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Jonathan Adams

zIIP-a-dee-do-da

Posted by Jonathan Adams Nov 17, 2009
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zIIPs. I am sure you have heard about them and how they can save you money.

 

They can.

 

But before you jump into the zIIP world, weigh the costs and benefits. Consider whether you can offload MIPS during peak processing times (high return on investment) or during off-peak hours (not so high ROI).

 

Choose vendor software that can help with offloading work to zIIPs. Be sure that the vendor is providing software that is compliant with IBM standards for specialty engines.

 

For more information on zIIPs, see this Q&A with Gary Salazar, BMC IMS architect.

 

Tell us about your experiences with specialty engines.

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

 

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Guest post by Mike Sniezek, Product Manager

 

Can you imagine a computer that could run multiple operating systems and share those resources when and where they were needed? A computer that has virtually unlimited computing and real memory resources and that can be sliced and diced into customized environments? One that is proven to be impervious to computer viruses and be truly available 24 by 7 even when there is a hardware failure? This greenest machine on the planet is known by all as a mainframe.

 

Unfortunately, many in the world of technology have a picture of a colossal piece of IRON spanning entire office floors, manned by dozens of workers huddled over monitors. The truth is you would walk right by a modern mainframe or try to open it thinking it was a refrigerator.

 

The mainframe has become a server for Linux and Java as well as z/OS.  When I hear of the needs of cloud computing, I ask “Has that not already been done?” The mainframe is a mega-server whose power grid consumption is for computing, not cooling. I have seen the blade computing centers and server farms...what I saw was a big room big room full of machines with dozens of technicians huddled over monitors...go figure.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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We have heard a lot of stories about the experienced mainframe workforce shrinking because people are retiring, and we generally think of the retirees as technicians. But what happens when the data center director or CTO retires? A person who did not grow up on the mainframe often gets promoted into that position of authority.

 

Mainframe novices are often intimidated by the mighty mainframe, and executives are no exception. Making the mainframe friendly to executives with no mainframe background is tricky.

 

At first glance, the mainframe appears to be costly in terms of floor space, software, and personnel. Perhaps an experienced mainframe DBA gets a higher salary than a less-experienced distributed systems DBA, but the mainframe DBA is likely to be managing terabytes of data – mission critical data that the day-to-day business depends on.

 

Recently, I heard a director from a large US company lamenting the fact that his executives were anti-mainframe. This attitude exists despite that fact that his environment of 130,000 MIPS which runs most of their business is being maintained and supported by a team of only 60 technicians.

The mainframe may not seem as exciting as a server, but it is definitely faster and more secure. And the sheer amount of transaction processing power is exponentially higher for a mainframe. And the mainframe invented virtualization!

 

Executives may take the mainframe for granted because the mainframe sits there and does its work without a lot of fanfare. As long as everything goes as planned, the executive may not even think about the mainframe until a software bill is due. In the unlikely event of an outage, the executive sees the impact of the mainframe on the bottom line.

 

Share your stories of how you have introduced executives to the mainframe. I’m sure you have some good ones!

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
Jonathan Adams

MACk the knife

Posted by Jonathan Adams Nov 6, 2009
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Surveys, buying patterns, and industry analysts have a lot to say about the future of the mainframe. But for me, nothing beats talking to some of our largest customers about their pain points and plans for the platform – and we did just that last week.

Our annual gathering of executives for BMC’s North America Mainframe Advisory Council (MAC) was, in my opinion, our best yet. The current challenges and opportunities presented by economic pressures, emerging technologies, and converging technologies certainly led to some interesting and informative conversations – providing insights into the features, functions, and future technologies that really matter.

Now, you can’t expect me to spill all the secrets, but I can tell you that they were very specific on where we need to focus if we want to stay ahead of the pack and keep the competition at bay in their shops:

  • Efficiency is king – We need to continue to improve the efficiency of BMC solutions so our customers can further reduce operating costs.
  • Smarter isn’t just better, it’s required – Automation needs to be more and more intelligent (aka, advisor technology).
  • Call me, text me, stay in touch – Solutions need to provide proactive notification of exceptions to help shrinking staff stay on top of growing data and systems. Technicians can’t manually wade through reports to find problems or exceptions that matter.


So…the executives weighed in. Do you agree? Do these priorities align to your business needs? Let me hear from you!

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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Guest post from James Davis, Customer Support Representative

 

Lowering CPU usage and costs are hot ticket items these days. To help reduce CPU usage, vendors and IBM work together to make mainframe processing more efficient. Here is one example.

 

Shared queue monitoring in WebSphere MQ for z/OS involves communication with DB2, and that the resource cost of this communication can be as high as 15% of total CPU utilization. BMC discovered that a "reset queue statistics" command for a private queue causes a query to be executed against DB2 to satisfy the potential for a generic name.  This happens for both shared and private queues, even though private queues have no relationship to DB2. The cost of the unnecessarily executed SQL can be very high, depending on the number of shared queues defined and queues selected for monitoring.

 

BMC reported this issue to IBM, who accepted it as an area for improvement and issued a fix. When the APAR is made generally available, users can expect significant savings if shared queues are present in their monitored environment.

 

By working together, IBM and BMC were able to optimize the interaction between DB2 and WebSphere MQ when resetting queue statistics...and reduce CPU usage for monitoring WebSphere MQ queues by 66%!

 

  The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
Jonathan Adams

Viva Las Vegas

Posted by Jonathan Adams Nov 1, 2009
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Guest post from Mike Jones, BMC Software Product Manager

 

Here's a quick update from the 2009 IBM IOD Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

 

The conference started in earnest on Monday morning with a keynote attended by approximately 2000-2500 folks. Hosted by IBM executives Ambuj Goyal and Arvind Krishna, the entertaining session incorporated music, comedy, marketing and customers with a little bit of everything. It appears that close to 50% of the conference attendees are IBM employees of one type or another, and all divisions are represented. I would say 40% of the remaining attendees are customers and the remaining 10% are other vendors or partners.

 

I have been attending some of the many DB2 tracks; at times, I have had to choose from 2-5 sessions running simultaneously. Some sessions have been hands-on labs of IBM tools.  The attendance in the DB2 sessions I attended has been between 30-80 people per session, so I would estimate that approximately 500 people here interested in DB2 on the Z platform. Using the percentage breakouts above, that would mean about 200 DB2 Z customers are here. These are very rough approximations.  Other BMC employees have attended the IMS tracks.

 

Almost 200 people visited the BMC booth in the Expo Center, and we hosted a dinner with about 125 BMC customers.

 

Overall, the conference was a success. While it was more intimate than in years past, we had the opportunity to speak to many customers and prospects to find out what we can do to improve our offerings.

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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