging Big Data platforms and analytics, each pointing their top guns at this Big Data challenge. It’s working.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the most pressing Big Iron to Big Data challenges, including, “What mainframe data do you need in your data lake?  In what format?  How fast/often do you need it?”  Please use the comments section on this blog or email me at to let us know.  For more information on Syncsort’s Big Iron to Big Data products, visit Syncsort’s product pages for Big Data and Mainframe.

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