Spotlights

Mention the word “mainframe,” and you’re apt to conjure up images of monolithic systems humming along reliably and dependably in the background of modern data centers. These days, you don’t hear nearly as much about mainframes as newer, sexier technologies like the iPhone or the iPad. But the vast proliferation of mobile devices and the subsequent surge in mobile Web access is actually making mainframes more relevant than ever, in this new world of “anytime, anywhere” computing where self-service reigns supreme…

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With so much change and innovation occurring in the mainframe and information technology  world, it would be natural to just focus on what’s new. There’s certainly much to talk about; for example, we have mainframe workspaces that look like a cross between iTunes and Google Analytics. At the same time, historically non-mainframe shops are turning on brand new zEnterprise class systems to run production workloads on Linux on System z…

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IBM released CICS Transaction Server for z/OS Version 4.2 on June 24, 2011. One of the themes of the new release is scalability; enhancements allow more work to occur faster in a single CICS system. This allows increased vertical scaling and may reduce the need to scale horizontally, decreasing the number of regions required to run the production business applications…

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One of IBM’s best-kept secrets is that information technology buyers can save more than a million dollars if they deploy workloads with heavy Input/Output (I/O) on a mainframe as opposed to deploying these same types of applications on a group of x86-based, multi-core blade servers. Benchmark data shows that large-scale architecture (such as a mainframe) doesn’t require as much headroom, or spare capacity, as smaller systems to execute heavy I/O workloads. So, a mainframe can run 240 virtual machines as compared to about 10 virtual machines per blade on a typical Intel 8 core system. (In this comparison, both systems run the same workload at the same service level.)…

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Mainframe applications influence business agility and revenue generation; organizations relying on them must deliver and maintain the highest quality and performance. But they face a quandary: a rapidly retiring pool of mainframe development expertise, combined with constant pressures to do more with less in terms of people, time, and money. Those pressures can lead to offshore outsourcing, which may lower costs, but can further aggravate problems tied to the lack of mainframe expertise…

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With the need to handle increasing volumes of transactions, enterprises must implement extensive and more complex system configurations that often consist of Web front-ends, WebSphere Application Servers, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker, CICS, DB2, IMS, and other products. The tasks of systems management and workload management then become rather challenging. The CICS Transaction Server for z/OS (CICS TS) Development team recognizes this and constantly looks for ways to enhance the use and management of CICS TS. …

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