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Guest post by Neil Blagrave, Product Manager, BMC Software


First in a series on avoiding the war room

Capacity planners face several challenges:


  • Less-experienced staff members have limited knowledge of performance metrics. The workforce is aging, and skilled personnel are retiring or moving to new jobs. Often capacity planners are replaced by individuals who have little or no background in capacity management and who have primary responsibilities elsewhere. The challenge is to find ways to work around this insufficiency of experience, perspective, and time.


  • The avalanche of performance data makes it difficult to find and analyze the appropriate data. Ironically, most IT staffs collect and store too much performance data. The key is to collect the right data and to analyze it correctly. Tool vendors typically offer little help in this area – they usually leave it up to you to figure out what data you should be looking for.


  • Because data is often collected in technology silos, it has a silo point of view: IMS data, CICS data, DB2 data, z/OS data, and so on. You need a holistic view of the entire IT infrastructure.


By using best practices, you can more accurately predict how changes to IT infrastructure will affect applications and the business in general. You can make better informed decisions, minimize the risk of  unplanned outages, and spend more wisely.

Perhaps most importantly, you can avoid appearing in the war room. Like a primary-care physician, you are the generalist who helps the specialists. You are the expert with the integrated, system-wide data that identifies who can solve a problem. With better planning, you can reduce the frequency and duration of war rooms. Both moves will help your career.

Take a holistic approach to capacity management. Look at the performance metrics that matter most. Forecast potential capacity exceptions and when they may occur. Make predictive models showing how metrics such as response times will be affected by changes to the application or infrastructure.

Bridge the technology silos
It’s important to determine how the technology silos are related. A change in one silo may affect the others, and the silos probably share resources.
Consider the simple case of CICS-based applications accessing a DB2 subsystem running in the same LPAR or in the same sysplex. If the CPU utilization of CICS increases, what is the impact on DB2 performance? What is the impact, if any, on the I/O subsystem? What is the impact on the other applications or batch workloads running on the sysplex? A holistic approach ensures that you consider the system inter-relationships when you analyze performance and capacity trends.

In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss taking an application view of capacity management and how capacity planning affects the business.

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

Let 'er zIIP

Posted by Jonathan Adams May 20, 2010
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Guest post by Rick Weaver, Product Manager


IBM originallydeveloped zIIP engines to process certain enclave SRB work outside the generalpurpose CPU. Using zIIP engines can provide savings because moving work to azIIP may delay a costly general processor upgrades and associated licensecharges.


BMC has enhancedseveral BMC products for DB2 on z/OS to exploit zIIP engines.


Click here to see a list of supported products.


Happy zIIPing!


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I'm having a lot of fun with my new iPad. I have read e-books (mostly when I travel), have watched a few movies and “Mad Men” episodes.  My son has even loaded a bunch of my CDs into the iPod portion and I can now web surf while listening to the Doobie Brothers. The iPad is cool and attracts attention. But…

I also think that the iPad, or the tablet devices that will surface soon as competitive responses to it from HP, and others vendors will play a role in the evolution and modernization of corporate IT. Yes, I have used my iPad for email, and have even worked with attachments and documents in Word, Excel, PPT, and PDF formats. But what about the real-time important stuff? Can the iPad do that, and if so, does it offer some new advantage to a desktop or a laptop? Personally, I envision a role for these tablet devices in mobile computing and in particular, the 24x7 on-call support that so many of us provide or have provided to our organizations through the years.

So, to try it for myself,  I decided to try to connect to our BMC products running on our z10 mainframe from my iPad and see if I could monitor and manage a running z/OS system.  I quickly learned that the I could not run our MainView Explorer thin client since the iPad doesn’t support JAVA (see all the noise about that on the Apple development sites…)

Not to be deterred, I searched around and found the iPad compatible TN3270 client from MochaSoft. I tried the Lite (free) version first. It was a little awkward, but I was able to connect and navigate into TSO and some of the MainView screens/views. (Alert, alert - a manager in the code.)


Navigating out was problematic.  There was no PF3….no function keys whatsoever.  And by the way…who types EXIT???  I had to think a minute or two before I remembered that as an option.

Buying the ‘full-function’ version solved the navigation problems. For $29.99, I got function keys and a few additional bells and whistles.  I logged into our production system, brought up MainView for z/OS, looked at the jobs taking the most CPU, and yes, could have taken action on any of those jobs had it been necessary. The iPad’s 3270 touchpad keyboard interface is still a little clunky, but it’s more than adequate for call-out support. I can easily see the iPad saving a technician’s dinner out on a Friday night, or the golf game on a Saturday. No need to look like a geek and carry a laptop into the restaurant, or spend time on the cell phone walking through the parking lot while trying to talk a junior (or ahem, distributed) person through a diagnosis and correction. Simply connect with the iPad and work the problem quickly. It’s socially acceptable because of its cool factor.

For daily, heavy duty use, the iPad would not replace a regular desktop or laptop, but that’s not its claim to fame anyway.  For a combination of portability and screen size, it’s perfect.

How do you envision the intersection of the mainframe and mobile devices?





Jonathan Adams

Oil on the water

Posted by Jonathan Adams May 7, 2010
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The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico hammers home the fact that every operation must have a solid set of disaster and contingency plans. You never know when or how disaster will strike, but you need to be ready when it does. Not having a valid and frequently tested solution can be catastrophic.


I grew up in the South and often visit the beaches in LA (lower Alabama). This oil leak has a personal affect on me, as I will be able to see and smell the damage. My family had already booked our annual trip for June 23rd-30th - before the BP well explosion.


At BMC, we have contingency plans. We test them often through both physical and simulated exercises.  We know that they work because we got through Hurricane Ike a few years ago without a glitch.


What are your contingency plans?

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