In their recent Mainframe study, BMC Software asked Mainframe customers what their top 4 IT priorities were. Cost reduction and optimisation came out at the top with 85% of respondents citing Cost reduction as one of their key priorities.
The study went on to ask customers about their 4 Hour Rolling Average (4HRA). This is the workload figure which is used by IBM to determine software costs. Batch jobs in various forms determined the peak for 62% of respondents with prime online processing at 37%.
One of the questions which our consultants are often asked is “how can we reduce our Mainframe software costs”. It can often seem that there is nothing that can be done to reduce these costs. Simply maintaining the status quo and not allowing costs to rise can be a challenge in itself for capacity planning teams.
When looking at batch processing, an unmanaged workload mix can greatly affect whether batch processing is contributing to a large chunk of Mainframe software costs. By unmanaged workload mix we mean that sometimes, without realising it, organisations can be running non-essential batch processing jobs during the prime shift and pushing the workload peak up significantly. Every month an IBM workload report is produced using the Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT) and sent to IBM. This is used to determine the peak workload and therefore what charges will be applied for the software used. By carefully analysing the SCRT report and related SMF data it is possible to gain a clearer view of where peaks are occurring. Moving batch workload to a different time may make it possible to bring peaks down and reduce the 4HRA and thus reduce costs.
Badly performing or slow running applications are another source of woe when it comes to pushing up Mainframe costs. The graph below shows an example of MSU usage by application. If the total peak is 1900 MSUs this is what software products will be charged at. For example, if your CICS application has not been tuned as well as it could be or you have an issue with performance and it is using up more MSUs than it should then the entire peak will be raised and the associated software costs will increase to the peak. There are potentially significant savings to be made by ensuring that the system is running as efficiently as possible.
These are just a couple of examples of the ways that organisations can reduce their Mainframe software costs. There are many, many more. Triton’s full zTune service looks at each and every one of these options and can bring organisation savings of 5% for a Phase 1 study and a further 10-15% for Phases 2 and 3.
With 93% of respondents in the BMC study indicating that the Mainframe is a long-term business strategy, finding ways to optimise and reduce costs is going to be vital for organisations in the years to come.