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Here’s a common challenge for many IT organizations. There’s a rush to invest in technologies that support the growth in digital engagement. This need is often driven by consumers who increasing rely on their phones to conduct all types of transactions such as depositing checks, looking at balances and statements, making purchases, and managing their portfolios.


The mainframe represents such a significant part of the IT budget that many organizations explore cutting costs for the mainframe to help fund business transformation. Keep in mind, however, that mainframes play such a critical role as the back-end for most digital environments. So, can you really have it all – fund transformative digital projects and have the mainframe enable digital business success? Yes. You can – by lowering your mainframe Monthly License Charge (MLC) costs, which can represent up to and more than 30 percent of the overall mainframe budget.


Think about it. What if you could cut MLC costs by 20 percent and save thousands or even millions each year, without impacting service delivery? While the capability to reduce MLC costs to this extent and meet budget and service delivery needs might not have been possible a few years ago, recent innovations and new automation have made this option a reality.  You can now meet changing data demands, instantaneous performance expectations, and have the ability to deal with explosive data volume growth. How? The key is to think differently about how to manage MLC costs.

Get Your House and MLC Costs in Order
Analyze and Identify contributors to costs
In many ways, cutting MLC is like lowering the costs to maintain your house. If you want to reduce your annual household expenses to save money or invest in other purchases, you first have to analyze and identify what’s contributing to those costs. Is your gas and electric bill too high? Is your sprinkler system inefficient and increasing your water bill? Are you paying too much for subscription services?


When you apply this same analytical approach to evaluating mainframe expenses, consider using cost analyzer technology to understand on a daily basis what’s driving MLC costs. This approach can provide a granular view of batch jobs and workloads to manage them more efficiently. You can also model changes to see how they impact your MLC costs.

Improve efficiencies
When you think of reducing household costs, explore new ways to take action and improve resource efficiencies. For a house, this could include purchasing energy-efficient appliances. With MLC, this involves using the most efficient system management solutions to reduce the ongoing overhead associated with the mainframe. For example, you can enable CICS, IMS, and DB2 to talk to each other without running on the same logical partition (LPAR). This separation can lead to savings without even changing the application.

Explore capping techniques
For your home, you also might also reduce expenses by setting limits to optimize when certain resources are used. For example, you can set your sprinklers to work only during times that are most efficient and have sensors that detect when they are not needed. With the mainframe, you can explore workload capping techniques to optimize capacity and reduce the peak 4-hour rolling average that drives the monthly bill, without risking performance. You can do this by setting up an automated capping strategy to monitor workload activity.  The solution can adjust caps based on your own workload importance policy to ensure that critical workloads are not delayed. With intelligent capping, there will be no increase to MLC costs due to balancing capacity limits across systems.

Exploit new options for optimizing licenses
As you continue to look at your household expenses, do you have subscriptions for home-related services that you rarely use? Maybe it’s time to cut them out of your budget, consider less-expensive options or use them more efficiently.

With MLC costs, it’s also important to explore new options for optimizing subsystem placement. This can include isolating or reducing subsystem licenses on an LPAR (logical partition). This approach gives you the control and flexibility you need to manage peak Million Service Units (MSUs) for maximum processing and minimum cost. You can balance workloads and control peak usage by selecting alternate systems on which to run the workloads, without modifying the applications. In addition, you can redirect workloads when a subsystem fails, ensuring that the business doesn’t miss a step.

Transform Your Business
MLC costs, like household expenses, can take a big chunk out of your IT budget and make it more challenging to pay for investments in digital engagement--unless you get these costs under control.


Watch a replay of this recorded webinar hosted by IBM® Systems Magazine on October 6, 2015 at noon CT with BMC mainframe experts Neil Blagrave and Nick Pachnos. Learn how companies worldwide are reducing MLC costs and transforming mainframe management practices to meet the changing data, infrastructure, and cost challenges for business success.