Getting the Most from System z, Part I: Redefining Mainstream Economics with the Specialty Engines

November 11, 2008


New York, NY, USA November 11, 2008

Getting the Most from System z, Part I: Redefining Mainframe Economics with the Specialty Engines

The current market crisis has made increasing efficiency and reducing cost more of an issue than ever, yet CIOs are still looking for ways to modernize their systems. With System z specialty engines, the mainframe can be modern and cost efficient while still providing traditional mainframe reliability.

A previous Celent report, Insurance CIO/CTO Pressures, Priorities, and Plans in 2008, found that over 40% of large insurers and 31% of midsize insurers are running applications on IBM System z. For those that use it, more than 30% of their infrastructure can be found on the system. These percentages have been shrinking in the last three years, but the applications still running on z/OS tend to be the most critical most difficult to replace.

In a new report, Getting the Most from System z, Celent examines how new tools and technologies allow insurers to turn System z into a central component of their modern, distributed infrastructure. Changing realities in available technology and the economy require an evolution in mainframe architecture and mainframe pricing models. The specialty engines help System z compete on both levels.

Market Drivers for the Specialty Engines
They make the mainframe more competitive Specialty engines makes mainframes more cost-effective, helping them compete against low-cost distributed servers
They allow new workloads to be added to the mainframe With the specialty engines, any Linux-supporting application is now a mainframe-supporting application
They allow Java to run more efficiently on the mainframe. The specialty engines provide a new model that allow Java applications to run on the mainframe without the additional processor charge.
They allow DB2 to be more competitive As databases power web-enabled applications, mainframe needs to be able to compete both in technology and price with distributed databases.
They help  realize the mainframe’s role as an enterprise server. Companies are looking for enterprise servers that can power internal and external needs in a cost-efficient manner.
Source: Celent

"The mainframe has different reputations in the industry," says Jeff Goldberg, senior analyst with Celent’s insurance group and author of the report. "For clients experienced with the platform, it is looked upon as a cost-effective solution with a high quality of service. Proponents of distributed infrastructures with less mainframe expertise often consider the mainframe to be the host of legacy systems with a costlier, priced-per-usage model. Though mainframes are typically considered outside the picture of modern infrastructure, more and more insurers are leveraging new tools and technologies to fit System z into the middle of the distributed environment."

This report profiles three vendors that provide tools and services to help organizations take advantage of their System z specialty engines. They are BMC Software, CA, Inc., and DataDirect.

The 22-page report contains two figures. A table of contents is available online.

of Celent's Property/Casualty Insurance and Life/Health Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left. Non-members should contact for more information.  

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

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Michele Pace
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Chris Williams
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Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

New York, NY, USA November 11, 2008

Getting the Most from System z, Part I: Redefining Mainframe Economics with the Specialty Engines

Executive Summary 3
Introduction 4
Market Drivers for Mainframe Change 5
System z Specialty Engines 6
  A Deeper Look at the zIIP 6
  Java on the Mainframe? 7
  Examples of Specialty Engine Use 8
Advantages of the Specialty Engines 9
  Simplifying the Infrastructure 9
  Reduction in Processing Costs 10
  Specialty Engines Exploitation 12
Overview of Technology Vendors 13
  BMC Software: Mainframe Systems and Capacity Management Solutions 13
  CA, Inc. 15
  DataDirect: Shadow version 7 16
Conclusions 20


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