IT Management

Callout: The zEnterprise extends the magic of the mainframe to distributed environments by providing systems management and stack integration across multiple hardware platforms.

In the computing world, we’ve evolved from the original computers (mainframes) to mid-tier machines to servers to PCs and smart phones. All these platforms have their benefits, and enterprise computing environments are multi-platform for a reason. Each platform is optimized to run different workloads. For example, the mainframe provides the fastest, most secure database and transaction processing, but it needs front-end applications to enable Web access.

It’s imperative to view the data center as a whole. What happens on the mainframe doesn’t necessarily stay on the mainframe. An out-of-space database can bring online banking to a screeching halt. Conversely, what happens on distributed systems can have an impact on the mainframe, such as when spam fills message queues to the point where a transaction manager fails and causes an outage.

Managing multiple platforms and ensuring they communicate is a challenge. Different platforms use different operating systems, different transaction managers, different applications, etc.  

A Single Entity

An IT workload that has diverse processing requirements may need a transactional application architecture and analytical architecture in the same flow. The need for parallelism is driving the requirement for specialty processors to handle specific tasks better than general-purpose processors. While the mainframe provides optimal data processing for mixed workloads, it’s expensive for applications that don’t need mainframe Quality of Service (QoS).

Most mainframe shops run core applications and workloads on the mainframe and use distributed servers for processing that interacts with mainframe resources. You can eliminate some of the resulting server sprawl by moving as much workload as possible to the mainframe and specialty processors such as the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP).

However, the mainframe isn’t a panacea. Some workloads are better served by non-mainframe processors. Some specialized processing, such as streaming media, isn’t practical or cost-effective on the mainframe.

When a single workload crosses a variety of heterogeneous platforms, it can create challenges. The idea behind the zEnterprise is that a closely federated set of resources can be effectively managed at the machine firmware level because the environment is predictable. The zEnterprise provides a single view across all mainframe resources and extends this view to specific, non-mainframe environments, letting users manage a set of closely federated heterogeneous resources as a single entity. This model requires no paradigm shift at the application level and it enhances IT’s ability to respond to changing business needs.

A Smarter Business Infrastructure

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