Operating Systems

Optimizing Application Performance

Another way to reduce mainframe costs is to tune your applications to reduce resource consumption and prevent and remediate problems. Management software is particularly good at this. For example, poorly performing SQL can cause a big waste of CPU time. Even a few inefficient commands can cost dearly, especially if they query a back-end DB2 database hundreds of thousands of times per hour.

Technicians rarely have time to analyze the code, but management software can automatically analyze it and quickly identify where the bottlenecks are. It lets you write better-performing SQL, significantly lowering the cost of DB2 and the processing DB2 incurs.

Some companies have reported they’ve reduced MIPS requirements for major business applications by as much as 35 percent. Imagine the cost benefit you would see if you reduced your peak needs by 35 percent!

Improving Business Availability

Minimizing planned and unplanned outages can substantially improve business availability. Remember, the concept of availability has changed. We’re more impatient now for several reasons, including our reliance on mobile devices. If you have an iPad, it’s likely you have no patience even for starting up a laptop.

With an iPad, it’s almost instantaneous to go online and do business with a vendor. If that vendor isn’t available, you can easily and rapidly go somewhere else. If you think of the culture and expectations of IT today, you can understand why the demand for full availability is more prevalent than ever.

For example, a large retailer used to take a four-hour outage every weekend, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., for DB2 maintenance. One day, someone asked an interesting question: Are any customers actually trying to buy something online during those outages? After some research, someone found the answer: Yes, about 60,000 customers per week.

The retailer was shocked to learn it was losing substantial revenue every week and didn’t even suspect it, but probably shouldn’t have been surprised by this. This is the new availability. People want things when they want them. The retailer used a database utility to reduce the maintenance window from four hours a week to one hour a month.

Three Points to Remember

First, before you can begin to lower your IBM software costs, you need to know the when, what, and where of your peak utilization. You need to know when it occurs, what it includes, and where it’s located (which machine). You also must understand the implications of manipulating workload out of the peak period.

Second, it’s not easy to know all that, so you need management tools that can help you visualize what’s included in the peak period and be able to analyze various scenarios to gain visibility into how you can lower the peak.

Third, remember that management software decreases outage time and improves application performance. Consequently, it enables more customer transactions, thereby driving increased income.

Intelligent use of currently available management tools can dramatically reduce System z mainframe costs. These tools can optimize mainframe costs around the clock and within peak utilization periods, while maintaining or improving performance.


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