With multi-platform applications being the norm, the new challenge is integrating the network “picture” with distributed systems information. Mainframe network experts must work with distributed network managers, and today’s systems programmers must manage a broad spectrum of system configurations and topologies comprised of multiple machines hosting a large number of Logical Partitions (LPARs) housing a variety of operating systems. Individual system images are frequently grouped together to form one or more Sysplexes employing a “share everything” methodology. In some cases, these Sysplexes may even cross geographical boundaries.
The dynamic nature of the modern mainframe environment presents unique management challenges. The ability to dynamically change the hardware configuration, adding processing engines and altering capacity limits on the fly, introduces a new dimension to systems management. The inclusion of specialty processors—such as System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP), and crypto engines—can, when properly managed, yield significant cost reductions. These systems can host multiple operating systems (including Linux) and standards- based software stacks (e.g., TCP/IP, Java, XML parsers, etc.) in support of modern application design and implementation methodologies (e.g., Web services and SOA). But configuring and managing these software stacks can be difficult in the absence of specific skills or tools.
Network administrators and systems programmers must contend with budget constraints; funding for new technologies is met by saving on existing run rates. Changes introduced as the result of a new project must be carefully managed to avoid disrupting required service levels. When improperly implemented, changes to applications or application components hosted on distributed platforms can result in service disruptions to mainframe-hosted application support components such as database and transaction management systems.
Both the mainframe and distributed system management teams must centrally monitor and manage the resources required to provide continuous access to critical business functions. By doing so, they’re able to quickly and efficiently identify the source of problems and resolve them. They need tools that support proactive management of the data center. Classic monitoring tools, combined with intelligent automation solutions, can deliver this capability, automatically detecting and resolving performance or service-level issues without human intervention.
Today, IT is all about delivering the services the business needs when it needs them and at the lowest possible cost. This has caused the systems management focus to shift from a platform- centric view to an end-to-end application view. Usually, the mainframe systems programmer doesn’t control application transaction service time, nor do the distributed systems or network administration folks. SLAs are achieved based on delivering endto- end computer services, not on the availability of a single infrastructure component.
Mountain Grading Tools
Network and systems managers need versatile tools that let them do more with less. The time saved by using such tools to automate routine and repetitive tasks can be redirected to addressing business and technical issues that really require their individual skills and experience.
Key properties of a good management solution are:
• The solution components must be easy to install, customize, and deploy with quick time-to-value.
• All major functions should be easily accessible. A command line interface should be available for those who prefer it and to facilitate additional automation.