Lower MLC Software Costs with Processor Cache Optimization

Todd-HavekostBy Todd Havekost

It is common in today’s challenging business environments to find IT organizations intensely focused on expense reduction. For mainframe departments, this typically results in a high priority expense reduction initiative for IBM Monthly License Charge (MLC) software, which usually represents the single largest line item in their budget.

This article begins a four-part series focusing largely on a topic that has the potential to generate significant cost savings but which has not received the attention it deserves, namely processor cache optimization. The magnitude of the potential opportunity to reduce CPU consumption and thus MLC expense available through optimizing processor cache is unlikely to be realized unless you understand the underlying concepts and have clear visibility into the key metrics in your environment.

Subsequent articles in the series will focus on ways to improve cache efficiency, through optimizing LPAR weights and processor configurations, and finally on the value of additional visibility into the data commonly viewed only through the IBM Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT) report. Insights into the potential impact of various tuning actions will be brought to life with data from numerous real-life case studies, gleaned from experience gained from analyzing detailed processor cache data from 45 sites across 5 countries.

Processor cache utilization plays a significant role in CPU consumption for all z processors, but that role is more prominent than ever on z13 and z14 models. Achieving the rated 10% capacity increase on a z13 processor versus its zEC12 predecessor (despite a clock speed that is 10% slower) is very dependent on effective utilization of processor cache. This article will begin by introducing the key processor cache concepts and metrics that are essential for understanding the vital role processor cache plays in CPU consumption.

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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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Beat the Annual MLC Software Price Increase


By Todd Havekost

In August, IBM announced their annual 4% increase in z Systems Monthly License Charge (MLC) software prices. It was indicated in the announcement letter that the timing of the announcement is designed to give customers sufficient lead time to adjust their budgets for the following year. This cost increase may put additional strain on a lot of already tight budgets and force some shops to make unpleasant decisions. We at IntelliMagic think you have a better alternative to the MLC expense increases.

For several months, IntelliMagic has been delivering free MLC Reduction Assessments showing mainframe sites ways MLC expenses can be reduced. These assessments unleash the visibility provided by IntelliMagic Vision into SMF data from your environment, exploring several potential areas of opportunity for savings. And for a majority of mainframe sites we have been able to help identify significant potential MLC reductions through these assessments.
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