BMC Aims to Ease Mainframe Management

New tools designed to help IT lower TCO for IBM z/Series mainframes and ease management of z/OS and OS/390 systems.

BMC Software Inc. is betting that mainframes will not be replaced by distributed systems anytime soon, even as the shortage of Assembler expertise increases.

The Houston, Texas-based company on Monday will outline its strategy to help IT lower the total cost of ownership for IBM z/Series mainframes and increase the productivity of mainframe system programmers by bringing simpler management to z/OS and OS/390 systems.

"We want to make sure we can lower TCO by allowing for the shortage in skill sets to disappear by incorporating standard functions in the systems management space," said Calvin Guidry, vice president and general manager for BMCs enterprise systems management business unit in Houston. "We want to be able to manage file systems the same way and get the same results, regardless if it is HP hardware, Suns Solaris or the zSeries running z/OS," he added.

Toward that end, BMC will announce the new System Advisor family of integrated configuration and management tools that "componentize" low-level operating system services and mask the complexity of the mainframe operating system with a common look and feel, Guidry said.

The foundation product in the new family, the System Explorer for z/OS, provides a Java-based graphical interface similar to the Windows Explorer that provides a drag-and-drop interaction with basic management functions, such as managing and editing files, moving data sets, submitting jobs and scheduling output.

Within the System Explorer, BMC embedded a message screen that includes BMCs knowledge about a particular function that the operator wishes to execute. "It provides text and expert advice to the end user. You right click on it and navigate through hyperlinks in the pop-up facility," described Will Bauman, vice president of BMCs Mainview product line in San Jose, Calif. The System Advisor will act as a plug-in for other System Advisor products that will follow.