Mainframe Blog

Why It’s Time to Re-think Mainframe Performance Management

Paul Vallely
John McKenny
3 minute read
Paul Vallely, John McKenny

The mainframe is arguably the most cost-effective platform for the bigger, faster, always available demands of digital business. Yet despite its central role at large enterprises, many IT leaders are disinvesting in mainframe performance management. This is in part because the extraordinary performance and efficiency of the platform has lulled them into believing they don’t need to focus there.

But it’s time to re-invest in mainframe performance management. Here’s why:

Mainframe performance and the customer experience

Three factors require enterprise IT leaders to take a fresh look at mainframe performance:

  1. Impact on speed of mobile applications. It is estimated that 91 percent of all new customer facing apps and 55 percent of all enterprise applications will touch a mainframe. This means that even relatively small improvements in mainframe application performance can have significant impact on the customer’s mobile/web experience.
  2. Staggering increases in data. Digital business is creating huge amounts of customer and transactional data, which can significantly degrade application performance if not properly maintained.
  3. More frequent mainframe code changes. To remain competitively nimble, enterprises are bringing Agile development culture to their mainframes. IT must validate and re-tune performance with every new code release—especially when changes are made to database structures— to ensure that these updates don’t adversely impact the customer experience.

The bottom line: Mainframe application performance is no longer a matter of “set it and forget it.” In today’s highly dynamic digital environments, enterprise IT must be more attentive to that performance than ever.

New DevOps solutions for new mainframe challenges

BMC and Compuware are working together to help enterprises successfully address these new demands on mainframe performance across the application lifecycle. BMC’s solution suite provides a comprehensive set of database and systems management tools. BMC’s MainView Systems Management can proactively and automatically find, fix and log issues impacting performance that occur in z/OS, CICS, IMS TM, Java, MQ, DB2, IMS DB and Storage. Compuware Strobe can pinpoint application inefficiencies that cause excessive CPU consumption.

Leveraging the integration between MainView and Strobe, IT departments can transform data into actionable intelligence. Once MainView identifies a problem, it automatically initiates a Strobe measurement for a deeper dive to discover subtle inefficiencies such as problematic database calls or DB2 services that can drive excessive wait-times.

In today’s digital world, rapid application changes require frequent changes to your database structures. BMC Database Administration Solutions for DB2 enables easy and rapid database changes and provides powerful automation to easily propagate the desired changes. Additionally, BMC NGT Solutions for DB2 automates continuous database maintenance to keep databases performing at optimal levels enabling high performance of your applications.

BMC Performance Solutions for DB2 can identify poorly performing, applications, programs and statements and can analyze and recommend new DB2 Index strategies and SQL changes that will result in improved performance.

But there’s more to performance management than just spotting and fixing problems. For example, if you discover an issue via Strobe, you may want to create a case ticket in JIRA Software so that you can get the right developer working on a fix ASAP. You’ll also want to periodically aggregate those tickets so you can determine where your performance problems are originating. That way, you can get to the root of your problem—instead of always performing reactive fixes.

This is where integrations between BMC, Compuware and popular third-party tools such as JIRA Software and Jenkins are important. Through these integrations, you can create modern DevOps workflows that enable developers, QA staff, database admins, and ops staff to effectively collaborate across mainframe, distributed and cloud environments. That way, your performance management can be as cross-platform as your applications are.

Leadership + technology = success

Of course, it takes more than technology to achieve consistently excellent customer experiences. Compuware, BMC and our other partners can develop next-generation mainframe performance management tools. But enterprise IT leaders are the ones who have to invest in those tools and build cultures that foster collaboration and automation, rather than finger-pointing and “hero” behaviors.

That’s why enterprise IT leaders must take the initiative and re-invest in mainframe performance management. It’s time for new tools, new processes and new institutional commitments to mainframe excellence.

For more on transforming the mainframe, read our previous posts “To Transform Your Mainframe, Transform Your Mainframe Sourcing” .

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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

Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely manages Compuware’s business development initiatives, including go-to-market partnerships, value-add integrations and acquisitions. After a five-year foundation as a developer, Paul has nearly 25 years of experience working with mainframe customers in various roles across Compuware’s solution portfolio.

About the author

John McKenny

John McKenny

As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for ZSolutions at BMC Software, John leads the Product Management and Solutions Marketing teams to innovate the mainframe to meet the needs of today’s evolving digital economy. John has over 24yrs of management experience at BMC alone and, prior to joining, he led various IT management teams and strategies for 15 years in the transportation and insurance industries.