Making Mainframes More Manageable

Michael Vizard

As a large number of older IT professionals literate in mainframe technologies continue to exit the work force, there is newfound emphasis on providing tools that not only make mainframes more accessible to a broader number of IT professionals, but also reduce the number of specialists required to manage mainframe environments.

BMC Software this week released over 20 tools specifically designed to simplify the management of DB2 10 running on zOS mainframe platforms. Included in those offerings are tools that advise IT professionals how to better manage the overall environment based on BMC's extensive history with DB2, which Robin Reddick, director of marketing for BMC mainframe service management, says allows IT organizations to capture knowledge they might otherwise lose when IT professionals retire.

As part of this effort, Reddick says that BMC is not only focused on making it easier to manage the mainframe, it wants to make the overall environment more cost effective to run. The BMC tools optimize the overall environment in a way that provides an additional 20 percent cost savings by reducing the number of mainframe MIPs that need to be consumed to support DB2.



Bob Goodman, a senior DBA and disaster recovery administrator for Florida Hospital, says his organization specifically chose to deploy DB2 on an IBM mainframe because the platform allows the hospital to process 4.5 million transactions a day using only 2.5 dedicated database administrators. There's no doubt, says Goodman, that the cost of acquiring a mainframe can be steep. But in terms of total cost of ownership, nothing comes close to DB2 on a mainframe, says Goodman. In fact, Goodman says the hospital supports 6,500 concurrent users accessing 42 mainframe applications, and it's been 9.5 years since the last unplanned outage at the hospital.

A huge percentage of the business data that many companies rely on still resides on mainframes. Rewriting all those applications to run on other platforms in many cases is not particularly feasible. What BMC and other IBM mainframe tool vendors are focused on is making it easier to manage these environments, especially as we continue to see more convergence between mainframes and distributed computing environments.

The challenge for IT organizations going forward is to figure out what application workload to best run where based on actual cost of processing, versus getting caught up in religious platform wars that are being fueled by vendor agendas that have little to do with what is actually happening inside the IT department.

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Apr 15, 2011 1:53 PM Marcel den hartog Marcel den hartog  says:

Today's mainframes are managed by less people than ever before. This means that the people who still manage it are required to "master" more aspects of the mainframe. The job of DBA or Security administrator is not as focused as it used to be.

Many mainframers now use more different tools than ever before to get the job done. So it is important that vendors change their solutions in such a way that not only NEW people but also existing staff can work with a complex set of tools.

CA Technologies is doing just that with CA Chorus. It's worth having a look at the many presentations and demonstrations at our May Mainframe Madness Virtual Tradeshow. Register @ www.ca.com/may.


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