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BMC AMI Capacity and Cost

10 Posts authored by: Jay Lipovich Employee
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Cost Analyzer Release 1.2 extends the benefit of MLC cost management to executives.  Management dashboards provide a transparent and insightful view of MLC costs versus budget, and historical perspective which can be used to manage down the cost of MLC software.

 

A new Software contract reporting tool revolutionizes cost utilization reporting.  This new tool in Cost Analyzer provides a comprehensive look at your cost data from the perspective of both your actual usage and your projected spending for the entire duration of the contract.  Both historical and projected monthly MLC data can also be compared against budgeted allocations.

 

The Software Contract Summary Report is a dashboard that
highlights:

  • Current and projected contract cost summary
  • Average MSUs used over time
  • MLC costs by billing month, both historical and projected
  • Cost variance from budget by billing month, for historical and projected months

      

Active linkages enable drilling down from the dashboard reports to see primary cost drivers, such as LPARs, MLC products and workloads.  There is also an MLC cost management effectiveness metric for tracking how you are doing in optimizing your MLC spend.

 

More enhancement details are available in the release notes, and in a quick course video on the management reporting dashboard.

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Because MLC costs are determined by the peak rolling 4 hour average (R4HA), and peak cycles are typically regular and known, it is possible to conclude that on-going regular MLC examination and reporting would have little value.  So MLC management may be mistakenly viewed as a once a month, or even once a year activity.  But there are situations where regular use of Cost Analyzer will lead to a proactive effort that spots and mitigates MLC cost issues before they create problems.

 

Five ways to provide value through regular cost management reporting:

  1. If the peak R4HA spikes unexpectedly, it may signal unusual activity that would qualify for exclusion from the SCRT report and the subsequent bill.  Any EXCLUDE requests must be made when the SCRT report is submitted, so it is vital to be regularly viewing peak R4HA activity to spot such an occurrence.  If such an excludable event occurs and is identified, this type of effort will result in cost savings the next month.
  2. Unexpected activity that does not qualify for an EXCLUDE exception could drive up peak usage and impact budget.  With regular reporting you will spot, and be in a position to diagnose and treat, the activity to mitigate the cost and budget impacts.
  3. Regular reporting which includes the new MLC Cost Efficiency Index enables you to gauge the effectiveness of MLC cost reduction efforts – and report to management how well you have been doing.
  4. The new management dashboard delivered in CAZE 1.2 forms the basis of regular reporting that IT management will find particularly interesting, including actual versus budget variance reports, and historical views of MLC costs and cost drivers.
  5. Regularly reporting the projected future status of MLC costs and budgets will let you proactively initiate actions to reduce costs and pull cost back in line with budgets.

         

Check out the new capabilities in Cost Analyzer 1.2, and view the new video Quick Course on it.

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Capacity planners have been plying their trade for mainframes for so long, and so well, that it may seem like there is nothing new to be added.  But the changing IT imperatives, driven by cost optimization, is opening us new opportunities for adding a fresh set of activities to capacity planning. This opens up a new opportunity for capacity planning professionals to increase the value of the work they do for their organizations.  ITIL descriptions of the capacity management process frequently note the need for cost information as part of the process.  MLC software charges are a great example of cost information which, if integrated into capacity plans, could substantially help IT and raise the value of what capacity planning brings to the table. In many cases, the roadblock that constrains such progress is the complexity of the MLC cost data.  Overcome this barrier, and capacity planners can deliver planning information not only for MIPS and utilization, but also for the cost impacts of capacity changes.

 

Here is some help for capacity planners who want to elevate their game. Read the white paper  “MLC Software Costs – A New Opportunity for Capacity Planners” to learn how to get MLC cost information into your planning process.  

http://www.bmc.com/forms/MCO-R4-CAZE-CapacityPlannerWP-Email-Q2FY15.html?em126488951913ew&Email_Source=MoM

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(With apologies to the poet...)

