CA Releases Mainframe Chorus GUI for IBM DB2 Management

Seven months after announcing CA Mainframe Chorus, a graphical interface that simplifies mainframe management, CA Technologies said a version of the interface for IBM DB2 databases is now available.

Pushing ahead with its mainframe strategy, CA Technologies said on Dec. 6 that the first CA Mainframe Chorus workspace is available to customers.

Originally announced in May, CA Mainframe Chorus provides management capabilities and improvements designed to make mainframe management simpler and more efficient for administrators, CA said. Part of the Mainframe 2.0 initiative introduced in 2009, the tools are intended to simplify working with these systems, as well as to attract and train a new cadre of skilled mainframe employees.

Organizations have to control costs, increase productivity, and "enhance the agility" of the platform, said Dayton Semerjian, general manager of the mainframe group at CA. In a recent mainframe study sponsored by CA, researchers found that organizations are worried about the shrinking pool of skilled mainframe professionals, with 44 percent of surveyed companies said they were "grappling" with staffing issues.

CA Mainframe Chorus reduces time and effort required to securely manage the mainframe environment, which improves productivity and service levels, said CA. The system also allows IT employees to troubleshoot and identify problems more quickly thanks to an intuitive graphic user interface and online collaboration capabilities such as activity capture, CA said. IT administrators can use data visualization to compare historical data, according to the company.

Chorus is also designed to reduce the learning curve for employees being trained on the mainframe, CA said. The visual interface also provides context-sensitive help and tools, to make the tool more accessible for newer mainframe employees, according to CA.

CA Mainframe Chorus addresses all the challenges by simplifying management "through integration, automation, and modernization," said Semerjian.

As promised, the first specialized version of the graphical interface is for IBM's DB2 database. Mainframe Chorus for DB2 Database Management brings together features from seven individual CA database management tools supporting IBM DB2 databases and z/OS, including Detector, Insight Performance Monitor, Plan Analyzer, and Subsystem Analyzer, the company said.

Mainframe Chorus for DB2 also allows IT departments to optimize DB2 for z/OS performance by proactively monitoring thresholds and alerts that help data center managers to identify and resolve bottlenecks promptly. The data visualization capabilities also lets IT administrators display historical data to predict trends, CA said.

Instead of complicated coding, Mainframe Chorus offers roles, or workspaces organized by job function. With the release of DB2 Management, Security is the next expected role for CA Mainframe Chorus. CA with follow up editions for storage and workload automation, a CA spokesperson told eWEEK.

Mainframes have been the mainstay of enterprise computing for the past four decades and a significant majority of organizations still consider mainframes to be an important part of their cloud computing strategy, according to another CA mainframe study. The characteristics that make a cloud strategy successful are the same characteristics that make mainframes successful, said Semerjian.

With the Mainframe academy and Mainframe 2.0, CA aims to simplify, automate, and modernize mainframe management. "With CA Mainframe Chorus, we are offering our customers a way to increase the leverage of their existing IT staffs, so their entire team can effectively assume mainframe responsibilities," said Semerjian.