BMC Software is preparing a host of new products designed to meet the growing need of mainframe users for more and easier management capabilities.
The new offerings, announced June 16, are the latest moves by the Houston-based software company to expand the reach of its mainframe business, which Bill Miller, vice president and general manager of mainframe service management for BMC, said is worth about $650 million to the company.
“Mainframes are still critical to our customers,” Miller said in an interview with eWEEK in Boston. “Our customers still want what the mainframes bring, in terms of availability [and] reliability.”
A recent survey by BMC of 600 midsize and large customers indicated that users were still willing to invest in the mainframe architecture, in particular management software revolving around storage, replication and data movement, and database archiving.
Key investments areas include database performance, root cause analysis and compliance, which not only includes data security but also change management, Miller said.
All of this is with the goal of improving the processes while reducing costs. BMC is looking to bring out management software that helps do just that, he said.
“Weve been good when theres a problem,” Miller said. “Now we work in a more predictive world in BSM [business service management].”
BSM is a strategy designed to more tightly align business and IT—how the two impact one another, and how to translate business goals into IT goals.
To that end, BMC is integrating Backup and Recovery Solution for IMS (information management system) into its Web-based console, enabling database administrators to quickly identify and solve data-recovery problems.
In addition, BMC also is rolling out Impact Integration for z/OS, which will send data about events in the mainframe environment into BMCs Service Impact Manager, and thereby help users understand how those events impact a companys business.
Both the backup and recovery capability and the root cause product are available immediately. “Its all about determining root cause quickly and efficiently,” Miller said.
BMC in July will launch two new encryption features, Image Copy Plus for DB2 and Recovery Plus for DB2, which will allow DBAs to encrypt and decrypt data to offsite locations without having to worry about security. More encryption capabilities will roll out in December 2006.
Also, Mainview AutoOperator will automatically fix problems caused by events before a response is needed from the help desk.
Later in 2006, BMC will unveil new features for topology discovery, which will discover mainframe assets and ensure that their relationships with other IT resources are kept up-to-date through change management.
BMC also will update its CMDB (change management database) by the end of 2006.
Transaction management capabilities for the mainframe also will be enhanced, with MQ support coming in the fall of 2006 and WebSphere support in 2007.
A Commitment to Mainframe
For the midrange, BMC also will offer a suite of products to analyst DB2 and CICS transactions, with a starting price of $40,000.
In addition, Mainview Transaction Analyzer will see more platform support and enhancements. The product helps pinpoint problems in the system.
Also within the next 12 months, BMC will integrate its Atrium CMDB with its Batch Impact Manager, which monitors and reports business services tied to batch processes.
The announcements follow other BMC efforts to increase its mainframe commitment. Miller said that over the past few months, the company has created a centralized mainframe organization, complete with its own sales and services staffs, and has started taking a more vertical focus on the mainframe space.
The goal is to gain a greater share of the mainframe software market, which, while growth is somewhat flat, is still large and still represents a significant opportunity, Miller said.
Indeed, the mainframe market seems stronger than many industry observers would have expected even a few years ago, when they were predicting the architectures demise.
According to BMCs survey, 56 percent of those polled reported a growth in the MIPS (million instructions per second), with 41 percent pointing to new applications as a key reason for the growth.
IBM, the top mainframe vendor, has also seen growth, with the total delivery of MIPS jumping 22 percent in the first quarter of 2006, though revenues in the mainframe business declined 6 percent.
Other companies are looking to get a piece of the mainframe market. Platform Solutions, a company comprising ex-Amdahl and IBM executives, is looking to launch a mainframe based on Intels Itanium processor, starting with the upcoming dual-core “Montecito” chip.
Robert Rosen, president of the IBM user group SHARE, said users are happy with what theyve seen IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., do with the platform, including rolling out the System z9 Business Class mainframe for the midrange market, with a starting price tag of about $100,000.
“Its still very viable,” said Rosen, in Bethesda, Md. “Its not a dead end. Its still going strong.”
Merrill Lynch, the New York investment firm, has been using IBM mainframes and BMC management software for decades, and isnt about to change now, said Tony Lotito, first vice president for enterprise computing services at the company.
“Reliability has become very important,” Lotito said. “Also, a lot of legacy code has been written [for the mainframe], and it would be a tremendous effort to put that on a distributed environment.”
Merrill Lynch runs its key transaction and internal processes on the mainframes, and relies on BMCs Mainview software to monitor and manage the environment.