Mainframe Blog

How Much Is a Picture Worth?

Ken Chism
2 minute read
Ken Chism

Imagine you are Lead Counsel for a large insurance company and you find out that the images and recordings that you need for your important court case have vanished. Your CIO informs you that thousands of images, recordings and other vital data are lost! Missing. Unretrievable. If you store this type of data in DB2 for z/OS, you could be facing this same issue – and it’s likely you don’t even know it.

A major insurance company found itself in nearly that position. Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in the most dependable computer systems in the world, the mainframe, but critical data had still gone missing.

How could critical data be missing?

The technical teams maintaining the databases for your critical applications are constantly balancing performance and availability. They are doing the best they can under almost untenable circumstances brought on by the onslaught of data in the digital era. Optimized databases deliver faster response times, but the optimization process consumes resources and typically takes the application offline. Databases that contain images, recordings and other non-standard data are even more challenging to optimize.

The technical detail – IBM changed the rules

“I reorg my databases all of the time to keep them optimized – NO PROBLEM,” say most DBAs. But do they do it the way that IBM says to do it? Now that’s a tough question. IBM recommends additional steps to ensure the integrity of the non-standard data like images, recordings, etc. but those extra steps are expensive. They consume additional time, resources and require extended application outages. Who can afford to do that in our resource-constrained, “Always Available” world? For most business critical applications, those outages are too expensive and those recommended steps are skipped.

I got there accidentally

And there you have it. The technical team that is trying to do their best for the company introduces unintended data integrity issues in your most trusted data repository that houses your organization’s most critical data. A simple investigation with one of our customers revealed that over 5,000 images and recordings were in jeopardy, exposing the organization to potentially billions of dollars of liability.

Certainly not me, right?

Are you vulnerable? There are ways to check, but most of the teams responsible for maintaining those databases don’t even realize that they have an issue. So it’s not likely you will find out until it’s too late – unless you take preemptive steps to see if this is an issue for your data and your business. Over half of the companies we have worked with had data integrity issues and didn’t even know it.

An easy way to find out

BMC Software has developed a straightforward process to determine whether your organization is at risk. Call us for an assessment – it’s free. We’ll help.

For more information on the risks facing your data, read the IBM Systems Magazine article: Keep Data Out of Danger

For more information on BMC’s solution that can help you ensure data integrity, visit:

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

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About the author

Ken Chism

Ken Chism

Ken Chism has over 30 years of IT experience in distributed systems and mainframe software, including application development, database administration, technology management, sales and sales management. Ken leverages a consultative approach and has focused much of his career on the organizational impact of technology adoption.