A month after introducing the latest generation of its mainframe systems, the Z9, IBM is looking to grow the software support and expertise around it.
At the Share Inc. user conference in Boston this week, IBM will unveil a host of enhanced monitoring and management capabilities that will be available next quarter.
At the same time, IBM and Share will roll out a new mainframe user community aimed at students and younger professionals interested in mainframe programming.
The IBM Tivoli Omegamon zSeries software suite is designed to give users a single, integrated view of systems in their data centers—not only their mainframes but also distributed servers and networks—and an end-to-end management capability, officials said.
The new offerings leverage the capabilities that IBM acquired when it bought Candle Corp. last year and Isogon Corp. this summer. IBM is embedding many of its Tivoli Omegamon features in z/OS—such as Omegamon XE, IBM Tivoli Monitoring, Tivoli Enterprise Console and System Automation—that will automate and simplify many z/OS management tasks.
It will enable users to receive monitoring information graphically via the Health Checker feature, rather than on the current green screen, officials said. It also will give a single, common interface for monitoring—including Tivoli Enterprise Portal—for both hosted and distributed systems, they said.
The new mainframe user group, dubbed zNextGen, will offer programmers and students in their 20s and 30s networking opportunities so they can communicate not only among each other but also with veteran mainframe programmers, said Mike Bliss, director of zSeries technical support for IBM, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Robert Rosen, president of the 20,000-member Share group, said its important to attract new people to the platform. "In the 90s, with all those people saying the mainframe was dead ... it really killed people entering the field," said Rosen, who also is an eWEEK Corporate Partner, in Bethesda, Md.
Thats changing, with demand growing for mainframe programmers, both among businesses running mainframes and others with distributed data centers that are looking for people with mainframe skills, he said.
The zNextGen group dovetails with other IBM efforts to grow mainframe expertise globally. A 2-year-old initiative to work with academic institutions to teach mainframe skills has over 150 schools involved. The programs goal is to create 20,000 mainframe experts by 2010.