IT Management

Those two giants of the analyst world, Gartner and IDC, were busy counting boxes over the summer, and their findings make heartening reading. According to Gartner, worldwide server business is booming, with second quarter revenues climbing 7.7 percent to $11.5 billion over the same period last year, with nearly 25 percent more units shipped. IDC reported similar findings, and pointed out that much of the growth is at the low end, where the blade server business is really taking off, and at the high end, where OS/390 systems grew by a stunning 40.6 percent.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, of course. The pent-up demand for mainframe MIPS has been evident for a considerable time. Even if much of the recent business is attributed to server consolidation rather than genuine growth, as IDC suggests, it’s clear that zSeries-related revenue is recovering very well after the sluggish market performance of the last few years. The analyst also revealed that Linux revenues are up by an impressive 49 percent due in part to the enterprise-level benefits of the 2.6 kernel, and this bodes particularly well for those Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that are investing in Linux versions of their products.

DB2 Archival Attracts Vendor Attention

BMC has recently made a number of significant announcements, mostly aimed at helping customers align IT systems with business criteria and satisfying regulatory requirements. Version 5 of SmartDBA Recovery Management is described as the industry’s first policy-based database backup and recovery solution, offering toleration of DB2 Version 8 and an unprecedented level of database recovery in complex environments. This announcement builds on BMC’s partnership with Princeton Softech, announced a few weeks earlier, which brings together SmartDBA’s performance management capabilities with Princeton’s unparalleled archiving strengths across mainframe and distributed platforms.

Meanwhile, StorageTek also has been active in the DB2 archiving area, using the SHARE conference to launch its Lifecycle Director for DB2. STK argues that its software allows mainframe DB2 administrators to automate the movement of data to lower levels of low-cost storage while providing fast access to archives. By facilitating the archival and recall of data at the row level, Lifecycle Director can reportedly reduce active table sizes by an average of 85 percent.

Also in the News

  • William Data Systems has announced Version 3.1 of APIAS for Enterprise Extender, eliminating a number of security and usability problems encountered in carrying SNA traffic over IP.
  • Attachmate has released EXTRA! Mainframe Server Edition Version 8 for Windows XP, a “next generation” emulation product that provides centralized management from anywhere on a network, flexible security management, portal integration of host access clients, and an impressive level of integration with XP Office applications, focusing on user productivity.
  • NewEra Software has added IMAGE Sentry to its IMAGE Focus toolset, allowing technical and security staff to identify problems related to z/OS integrity.
  • Acucorp, the legacy COBOL specialist, recently announced support for 64-bit Linux on the zSeries (the company says it now has ported its entire COBOL solution to all IBM eServers, including 32- and 64-bit Linux on POWER and 31- and 64-bit on zSeries).
  • Mainstar has unveiled its Backup & Recovery Manager Suite, a comprehensive set of tools for streamlining and coordinating mainframe backups, designed to work with any OS/390 or z/OS backup utility. The product will be welcomed by customers looking for a disaster recovery solution other than ABARS.
  • Compuware has rolled out new versions of the classic application performance manager STROBE. Version 3.1 offers support for DB2 Version 8 and WebSphere Application Server, as well as additional information on the interaction between Java, CICS and DB2, while iSTROBE 2.0 offers an architecture for managing application performance across both mainframe and distributed Web servers.

Putting the Squeeze on ISVs

My last column, about the challenges facing ISVs, struck a chord with one or two readers, who said that many ISVs are under intense pressure from IBM. Some suggest that IBM is encouraging users to abandon superior products and services by coming up with a price the competitor just can’t match. Do the ISVs protest too much, or are some of the best-known, third-party mainframe products really being squeezed out? I would be interested to hear other views on this subject—in confidence, of course.

Finally

My associate, Barry Graham, will be at Isogon’s New York offices on November 10 and 11 to give his celebrated “Controlling Mainframe Software Costs” seminar. Full details can be found at www.arcati.com.