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.
The current command line interface used to manage mainframe operating environment through IBMs Interactive System Productivity Facility (ISPF) is far from intuitive, Guidry said. And other methods of simplifying the “green screen” interface, such as screen scraping, cant provide the same degree of intuitive interaction.
To provide such interaction, BMC created a run-time component system infrastructure using Simple Object Access Protocol and eXtensible Markup Language that allows system developers to access management functions through Web services.
Follow-on products in the System Advisor family include new Configuration Advisors and Application Advisors. Configuration Advisors, which will include some 20 new tools, will help system engineers to configure and administer the complexities of managing zSeries components.
The Application Advisors, which will include three new tools, will provide service-level management for z/OS applications. The tools will provide monitoring and measurement to track service levels for z/OS applications.
“They can tell you these are the thresholds you set, tell you are meeting your targets and if not, what to do about it. Next we want to map those service level agreements in technology terms to the business services those agreements cover,” explained Guidry.
Separately, BMC made several enhancements to its Mainview mainframe operations line, including its Mainview for IP, Mainview AutoOPERATOR for OS/390, Mainview AutoOPERATOR for SAP High Availability and Mainview Storage Resource Manager.
The new MainView AutoOPERATOR for SAP High Availability combines Patrol for SAP with Mainview Unix System Services to monitor SAP processes running on the z/OS platform. In the event of an outage, it dynamically reactivates the processes on another system image. It includes a major new component, dubbed the Total Object Manager, which allows system programmers to manage divergent objects such as message queues, Unix processes and z/OS jobs, and to define the inter-relationships between those objects and ensure they are running in concert with each other.
Mainview for IP, which monitors and manages the availability, throughput and tuning of TCP/IP applications, adds the ability to prioritize the workloads being transmitted through an IP connection.