Reducing MLC software costs is the number one priority for mainframe users who responded to the BMC 2014 Annual Mainframe Survey.  Over 1,100 respondents said lowering their MLC costs is the top priority for the next year.   As the single largest mainframe budget item, MLC costs are typically 30% to 40% of the total mainframe budget.  This can be an opportunity for IT to reduce total mainframe costs, but reducing MLC costs is challenging.  Some may not believe it is even possible.  The fact is, most mainframe sites can reduce MLC costs by as much as 20% or more.

 

There are five actions IT can take to manage down MLC costs:

  1. Understand and report on the MLC cost base
  2. Model the cost impact of cost-reducing
    alternatives
  3. Maximize savings with capping
  4. Optimize subsystem placement
  5. Tune workloads running during peak

         

For a detailed description of the five levers, along with examples of what can be achieved, read the white paper “Five Levers to
Lower Mainframe MLC Costs While Mitigating Risk” here   http://www.bmc.com/forms/MCO-R4-LowerMFMLCCostswhileMitigatingRisk-WP.html?CID=em315920663303ew&Email_Source=MoM

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I.T. works hard to optimize the use of resources and delivery of services.  They make intentional decisions designed to reduce the cost of mainframe operations and prioritize high-value applications.  In many cases the decisions are based on a solid understanding of what work is important and the nature of the processing cycles for the organization.  So the results should align with the careful planning and deep understandings – right?

 

But sometimes, complexity can muddy the clear waters of understanding.  When this happens, unexpected consequences can follow.  But the consequences may not be apparent, unless you view the circumstance in a different way.

 

This was the case for one company who had scheduled data base maintenance utilities to begin running at 6:00pm, after the completion of the prime-shift work that drives peak utilization, and the peak Rolling 4 Hour Average (R4HA) used to determine MLC monthly billing.  This was a sound business practice, a result of knowledge of the processing needs and cycles.  So everything should have been fine.

 

But as the company began to view reports from BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprize, they saw an unexpected result.  Although the data base utility work started after online peaks, the utilization started in an hour that was part of the R4HA calculation, and therefore was driving up the peak value, and the costs.  Seeing this dramatically displayed in the Cost Analyzer report pointed out an unintended cost impact, which they might not have realized without the reporting they received from Cost Analyzer.  Once they saw the result of their utility work scheduling, they delayed it by an hour and reduced impact on the R4HA and associated costs.

 

So as you manage your activity to minimize the R4HA peaks, it will help to take a different view – such as that provided by Cost Analyzer
for zEnterprise.

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The newest release of BMC’s patent pending solution for managing MLC costs has been enhanced to deliver even more actionable information that can help you reduce your monthly MLC costs in two key areas:

  1. More detail on the workloads driving MLC peak usage;
  2. Increased number of MLC cost models and options.

Peak workload detail

Release 1.1 delivers more detail on what work is driving MLC peak usage.  New Workload breakdowns now available include:

  • Workloads by Importance,
  • Workloads by Service Classes,
  • Workloads by WLM Policy,
  • Workloads by Subsystem Address Spaces,
  • Workloads by Suites.  Suites are user-chosen groupings of batch work into meaningful units that may be aligned with business processes.

Enhanced range of licensing models

This release also expands the types of MLC licensing models recognized and represented in Cost Analyzer, to include zNALC, AWLC, AEWLC, EWLC, FWLC, along with Single Version, NO89 support, and LPAR Excludes.

Priced Features of licensed products (such as RMF as a feature of z/OS) have also been included in this release as well as support for Sysplex Pricing (or PricePlex).

These license model enhancements enable Cost Analyzer to deliver a close match to the MLC billing you are receiving from IBM.

BMC Costs Analyzer for zEnterprise release 1.1 was GA on November 27, 2013.  More information, including Release Notes, is available on the BMC Support site http://www.bmc.com/support (login required).

