IBM Delivers Powerful New Automation to the
System z

For best business value, automate as much as possible

Service Management in Action

For organizations fortunate enough to have an IBM System z mainframe, the benefits are impressive—and they're getting even more impressive by the day. Consider, for instance, how well suited a System z is to fulfilling current IT goals:

Toward these ends, automation can play a key role. And organizations with multiple System z mainframes have typically pursued automation in various ways—for instance, by using IBM Parallel Sysplex technology to replicate data rapidly over multiple environments, and thus, improve business resilience.

But what if an organization has only a single System z?

In this scenario, automation has historically been harder to apply—typically requiring the use of manual scripts. This approach, however, is not without its drawbacks. It requires time and energy to create custom scripts for specific purposes, while simultaneously introducing the possibility of inadvertent errors. It's also necessary to maintain the scripts over time in order to keep them current with changing business goals, strategies, and IT resources and service requirements.

Automation, in other words, tends to be a great deal more manual than it should be.

IBM Automation Control for z/OS: A simplified platform of mainframe automation

Policies can be changed extensively via customization, yet the customization process never requires coding or scripting skills. They can also be copied, and the copy customized while the original remains intact. Thus, a single policy can be used to create multiple forms of automation, multiplying its business value in proportion.

For organizations in this situation, IBM recently introduced a new offering: IBM Automation Control for z/OS. It provides a fast, straightforward, and flexible means to automate many of the most common and mission-critical tasks executing in a System z—and it does so without requiring the use of scripts or custom coding in any way. It doesn't require much time to install and configure, either—only half the time required by other solutions of the same class.

That not only means that the System z mainframe generates more value, more quickly, and with less effort, but also that automation is more likely to achieve the intended goals because human error is minimized.

And because the solution isn't script-driven, it doesn't require a dedicated scripting specialist, and can be used by a much wider number of IT team members.

Policy-driven capabilities deliver immediate value and without scripting

To use IBM Automation Control for z/OS begin with business goals—specifically, the goals that pertain to automation. What is it that requires being automated, and what would be involved in that automation?

Now consider how best to fulfill those goals via the solution's extensive portfolio of predefined policies. These are abstract forms of automation that apply in different contexts, as suggested by IBM's more than four decades of experience in mainframe automation and business consulting. They are available for many of the most widely used applications run on the System z, and in many cases, will provide out-of-the-box automation without further modification.

In the event modification is necessary, though, it is relatively simple to achieve. Policies can be changed extensively via customization, yet the customization process never requires coding or scripting skills. They can also be copied, and the copy customized while the original remains intact. Thus, a single policy can be used to create multiple forms of automation, multiplying its business value in proportion. And, of course, entirely new policies can be created from scratch, and can then be edited in a fill-in-the-blank fashion to allow specific tailoring that's necessary as conditions may change in the future.

Powerful automation applicable both within and across critical mainframe applications—and entire logical partitions

What kinds of applications do these policies support?

Among many others, some of the most essential to mainframe task execution: IBM Customer Information Control System (CICS), IBM DB2 (IBM’s enterprise-class database), and IBM Information Management System (IMS) database manager. These applications are so widely used, and used in so many business contexts, that the new automation capabilities brought to them by IBM Automation Control for z/OS generate similarly broad value.

And beyond the granular automation available to particular applications, the solution also supports automation of many logical tasks related to overall workload fulfillment.

For instance, it's possible to power on or power off specific processors in the mainframe—helpful for addressing energy cost concerns, to provide extra processing capabilities when they're needed, but drive down costs when they're not.

The solution can also be used to create logical groups of applications and services—and restart them should that be necessary, or provide a failover mechanism for the fastest possible response to a stalled job. Many environments, in fact, can be optimized simply because the solution makes it much easier to visualize logical dependencies, helpful in the process of identifying and eliminating any potential weak links that might diminish overall performance.

In all such cases, new automation capabilities can be achieved, modified, and overseen from a single point of control. And whether policies are used as is, modified, or created from scratch, the ultimate result is the same. The System z mainframe can create more business value, while requiring less oversight and generating lower operational costs, because a unified interface for overseeing all of its automation has now been deployed.

The results for IBM System z mainframe owners are impressive, to say the least. While cases will vary from environment to environment, IBM estimates that IBM Automation Control for z/OS:

Extensive integration multiplies the total value of the solution

Finally, in order to bring still more value to IBM customers, IBM has included extensive integration between IBM Automation Control for z/OS and other members of the IBM solution portfolio. Examples include:

As a result, IBM Automation Control for z/OS and other IBM solutions can work together in all the ways an organization requires. Together, these solutions share their information and capabilities to drive costs and risks lower, while driving up performance, scalability, flexibility, service uptime, and security—all without requiring a single line of scripting.

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