6 Signs You Already Have a Skills Gap for z/OS Performance and Capacity Planning

B._Phillips-web0By Brent Phillips

The mainframe skills gap is a well-known issue, but most of the focus is on mainframe application development. A large z/OS mainframe organization may have thousands of application developers but only 20 or fewer performance & capacity planning staff. Even though fewer in number, these IT staff have an outsized impact on the organization.

The problem, however, is not just about recruiting new IT staff members to the team. The road to becoming a true z/OS performance and capacity (perf/cap) expert is far longer and more difficult than what is necessary for a programmer to learn to code in a mainframe programming language like COBOL. Consequently, it is not feasible to fill the performance and capacity planning gap with new recruits, and recruiting experienced staff from the short supply is difficult. Even teams that have all the headcount positions filled very often exhibit at least some of the signs that they are being negatively impacted by insufficient levels of expert staff.

A primary contributor to the problem is the antiquated way of understanding the RMF and SMF performance data that most sites still use. The way this data is processed and interpreted not only makes it difficult for new IT staff to learn the job, but it also makes the job for the existing experts more difficult and time consuming.

Here are six signs that indicate your z/OS performance and capacity team would benefit by modernizing analytics for your infrastructure performance and configuration data.

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z/OS Performance Monitors – Why Real-Time is Too Late

By Morgan Oatsperformance monitor

Real-time z/OS performance monitors are often advertised as the top tier of performance management. Real-time monitoring means just that: system and storage administrators can view performance data and/or alerts indicating service disruptions continuously as they happen. In theory, this enables administrators to quickly fix the problem. For some companies, service disruptions may not be too serious if they are resolved quickly enough. Even though those disruptions could be costing them a lot more than they think, they believe a real-time monitor is the best they can do to meet their business needs.

For leading companies, optimal z/OS performance is essential for day-to-day operations: banks with billions of transactions per day, global retailers, especially on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, government agencies and insurance companies that need to support millions of customers at any given time, transportation companies with 24/7 online delivery tracking; the list goes on and on. For these organizations and many others, real-time performance information is in fact, too late. They need information that enables them to prevent disruptions – not simply tell them when something is already broken.

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No Budget for an ITOA Performance Management Solution

By Morgan Oats

no budget

Every department in every industry has the same problem: how can I stretch my budget to get the necessary work done, make my team more effective, reduce costs, and stay ahead of the curve? This is equally true for performance and capacity planning teams. In many cases, it’s difficult to get budget approval to purchase the right software solution to help accomplish these goals. Management wants to stay under budget while IT is concerned with getting a solution that solves their problems. When trying to get approval for the right solution, it’s important to be able to show how you will get a good return on investment.

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Bridging the z/OS Mainframe Performance & Capacity Skills Gap

B._Phillips-web0By Brent Phillips

Many, if not most organizations that depend on mainframes are experiencing the effects of the mainframe skills gap, or shortage. This gap is a result of the largely baby-boomer workforce that is now retiring without a new generation of experts in place who have the same capabilities. At the same time, the scale, complexity, and change in the mainframe environment continues to accelerate. Performance and capacity teams are a mission-critical function, and this performance skills gap represents a great risk to ongoing operations. It demands both immediate attention and a new, more effective approach to bridging the gap.

Bridging the z/OS Mainframe Performance and Capacity Skills Gap

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Is Your Car or Mainframe Better at Warning You?

jerrystreetBy Jerry Street

 

Imagine driving your car when, without warning, all of the dashboard lights came on at the same time. Yellow lights, red lights. Some blinking, while others even have audible alarms. You would be unable to identify the problem because you’d have too many warnings, too much input, too much display. You’d probably panic!

That’s not likely, but if your car’s warning systems did operate that way, would it make any sense to you? Conversely, if your car didn’t have any dashboard at all, how would you determine if your car was about to have a serious problem like very low oil pressure or antifreeze/coolant? Could you even operate it safely without an effective dashboard? Even the least expensive cars include sophisticated monitoring and easy interpretation of metrics into good and bad indicators on the dashboard.

You have a need for a similar dashboard of your z/OS mainframe to alarm you. When any part of the infrastructure starts to be at risk of not performing well, you need to know it, and sooner is better. By being warned of a risk in an infrastructure component’s ability to handle your peak workload, you can avoid the problem before it impacts production users or fix what is minor before the impact becomes major. The only problem is that the dashboards and reporting you’re using today for your z/OS infrastructure, and most monitoring tools, do not provide this type of early warning.

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Does everybody know what time it is? Tool Time!

Lee

By Lee LaFreseiStock_000016017745Small

Home Improvement was a popular TV show from the 90’s that lives on forever in re-runs. Usually, one of the funniest segments was the show within a show, “Tool Time”. During Tool Time, Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) would demonstrate how to use various power tools, often with disastrous and hilarious results. If things were not working right he would often exclaim “more power” as if that would make everything right. Unfortunately when you are not using the right tool in the right way, more power usually does more harm than good. The expression “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” comes to mind.

Some of our prospective customers in the z/OS space use IBM DS8000. They often ask why they would want IntelliMagic Vision if they have IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Disk (TPC). The answer is very simple – for z/OS environments IntelliMagic Vision is clearly the right tool to use. There is no reason to pull a Tim Taylor and force fit something else for the job. Here are some of the reasons why IntelliMagic Vision is the best choice for this environment.
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