An Effective Solution to the Mainframe Skills Shortage for z/OS Performance and Capacity Professionals

Todd-Havekost

By Todd HavekostMainframe Skills Shortage

The mainframe skills shortage for z/OS performance analysts and capacity planners has left many organizations struggling to ensure availability. Current experts are often overworked and lack the manpower, resources, or tools necessary to effectively perform their jobs. This is often caused by a reliance on manual processes and the limitations of in-house developed solutions, rather than leveraging the built-in, automated capabilities provided by an effective performance solution.

This can put the availability of the infrastructure and applications at risk. Many enterprises are finding it to be difficult to replace or supplement z/OS performance skills that are becoming increasingly scarce.

In his blog, “Bridging the z/OS Performance & Capacity Skills Gap,” Brent Phillips wrote about the availability and efficiency benefits that can be gained from modernizing the analysis of the mainframe infrastructure using processes that leverage artificial intelligence.

Modernized analytics can also help solve the skills shortage by making current staff more productive and getting newer staff up to speed more rapidly. An effective analytics solution that will expedite the acquisition of skills for z/OS performance analysts and capacity planners needs 5 key attributes. These attributes are covered in detail with illustrations in the paper at the link at the bottom. In this blog I will briefly introduce 3 of the key attributes.

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Root Cause Analysis for z Systems Performance – Down the Rabbit Hole

By Morgan OatsDown the Rabbit Hole - Root Cause Analysis

Finding the root cause of z Systems performance issues may often feel like falling down a dark and endless rabbit hole. There are many paths you can take, each leading to further possibilities, but clear indicators as to where you should really be heading to resolve the problem are typically lacking. Performance experts tend to rely on experience to judge where the problem most likely is, but this may not always be adequate, and in the case of disruptions, time is money.

Performance experts with years of experience are more likely able to resolve problems faster than newer members of the performance team. But with the performance and capacity skills gap the industry is experiencing, an approach is needed that doesn’t require decades of experience.

Rather than aimlessly meandering through mountains of static reports, charts, and alerts that do more to overwhelm our senses than assist in root cause analysis, performance experts need a better approach. An approach that not only shines a light down the rabbit hole, but tells us which path will lead us to our destination. Fortunately, IntelliMagic Vision can be your guide.

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RPO Replication for TS7700 Disaster Recovery

Merle SadlerBy Merle Sadler

This blog is on the topic of the impact of zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) for Mainframe Virtual Tape Replication focusing on the IBM TS7700 replication capability.

Have you ever thought about how much money you will need to save for retirement? I was talking with my financial advisor the other day and decided that whatever you think you need you should double. You can plan on having social security but if social security fails then retirement plans start to look not so rosy.

budget tradoffs for RTO and RPO

The same thing applies to computer systems. Customers spend a lot of time and money on Disk replication, reducing both RPO and RTO. But what if an application corrupts the data or a virus is uploaded? Corrupted or infected data is replicated just as easily as good data. This lends to making offline backup copies of disk files which also need to be replicated.

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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 other 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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How to Measure the Impact of a Zero RPO Strategy

Merle SadlerBy Merle Sadler

Have you ever wondered about the impact of zero RPO on Mainframe Virtual Tape for business continuity or disaster recovery? This blog focuses on the impact of jobs using the Oracle/STK VSM Enhanced Synchronous Replication capability while delivering an RPO of 0.

A recovery point objective, or “RPO”, is defined by business continuity planning. It is the maximum targeted time period in which data might be lost from an IT service due to a major incident.

Zero RPO - Recovery Point Objective

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What Good is a zEDC Card?

BrettBy Dave Heggen

informatics inc: You Need Our Shrink!

The technologies involving compression have been looking for a home on z/OS for many years. There have been numerous implementations to perform compression, all with the desired goal of reducing the number of bits needed to store or transmit data. Hostbased implementations ultimately trade MIPS for MB. Outboard hardware implementations avoid this issue.

Examples of Compression Implementations

The first commercial product I remember was from Informatics, named Shrink, sold in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It used host cycles to perform compression, could generally get about a 2:1 reduction in file size and, in the case of the IMS product, worked through exits so programs didn’t require modification. Sharing data compressed in this manner required accessing the data with the same software that compressed the data to expand it.

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Mainframe Capacity “Through the Looking Glass”

Todd-Havekost

By Todd Havekost

 

With the recent release of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (my wife is a huge Johnny Depp fan), it seems only appropriate to write on a subject epitomized by Alice’s famous words:

“What if I should fall right through the center of the earth … oh, and come out the other side, where people walk upside down?”  (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

Along with the vast majority of the mainframe community, I had long embraced the perspective that running mainframes at high levels of utilization was essential to operating in the most cost-effective manner. Based on carefully constructed capacity forecasts, our established process involved implementing just-in-time upgrades designed to ensure peak utilization’s remained slightly below 90%.

It turns out we’ve all been wrong.  Continue reading

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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