CA Improves Database Flexibility on IBM Mainframes

As part of its umbrella Mainframe 2.0 initiative, CA is offering a new Datacom release that makes it easier for enterprises to move production database workloads onto the IBM zIIP specialty processor, improving the database performance while not impacting the capacity of the mainframe general-purpose processor. The rollout is the latest move in CA's aggressive push around its mainframe management software portfolio, and comes at a time when mainframes are seeing a resurgence. Unisys also recently upgraded its ClearPath lines of mainframes.

CA is continuing its rapid rollout of mainframe software solutions, most recently with an enhanced offering that will enable enterprises to move database workloads onto IBM's zIIP specialty processor.

The release of CA Datacom r12 is part of CA's larger Mainframe 2.0 strategy, designed to offer a vast array of mainframe software products to entice enterprises either onto the platform or to give mainframe users more tools. CA's initiative also is to attract younger programmers to mainframes as a career choice.

The mainframe industry has seen a resurgence in recent years, with IBM's System z continuing to expand, Unisys seeing a steady demand for its offerings, and software makers like CA and BMC Software growing their mainframe management software portfolios.

CA expects the demand for mainframe hardware and software to continue growing, according to Mark Combs, senior vice president of CA's Mainframe Business Unit.

"As a result of ongoing investments by CA and IBM, the mainframe has regained its position as the most compelling platform for the delivery of reliable, secure, high-performance IT services," Combs said in a statement.

CA's Datacom r12, released June 1, and IDMS r17 both let users unload their production database workloads to the zIIP specialty processor, which is designed to improve software performance without hindering capacity of the mainframe's general processor. Among the database jobs that Datacom r12 and IDMS r17 can move to the specialty processor are those generated by online transaction systems, batch processing tasks and requests from distributed platforms, according to CA.

CA officials said Datacom r12 is the 14th solution in its Mainframe 2.0 offerings that takes advantage of the zIIP specialty processor. It also offers a host of other features, including a multi-dataset index for better index processing and new Autoscape performance metric tools for better performance monitoring and tuning.

CA's Mainframe Software Manager automates Datacom acquisition and installation for users. In addition, CA offers a best practices guide that helps IT administrations learn about the solution.

Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research, said CA's Datacom r12 gives IBM mainframe users greater flexibility in the way they deal with their database workloads.

"That stands as a notable tactical benefit, but it also signals the degree to which CA is successfully leveraging IBM's continuing mainframe research and development," King said in a report issued June 3. "By carefully aligning its efforts with those of IBM, CA is helping its customers capture additional value from their database resources and increase the returns they receive from their mainframe investments."

In early May, CA upgraded 143 of 166 mainframe management offerings, the first significant step in the Mainframe 2.0 push. Later in May, the company offered an enhanced solution for improving compliance on the mainframes.

For its part, Unisys in May upgraded several of its ClearPath mainframe Dorado and Libra systems.