IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 56

Stop Run An eclectic take on the mainframe world A Serendipitous Life Barry Merrill’s accidental discoveries enhance the mainframe BY SHIRLEY S. SAVAGE T he Three Princes of Serendip is an ancient Persian legend about the rewards of accidental discovery. The princes stumble upon items that don’t seem worthy of attention, but are actually extremely important. Herbert W. Barry Merrill, president and programmer of Merrill Consultants and MXG Software, may be a direct descendant of those princes. His career is full of discoveries by happenstance that have benefited the mainframe world. Mer r i l l was i nt roduced to computers in 1959 at the University of Notre Dame where he produced the first electrical engineering lab report done on a digital computer, an IBM Model 610. That would be his only experience with computers for the next five years. He enlisted in the U.S. Nav y and ser ved on t he USS Cad mu s a nd t he USS Tusk. He returned to college on a Navy NESEP scholarship at Purdue University, was commissioned, interviewed by Adm. Rickover and served in USS GATO and at Guantanamo Bay before leaving the Navy in 1972. While attending Purdue, Merrill discovered he needed another hour of class work. His Navy advisor suggested he take a Fortran class. Says Merrill, “When I saw the Fortran language, that’s when I really clicked with computing.” While working at State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill., Merrill was hired to join a team investigating if computers could be measured. “In 1972, the state-of-the-art in capacity management was this: An IBM salesman would walk into the office and say, ‘sign here, you need a bigger box,’ ” Merrill says. The team thought the study could improve on that scenario. Team members discovered they could glean information on performance. Using the Statistics Analysis System (SAS), Merrill was able to analyze the Systems 2009 ibmsystemsmag.com/mainframe Shirley S. Savage, a Maine-based freelance writer, is the author of several management reports on technology and energy topics. Shirley can be reached at srsavage@suscom-maine.net. 56 M AY/J U N E PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BARRY MERRILL Management Facility (SMF). “SMF was never designed for human consumption,” he says. “No language at that time had bit accessibility to decode, whereas the SAS package was perfect for reading the data.” As a result, Merrill became an authority on SAS and its application in business. He used that knowledge to show how businesses could measure the performance of their mainframes and thereby achieve cost savings. Having run a data center, Merrill knows first-hand how important SMF is. “Only z/OS* gives us this wealth of knowledge. We push our systems to the limit now and load the CPUs to 100 percent because we can choose who gets what, in terms of service,” he says. “Open systems don’t have the capacity to do that.” The mainframe was the “only game in town” when he started, and while there are other options in the market now, he remains a huge mainframe fan. Merrill’s software company, MXG, continues his work in the creation of mainframe solutions. “I’m at heart a programmer,” he says, noting he’s proud to have developed a source-code distributed product, which helps users find solutions. “I like the capability to figure out an answer for a new device. Working with a smart user at the other end of the phone or e-mail, together we can figure it out,” he says. “Once we’ve done it for one person, it’s available for all the users who run MXG.” The 67-year-old Merrill has no thoughts of slowing down. “I plan on making it to 100 and I plan on doing the same thing for the next 33 years. My goal is to continue to write software, enhance the product and keep people employed,” he says. Like the legendary princes, Merrill is blessed with good for t une and wisdom. Here’s wishing him another 33 years of serendipitous discoveries.
http://www.ibmsystemsmag.com/mainframe

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009
Table of Contents
Editor's Desk:  High-Flying Security
Trends:  IBM Cognos 8 BI for Linux on System z Makes Reliable Data Available Anywhere
IT Today:  New System x and BladeCenter Servers Help Your Organization Reach Its Goals
Focus on Storage: Virtual Tape Facility for MainframeJoins IBM Arsenal
Q & A:  Hybrid Technology Takes Supercomputing Beyond Moore’s Law
Case Study:  The City and County of Honolulu Allows Its Applications to Dictate the Platforms on Which They Run
Cover Story:  IBM’s z/VM is a Proven Solution for Today’s IT Environments
Feature:  IBM’s Dynamic Infrastructure Helps Companies Reduce Costs, Manage Risks and Improve Services
Administrator:  DB2 9 Features Help Ensure Compliance
Product News
Advertiser Index
Stop Run:  Barry Merrill’s Accidental DiscoveriesEnhance the Mainframe
Reference Point
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Cover2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Table of Contents
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 6
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 7
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Editor's Desk:  High-Flying Security
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Trends:  IBM Cognos 8 BI for Linux on System z Makes Reliable Data Available Anywhere
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 11
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 12
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - IT Today:  New System x and BladeCenter Servers Help Your Organization Reach Its Goals
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 16
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 17
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 18
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 19
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Focus on Storage: Virtual Tape Facility for MainframeJoins IBM Arsenal
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 21
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 22
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 23
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Q & A:  Hybrid Technology Takes Supercomputing Beyond Moore’s Law
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 25
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 26
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 27
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Case Study:  The City and County of Honolulu Allows Its Applications to Dictate the Platforms on Which They Run
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 29
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 30
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 31
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Cover Story:  IBM’s z/VM is a Proven Solution for Today’s IT Environments
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 33
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 34
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 35
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 36
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 37
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 38
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 39
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Feature:  IBM’s Dynamic Infrastructure Helps Companies Reduce Costs, Manage Risks and Improve Services
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 41
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 42
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 43
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 44
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 45
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 46
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 47
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Administrator:  DB2 9 Features Help Ensure Compliance
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 49
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 50
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 51
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Product News
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 53
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - 54
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Advertiser Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Stop Run:  Barry Merrill’s Accidental DiscoveriesEnhance the Mainframe
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Cover3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Cover4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - Reference Point
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe digital edition - May/June 2009 - RF2
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