For more information on BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise, visit our MLC Cost Reduction pages at http://www.bmc.com/solutions/mainframe-cost-optimization/mainframe-cost-optimization-how-we-help.html

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IBM MLC charges are the single largest mainframe budget item, accounting for 1/3 or more of all mainframe costs.  MLC pricing is complex, and it can be challenging to know how to approach an MLC cost-reduction effort.

 

BMC has engaged industry expert David Wilson to provide a video training series on a 10 step process for reducing MLC costs.  There is an Introductory video in which David discusses the genesis of his work on reducing MLC costs and initial ideas about what is needed.  He then presents more detail on the 10 steps process in a series of three instructional videos.

 

If you have been tasked with trying to manage MLC costs, or if you just want to better understand the cost management options, view the videos to get advice from an expert on what you can do and how to approach it.

 

All of the videos are available at http://www.bmc.com/videos/232214431.html

 

More information on BMC MLC Cost Reduction offerings can be found on the web at http://www.bmc.com/solutions/mainframe-cost-optimization/mainframe-cost-optimization-how-we-help.html

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MLC costs are the single biggest mainframe budget item, and at 30%-35% of the budget it begs for cost management.  But reducing MLC costs is a complex undertaking, with little in the way of guidance or tooling - at least until now.  Industry MLC cost reduction expert David Wilson presented a 10 Step process for reducing MLC costs in a September 12 webinar.  In just one hour he explained what is necessary to take control of the MLC cost juggernaut.  You can view the recorded webinar here: http://go.bmc.com/forms/WBNR_MCO_R4_BestPracticeCutMLCCost

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What do you do when your home electric bill gets too large – say like 1/3 of your monthly household costs?  You likely start to look for things to unplug, thermostats to adjust, lights to turn off.  Then you wait for next month’s bill to see if you reduced the bill, without doing collateral damage (like turning off the dehumidifier only to find mold growing on most of the items in your basement.)

 

IT has the same challenge, and can take the same kinds of actions, to manage their monthly mainframe MLC costs. Except, MLC costs are not anywhere near as straightforward as kwh electric bills.  And, the collateral damage from doing the wrong thing can be a whole lot worse for IT than a little bit of mold in the basement.  No, if IT is going to play the electric bill game with the level of scrutiny and governance that characterizes all other mainframe activities, then they are going to need some serious, heavyweight software assistance, along with a best practice approach. 

 

The good news for IT and the business is that BMC Software just released what IT has needed to be able to confidently attack and reduce the MLC costs.  Read more about MLC Cost Reduction and BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise on the Mainframe Cost Optimization web pages at the following url: http://www.bmc.com/solutions/mainframe-cost-optimization/#tab-MLC-SoftwareCost-Management

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Imagine that your home electric bill is nearly 1/3 of your total monthly household costs.  After you are revived from opening your latest bill, you probably start thinking you need to do something to reduce the bill and save some dough.  But then you wonder: what actions can I take that will matter?  How do I know how much I will save if I turn off the computer each night?  What things might be driving the highest costs?  Unfortunately, the electric company doesn’t provide that level of detail, so it’s either try it and see, or live with it.

 

Mainframe costs are a lot like your out of control electric bill.  MLC software costs alone are nearly 1/3 of total costs.  Since mainframe costs are a BIG focus for executives and finance, you probably have thought about how you might reduce those MLC costs.  But, like the electric bill dilemma, it’s not easy to determine whether you can save anything, or if so, if it is enough to make a difference.

 

Here’s a starting point: it’s called the MLC Savings Calculator.  It lets you try cost-saving scenarios that would result in reducing your MLC costs – and it estimates just how much you might save.  With the MLC Savings Calculator, you can get some ideas of ways to save, how much other IT sites have been able to achieve, and what the savings would do to reduce your MLC charges.  Try it out – it’s free.  You can even email the results to yourself, or to others who share your cost burden.  Brighten their mainframe outlook too. You can access it here: http://mlc.bmcassessments.com/

 

MLC Calc Entry Page.png

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