Mainframe Blog

How Ready Are Mainframers for the Coming Perfect Storm?

Jay Lipovich
by Jay Lipovich

In an August 15, 2018 IBM Systems Webinar, attendees learned about the “perfect storm” looming for mainframe capacity planning. After hearing about the looming threats, they were asked how ready they felt their organizations were to weather the coming storm. Here are the responses: (66 of the attendees participated in the poll):

  • 80% of respondents expect to have some issues, ranging from “rough spots” to “disruptions.”
  • 15% said “Not sure where we are” with capacity planning in the face of the storm.
  • Only 5% responded “Ready to handle whatever comes.”

Although a small sample set, their responses beg the question: So what’s going on with capacity planning for the mainframe?

Mainframe Capacity Planning has for years been accomplished by experienced technicians applying their institutional knowledge to develop growth forecasts and capacity plans. In most cases, their approaches have relied on trending, and while it may not accurately reflect the service levels that must be met, organizations have used “white space” or “extra safety margin” to provide a capacity cushion for service level needs.

But as mainframes increasingly are targeted for replacement on the basis of cost, the capacity planning practice of over-provisioning to make up for imprecision becomes untenable.

If this is not bad enough, there is the looming “perfect storm” about to make landfall on mainframe capacity planning:

  • Digital Disruption – dramatically increasing volume, velocity and volatility
  • Complexity of Choices – from hardware that can encompass data encryption to a growing number of software licensing options such as containers.
  • Brain Drain – as the experienced capacity planners actually retire, taking with them their institutional knowledge and understanding of the spreadsheets and SAS code they created to support their capacity trending.

If your organization is part of the 95% who are not ready for the storm, there are some things you can do to weatherproof your mainframe capacity planning. In my next blog, I will discuss the twelve actions that can ensure mainframe capacity planning success.

You may view a recording of the IBM Systems Magazine webinar, “Managing Your Mainframe Perfect Storm” here: https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1196630&tp_key=8feb99b1ef

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

About the author

Jay Lipovich

Jay Lipovich

G. Jay Lipovich is a Principal Product Manager for mainframe systems management and cost optimization at BMC Software. He has many years’ experience in the design and development of strategies and solutions for infrastructure and data management. This includes design strategy and performance evaluation for a mainframe hardware vendor; infrastructure performance consulting for industry and US government agencies; and design and development of strategies and solutions for infrastructure management solutions. He has published numerous articles in trade journals defining approaches to infrastructure performance management and cost optimization. Mr. Lipovich is ITIL Foundation and CDE certified.