How Do You Support Your Software?

Software/OS services & support not your core competencies? We support more than just WebSphere.

In today’s reality of constantly evolving technology, managing software support is critically important. There are never-ending changes to core products, changes to deployment options (on-premises, cloud, hybrid), and a new generation of changes is most certainly lurking around the corner. Especially in IBM’s Systems Middleware world.

The effort to support this endless hodgepodge has grown increasingly complicated. In point of fact, most companies run multiple versions of software on different operating systems, which makes support options even more confusing. That’s why more and more companies are facing hard decisions about whether to continue their vendor-support agreements for software and OS, and why more and more companies are running unsupported software and OS, even if it’s occasionally side-by-side with a newer, supported version of the same.

That’s why more and more companies are partnering with TxMQ for support of their IBM environments, WebSphere systems and far more.

TxMQ is uniquely able to design and deploy support solutions across almost any software/OS environment. And we’ll design a solution that fits right – whether it’s short-term support until the patch/upgrade is finished, or long-term permanent outsource options and partnerships. All options are available 24/7/365.
In addition, we’re one of the few firms that supports legacy mainframe, systems I and P (aix), alongside Linux (all major flavors), Solaris, Windows and other variants. So yes, we’re a lot more than just pure IBM.
A few other notes about our capabilities…

Additional Offerings
TxMQ support customers can also take advantage of reduced rates for TxMQ services, discounted purchasing of IBM software and hardware, and related services like software asset management (ILMT, SUA, SCCD), patch management and other managed services.

Implementation Support
TxMQ’s deeply technical talent can also help with planning for upgrades, replatforming, license optimization and integration services. In select cases, we can also work with in-house development teams to offer support for custom home-built applications.

Custom Solutions
TxMQ engineers and developers can work for you, or with your teams, for custom-application development needs. As with the above services, customers under support agreements with TxMQ are entitled to these services at a discount.
Let’s start a conversation on the advantages of getting back to basics and focusing on your core competencies, then letting TxMQ worry about your support.
Email [email protected] or [email protected] for more information, or call 716-636-0070 x222.

I'm A Mainframe Bigot

I make no apologies for my bigotry when I recommend mainframes for the new economy. Dollar for dollar, a properly managed mainframe environment will nearly always be more cost effective for our customers to run. This doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, but we aren’t talking about the outliers – we’re looking at the masses of data that support this conclusion.
To level-set this discussion: If you’re not familiar with mainframes, move along.
We aren’t talking about the Matrix “Neo, we have to get to the mainframe” fantasy world here. We’re talking about “Big Iron” – the engine that drives today’s modern economy. It’s the system where most data of record lives, and has lived for years. And this is a philosophical discussion, more than a technical one.
I’d never say there aren’t acceptable use cases for other platforms. Far from it. If you’re running a virtual-desktop solution, you don’t want that back end on the mainframe. If you’re planning to do a ton of analytics, your master data of record should be on the host, and likely there’s a well-thought-out intermediate layer involved for data manipulation, mapping and more. But if you’re doing a whole host (pun intended) of mainstream enterprise computing, IBM’s z systems absolutely rule the day.
I remember when my bank sold off its branch network and operations to another regional bank. It wasn’t too many years ago. As a part of this rather complicated transaction, bank customers received a series of letters informing them of the switch. I did some digging and found out the acquiring bank didn’t have a mainframe.
I called our accountant, and we immediately began a “bake off” among various banks to decide where to move our banking. Among the criteria? Well-integrated systems, clean IT environment, stability (tenure) among bank leadership, favorable business rules and practices, solid online tools, and of course, a mainframe.
So what’s my deal? Why the bigotry? Sure, there are issues with the mainframe.
But I, and by extension TxMQ, have been doing this a long time. Our consultants have collectively seen thousands of customer environments. Give us 100 customers running mainframes, 100 customers who aren’t, and I guarantee there are far more people, and far greater costs required to support similar-size adjusted solutions in non-mainframe shops.
Part of the reason is architecture. Part is longevity. Part is backward-compatibility. Part is security. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here, but in terms of hacking, unless you’re talking about a systems programmer with a bad cough, the “hacking” term generally hasn’t applied to a mainframe environment.
Cloud Shmoud
Did you know that virtualization was first done on the mainframe? Decades ago in fact. Multi-tenancy? Been there, done that.
Reliability, Availability and Serviceability define the mainframe. When downtime isn’t an option, there’s no other choice.
Enough said. Mainframes are just plain more secure than other computer types. The NIST vulnerabilities database, US-CERT, rates mainframes as among the most secure platforms when compared with Windows, Unix and Linux, with vulnerabilities in the low single digits.
I had a customer discussion that prompted me to write this short piece. Like any article on a technology that’s been around for over half a century, I could go on for pages and chapters. That’s not the point. Companies at times develop attitudes that become so ingrained, no one challenges them, or asks if there’s any proof. For years, the mainframe took a bad rap. Mostly due to very effective marketing by competitors, but also because those responsible for supporting the host began to age out of the workforce. Kids who came out of school in the ’90s and ’00s weren’t exposed to mainframe-based systems or technologies, so interest waned.
Recently, the need for total computing horsepower has skyrocketed, and we’ve seen a much-appreciated resurgence in the popularity of IBM’s z systems. Mainframes are cool again. Kids are learning about them in university, and hopefully, our back-end data will remain secure as companies realize the true value of Big Iron all over again.

New IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON Performance Suite Expands Mainframe Service Management Options

The new availability of a comprehensive Tivoli-based zOS performance suite is big news for mainframe service management. The software, which was released on Sept. 5, is a single orderable product that helps manage IBM zEnterprise performance and availability. IBM has geared several of the suite’s features directly to SMEs, most notably the deep-dive analysis capabilities, which are enabled for the entire zOS platform and middleware.
A good way to describe Tivoli OMEGAMON is to call it a highly integrated solution for sharing information between the different management groups within an organization to help increase effectiveness, better meet Service Level Agreements and reduce costs through efficiency.
The OMEGAMON Performance Management Suite contains the following component-products:

  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON Dashboard Edition on z/OS V5.3.0 (new)
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE on z/OS V5.3.0 (new)
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for Mainframe Networks V5.1.1
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for Storage on z/OS V5.3.0 (new)
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for CICS on z/OS V5.3.0 (new)
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for DB2 Performance Expert on z/OS V5.2.0
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for IMS on z/OS V5.1.0
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for Messaging for z/OS V7.3.0
  • IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for Web Resources V7.1.0

If your enterprise already owns any of the above components, you can upgrade to the performance suite.
The suite also contains Tivoli Monitoring Agent, which provides visibility into the zEnterprise hybrid infrastructure including hardware resources, hypervisors, virtual servers, virtual networks, and workload resource groups that span heterogeneous platforms as defined by IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager. The Agent offers proactive monitoring of zEnterprise workload resource groups to help them meet the service level objectives you’ve defined for the enterprise.
TxMQ is an IBM Premier Partner and can assist you with software purchases and deployments. Contact TxMQ president Chuck Fried for an immediate and confidential consultation: (716) 636-0070 x222, mailto:[email protected].

IBM Extends Modern Mainframe Capabilities With the zBC12

IBM is now extending the capabilities of the modern mainframe to organizations of all sizes with the introduction of the IBM zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12).
The zBC12 offers a proven hybrid-computing design to help manage and integrate workloads on multiple architectures within a single system. It provides an optimized infrastructure that’s integrated, agile, trusted and secure – an infrastructure that allows organizations to quickly and cost-effectively embrace new cloud, analytics and mobile opportunities.
The zBC12 offers many upgrades:

  • Powered by microprocessors running at 4.2 GHz
  • Provides up to a 36% boost in per-core capacity
  • 58% increase in total system capacity for z/OS
  • Up to a 62% increase in total capacity
  • Offers up to 156 capacity settings
  • 20% improvement over the z114 and IBM System z10 BC (z10BC)

The zBC12 is available in two models:
The H06: A single central processor complex (CPC) drawer model
The H13: A CPC two-drawer model that offers additional flexibility for I/O and coupling expansion, specialty engine scalability and memory scalability up to 496 GB
[title size = 3]Data Developments[/title]
IBM zEnterprise Data Compression (zEDC)

  • Offers an industry-standard compression for cross-platform data distribution
  • Disk savings by allowing better utilization of storage capacity

Shared Memory Communications: Remote Direct Memory Access (SMC-R)

  • Optimizes server-to-server communications by helping to reduce latency and CPU resource consumption over traditional TCP/IP communications
  • Any TCP sockets-based workloads can seamlessly use SMC-R without requiring any application changes

Data analytics solutions on the zBC12 include the IBM Smart Analytics System and the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator – both of which are designed to enable organizations to efficiently store, manage, retrieve and analyze vast amounts of data for business insight.
[title size = 3]Solid Security[/title]
Cryptography is one basic technology that helps protect sensitive data. The zBC12 can help organizations come into compliance with various industry standards that facilitate the environment of enterprise-security policies that govern data privacy.
The zBC12 is designed to meet the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ (EAL5+) certification for security of logical partitions, helping to ensure the isolation of sensitive data and business transactions. The zBC12 offers high-speed cryptography that is built into each processor core.
[title size = 3]Cloud Capabilities[/title]
With z/OS, organizations can seamlessly run multiple disparate workloads concurrently with different service levels. With zBC12, Linux environments can expect a 36% performance boost per Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processor. The new IBM z/VM 6.3 provides improved economies of scale with support for 1 TB of real memory and more efficient utilization of CPU hardware resources.
For more information regarding mainframe capabilities or other TxMQ pillars of expertise, contact Miles Roty at (716) 636-0070 ext 228 or [email protected].