Interviews

Hindman acknowledges that the end-to-end migration effort initiated by OKDHS IT was entirely transparent and seamless to users, who also have seen improvements in the level of computing service and in what they can do with their program reporting.

“We’re in the process now of planning a new enterprise application where our child welfare and family support systems will all be in one application on a single mainframe platform instead of siloed on different platforms,” says Hindman. OKDHS IT also is planning to move its data warehouse, now on 39 separate Windows servers, to the System z.

“We’re continuing to add functionality to our Linux on System z environment,” Little adds. “We’re now playing a little ‘catch up’ to handle all the changes in applications that we have undergone. The changes we’re adding are beginning to stress the load on the system to where we’re considering a possible CPU investment.”

OKDHS IT also has a proven methodology for reliability and backup, which was an early migration concern.

“On the HP-UX side, we just did the database backups via a SCSI [Small Computer System Interface] tape drive that was attached to the server,” says Little, “But on the System z, Tivoli Storage Manager was, and is, our primary enterprise-side backup solution.”

Conclusion

New agile reporting is making a difference in OKDHS’ ability to track results and outcomes, and they plan to continue to grow this reporting environment and the data warehouse access that accompanies it. Over the next few years, the department plans to add Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as it continues to grow its data warehouse in the Oracle/Linux on System z environment.

“Linux on System z provides OKDHS with a flexible and scalable environment that’s also cost-effective,” says Sarjoo Shah, Data Services director. “OKDHS intends to leverage the Linux on System z environment to provide faster and agile solutions for its division through the use of OLAP [Online Analytical Processing]-based tools and the Web enablement of applications.”

Users also are pleased with future projects and directions.

“I spent time as an implementation manager with OKDHS in 1994, so I wasn’t just going to say ‘yes’ to mainframe virtualization,” says Hindman, “But I also have been with the agency for 30 years, and I had to look at the project from the standpoint of what was best for DHS. … I can say that moving to the mainframe was the right thing for us to do. We have the resources and the skillsets there, and the application consolidation has simplified our operations. The process of migrating off other platforms and onto the mainframe was totally seamless, and didn’t negatively impact end users. I would have to say we are very satisfied on the business side.”

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