Getting the Most from System z, Part I: Redefining Mainstream Economics with the Specialty Engines

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11 November 2008


New York, NY, USA November 11, 2008

Getting the Most from System z, Part I: Redefining Mainframe Economics with the Specialty Engines

The current market crisis has made increasing efficiency and reducing cost more of an issue than ever, yet CIOs are still looking for ways to modernize their systems. With System z specialty engines, the mainframe can be modern and cost efficient while still providing traditional mainframe reliability.

A previous Celent report, Insurance CIO/CTO Pressures, Priorities, and Plans in 2008, found that over 40% of large insurers and 31% of midsize insurers are running applications on IBM System z. For those that use it, more than 30% of their infrastructure can be found on the system. These percentages have been shrinking in the last three years, but the applications still running on z/OS tend to be the most critical most difficult to replace.

In a new report, Getting the Most from System z, Celent examines how new tools and technologies allow insurers to turn System z into a central component of their modern, distributed infrastructure. Changing realities in available technology and the economy require an evolution in mainframe architecture and mainframe pricing models. The specialty engines help System z compete on both levels.

Market Drivers for the Specialty Engines
They make the mainframe more competitive Specialty engines makes mainframes more cost-effective, helping them compete against low-cost distributed servers
They allow new workloads to be added to the mainframe With the specialty engines, any Linux-supporting application is now a mainframe-supporting application
They allow Java to run more efficiently on the mainframe. The specialty engines provide a new model that allow Java applications to run on the mainframe without the additional processor charge.
They allow DB2 to be more competitive As databases power web-enabled applications, mainframe needs to be able to compete both in technology and price with distributed databases.
They help realize the mainframe’s role as an enterprise server. Companies are looking for enterprise servers that can power internal and external needs in a cost-efficient manner.
Source: Celent

"The mainframe has different reputations in the industry," says Jeff Goldberg, senior analyst with Celent’s insurance group and author of the report. "For clients experienced with the platform, it is looked upon as a cost-effective solution with a high quality of service. Proponents of distributed infrastructures with less mainframe expertise often consider the mainframe to be the host of legacy systems with a costlier, priced-per-usage model. Though mainframes are typically considered outside the picture of modern infrastructure, more and more insurers are leveraging new tools and technologies to fit System z into the middle of the distributed environment."

This report profiles three vendors that provide tools and services to help organizations take advantage of their System z specialty engines. They are BMC Software, CA, Inc., and DataDirect.

The 22-page report contains two figures. A table of contents is available online.

of Celent's Property/Casualty Insurance and Life/Health Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left. Non-members should contact for more information.