Morgan Oats -

As year-end approaches I wanted to continue the tradition of looking back on the IntelliMagic zAcademy webinars that resonated most with our mainframe audience.

Since 2020, IntelliMagic zAcademy has offered free, educational z/OS webinars to the mainframe community. In 2023, we reached our 50th zAcademy webinar and covered topics from Mainframe Cost Savings to extracting insights from MQ data, mainframe security through zERT, application performance, and much more. But a top-5 countdown list can only have five.

The Top 5 IntelliMagic zAcademy webinars of 2023, as determined by total registration and attendance numbers, are:

(Honorable Mention) Metro Global Mirror (MGM) Monitoring in GDPS Sites

Okay, I’m going to cheat just a little here. Just narrowly escaping the top 5, was this session where IBM legend Joe Hyde offered practical advice on monitoring the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and the factors influencing it.

While GDPS automation provides local storage resiliency and remote failover capabilities, it is the customer’s responsibility to supply adequate hardware infrastructure aligned with their business needs, especially concerning data recency at the remote site in case of a failure.

By monitoring performance data, participants can gain assurance that business requirements are met and can proactively make changes if issues arise, ensuring a resilient and optimized IT infrastructure.


#5) How Mainframe Performance Teams are Solving Their Skills Gap Challenges

Kicking off the actual top 5 list is a webinar that covered a topic on everyone’s mind: the mainframe skills gap. In this webinar, Brent Phillips and Todd Havekost discussed how several mainframe sites are addressing the imminent retirement of experienced mainframe personnel.

This recording is highly recommended for any and all sites experiencing the skills gap or trying to proactively avoid it.


#4) Where Are All The Performance Analysts? – A Mainframe Roundtable

Launching our foray into the ’roundtable’ business, our 4th most attended session of the year was truly a meeting of the minds. With the likes of Martin Packer, Frank Kyne, Dave Hutton, and Jim Horne joining IntelliMagic’s own Todd Havekost and John Baker, these guys touched on everything performance – from costs, to labor, how to speak to management, AI, and much more.

Getting a group of experts like this on a single call is truly and honor and spectacle so if you haven’t already, I highly recommend viewing or listening to the recording.


#3) From Taped Walls to Your PC: z/OS Configuration Made Simple

z/OS Performance and Configuration data is very useful for understanding complicated issues and solving problems, but sometimes it is hard to fully grasp what the data is showing us. Traditional methods of viewing and understanding our z/OS configuration often involved physically taping the mapped-out-topology to office walls – something not feasible or desirable in today’s massively complex environments.

In our third most viewed webinar of the year, John Ticic and Todd Havekost discussed and demonstrated a breakthrough new method of interpreting and interacting with the LPAR, FICON, and Sysplex topologies.


#2) Oh Where Performance Will Take You: A Mainframe Roundtable

Our second ever zAcademy Roundtable hosted the likes of Cheryl Watson and Craig Walters amongst a rockstar group of performance and capacity analysts. So there’s no surprise that this comes in at #2 on our list.

Moderated again by John Baker, this roundtable event explored the journey of several renown mainframe performance analysts and offered insights and perspectives on timeless topics.

Panelists included:

  • Cheryl Watson, Watson & Walker
  • Craig Walters, IBM
  • Dave Barry, UPS
  • Jon Ulrich, HCSC
  • Todd Havekost, IntelliMagic

#1) Unraveling the z16: Understanding the Virtual Cache Architecture and Real-World Performance

By and far the #1 most viewed zAcademy session of 2023 (and all time) was this session presented by John Baker and Todd Havekost.

During this ground-breaking discussion, John and Todd discussed the revolutionary changes brought about by the z16 processor architecture, and walked through the results of numerous recent upgrade analysis’ with surprising results.

With the introduction of virtual cache at levels 2, 3, and 4, the z16 marks the most substantial transformation in the z processor architecture since the z13. For any site who is considering migrating to the z16 (or already has), this is truly a can’t miss session on what results you can likely expect and how you can verify you received (and are receiving) the expected results.


Looking Towards 2024

If you haven’t yet watched any of the live sessions or recordings of this year’s zAcademy sessions, or if you’re a super-learner that signs up for every session, remember that all zAcademy webinars and recordings – past and future – can be accessed at

IntelliMagic zAcademy will continue into 2024 with exciting insights and deep dives into several new areas of the z/OS mainframe. If you have a favorite session you want to tell us about, have questions about any of the material you saw, or if you have a recommendation on a topic you want us to cover in the future, send us a note at, and we’ll get back to you!

Thanks for watching – tune in next year!

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Morgan Oats
Head of Marketing
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