Aug 7 ’07

Pete Clark on z/VSE: z/VSE Issues Update

by Editor in z/Journal

The April/May column generated some dialog on the issues, so an update seems in order.

CA

Shortly after the April/May z/Journal issue hit the streets, Robert Giesting from CA posted a note on the VSE-L digest 4591, addressing some of the concerns raised in my last column. After reading his reply, I requested a copy of the document he referenced and read it, thanks to Maurice Donegan, CA vice president of Marketing.

During a follow-up conference call with several CA representatives, we discussed the specific questions VSE users have asked but that weren’t addressed in the document. I would expect that by the time you read this, or soon after, CA will have answers to some of the questions posted on the Web or emailed to users of record. If your question isn’t addressed by then, I would encourage you to communicate your concerns to Robert.Giesting@ca.com, Brian.James@ca.com (product line managers), or Maurice. Donegan@ca.com (vice president of Marketing).

Ron Solometo of HFD Technologies asked me to attend his WAVV 2007 Vendor Session, which addressed some of the concerns from my previous column. I attended the session, knowing that some missing CA employees have recently formed a company to deliver technical, implementation, and support assistance to CA customers.

It appears that CA may be implementing a new business model by pushing some part of support/implementation/ analysis to Independent Service Partners (ISPs). HFD is the only ISP we are aware of at this time, and it appears there’s no formal ISP agreement/contract. Will other ex-CA employees do the same? Only time will tell.

The lack of a formal contract may actually be beneficial to the customer. A service partner isn’t obligated to select specific products when doing product compares for a customer. And since the revenue of the ISP appears to be dependent on the customer, the customer should be wellserved or the revenue will cease.

So where does that leave CA customers? It appears that CA will continue to market and support the product set using the staff that’s still there. Is that acceptable? I expect that CA customers will decide, based upon future experiences with CA support and sales, which is how it should be.

Those services that were optional at extra cost and sometimes included in a sales contract to “sweeten” the deal are outsourced. If the customer wants additional assistance, such as implementation assistance or enhanced problem resolution skills, then they would contract through an ISP.

IBM/FSI

Reality check. After more than six months, Fundamental Solutions (FSI) and IBM apparently are having great difficulty resolving the contract issues concerning S/390- zSeries FLEX Emulation running on IBM operating systems.

Users currently running an IBM operating system on a FLEX emulator may continue to do so. However, users that want to upgrade the FLEX system with newer IBM software should submit a request to determine if it’s acceptable. It seems that users wanting to upgrade with more powerful FLEX-capable hardware are being denied.

To upgrade, the user may need to obtain new or used hardware that supports the IBM operating system without emulation. Most users I talked with indicated their major concern was associated with the cost of an upgrade. Is this palatable dollar-wise to the VSE users? If not, let IBM know now.

z/VSE users note that VSE/ESA 2.7, z/VSE 3.x and 4.x have CPU hardware-specific support requirements; see the VSE announcements for that release.

There’s another type of customer also using the emulator. The IBM Partners in Development (Partner World Developers [PWDs]) vendors who develop software solutions that run on IBM operating systems may have a FLEX/IBM hardware/software platform. I’m told those user contracts expire three years from the date of origination with a 30-day grace period. Unfortunately, some of those contracts are starting to expire.

It appears IBM and the PWDs are scrambling (although in some cases, in different directions) to find solutions that will allow them to continue product support and development. PWD developers indicate that IBM has identified some solutions that were acceptable to IBM. Unfortunately, the solutions weren’t acceptable to many of the PWDs I talked with.

So, it appears the FLEX/IBM impasse may be generating another impasse (IBM/PWD).

Should users be concerned about the PWD/IBM issue? Yes, if you have critical software products or solutions that are developed and supported by a PWD on an emulated system and the PWD finds IBM solutions unacceptable. How do you know? Ask your software suppliers.

As always, thanks for reading the column; see you all in the next issue. Z