It’s been a busy past few months for IBM. The company has been out on the road with customers, explaining how central the zSeries is to the whole on-demand computing story, and outlining the investments it plans to make to reinforce the mainframe’s position at the heart of the enterprise. There’s no doubt that the sheer power and scalability of the z990 has opened the door to a wide range of sales opportunities, both in on-demand applications and more widely in data center and server consolidation.
Meanwhile, at the lower end of the scale, IBM’s recent storage announcements should go a long way to improve the space, cost, and ease-of-use characteristics of the mainframe platform for small and low-growth users. The DS6000, with its groundbreaking 3U packaging, Light Path Diagnostics and Web-based management interface, will prove a hit with z/OS and i5/OS users looking for a small, low-maintenance storage solution, and IBM is already selling it very aggressively alongside the z890.
BMC Brings Mainframe Into Impact Manager
Few vendors have addressed business impact and change management with as much determination as BMC. Since its acquisition of Remedy, IT Masters and Marimba, the company has followed an ambitious plan to implement its Business Service Management (BSM) infrastructure, with the subsidiary companies all contributing essential technologies to the new architecture.
BMC has completed its 12-month project to integrate MAINVIEW and SmartDBA with its Service Impact Manager (SIM). SIM is the key component of BSM, and the challenge has been to provide a consistent source of system and database-related events across the mainframe and distributed environments, which can then be fed into SIM to allow it to assess impact on business services. The new function will greatly extend the existing event-reporting capabilities between MAINVIEW and PATROL.
Making Sense of the Costs
With the heightened interest in software licensing and asset management, it’s not surprising that many of the announcements from the mainframe software vendors pertain to new pricing models rather than technology. For example, NEON Enterprise Software has an innovative approach to pricing by four broad CPU bands; while Allen Systems Group has restructured its pricing around “Yesbased” product licensing, which allows customers more flexibility in planning their software asset management, licensing by site, by MIPS and LPAR, and by IBM models such as GOLC, PSLC, and zELC.
Users are particularly keen for third-party vendors to take a more consistent approach to workload-based pricing, and Computer Associates recently announced Measured Workload Pricing (MWP), an extension of its FlexSelect licensing program. MWP bases licensing costs on measured system usage—rather than total potential hardware capacity—enabling customers to more closely align IT spending with changing business requirements.
Outsourcing the Compiler
With ROI on everyone’s mind, I always keep an eye open for new services and products that reduce mainframe costs without introducing further complexity or integration problems. One company to watch is Syspoint Mainframe Solutions, which recently released its Virtual Compiler. This tool allows customers to outsource the compile process for any of their internally developed applications, including those written in COBOL, PL/1, FORTRAN, and C/C++. The product takes the user’s source code, copybook info, etc., and directs it to the Syspoint mainframe for compilation. Syspoint is promising savings of 30 percent or more over the cost of an internal compile, and plans to extend the service to other development platforms.
Around the Vendors
- CA announced Unicenter Database Management r11 for DB2 for z/OS. The new version adds support for DB2 for z/OS V8, and includes new technologies and more than 70 enhancements for managing DB2 environments and improving response time and system reliability.
- NEON Systems announced Shadow z/services, a SOAPbased mainframe integration solution that allows organizations to rapidly transform CICS, IMS, and Advantage CA-IDMS applications into Web services.
- NEON Enterprise Software announced Database Director Persist (D2 Persist), its online reorganization tool for IMS databases that eliminates outages of business applications during database reorganizations.
- Quest Software announced new versions of Quest Spotlight on DB2 UDB and Quest Spotlight on DB2 OS/390.
Embarcadero Technologies announced Version 3 of Embarcadero Change Manager, its cross-platform change management solution.