The IBM System z10 is an evolutionary machine in the history of enterprise computing. Realizing the full value of a z10 investment requires an evolution in the infrastructure supporting your new mainframe. Just as a high-performance sports car requires high-performance tires, a z10 requires the latest infrastructure if you wish to tap its performance potential. Moving from older bus and tag and ESCON infrastructures to the latest FICON technology should occur in a highly controlled, managed process.
The mainframe, out of favor for a decade, is now back in vogue. IBM’s z10, announced in February 2008, offers unprecedented processing power, performance, and scalability. Perhaps most notable is an accompanying improvement in energy efficiency.
The z10 is the foundation for the IBM New Enterprise Data Center (NEDC), a new model for efficient IT service delivery designed to address current operational challenges with the flexibility to harness emerging technologies and the freedom to drive business innovation. This transformation of information, applications, infrastructure, people, and processes can help your business rapidly deploy services that are accessible from anywhere in the world. To realize the full value of your z10 investment and the NEDC, you must implement a Service-Oriented Infrastructure (SOI).
IBM stopped marketing the 9032-5 ESCON director at the end of 2004, with support projected to end by 2010. Data center managers with a significant installed base of ESCON equipment face a meaningful challenge. It doesn’t make sense to purchase a z10 and then run ESCON I/O. If you do so, you can’t take advantage of the significant performance potential and scalability you’ve paid for. So, how can you migrate to a pure FICON channel configuration, but still support your ESCON and parallel devices?
May 2008 Mainframe Evolution Survey
Via a May 2008 survey reaching IT managers and IT staff at Fortune 1000 mainframe clients in North America, z/Journal sought to understand FICON/ ESCON usage among large enterprises using zSeries and System z solutions. Less than 20 percent of the Fortune 1000 have fully converted their System z infrastructures to FICON. More than 80 percent of the enterprises surveyed have a significant mix of FICON, ESCON, and bus and tag devices and channel types. The survey (see Figure 1) concluded that:
• New workload growth relies on FICON storage, while stable, mission-critical applications often depend on mature ESCON and even bus and tag devices.
• Managing dual ESCON and FICON infrastructures is common, but is inefficient and costly.
• The benefits of an all-FICON infrastructure can be significant, but aren’t being fully exploited.
• There’s an opportunity for IBM System z clients to approach mainframe infrastructure planning differently to maximize efficiency and lower operational costs.