Mainframes And Your Total Enterprise Virtualization Strategy

Our InformationWeek Analytics Informed CIO series arms business technology chiefs with the questions they must ask before dropping big bucks. In this installment, we examine what part today's mainframes, and the professionals who manage them, play in developing an enterprise-wide unified virtualization strategy.
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In our InformationWeek Analytics "ð" report, available at at our InformationWeek Analytics Research Community, Michael Healey examines the part today's mainframes, and the professionals who manage them, play in developing an enterprise-wide converged virtualization strategy.

Q: How can we most effectively address organizational issues?

A: Mainframe and X86 teams must agree on SLAs and decide who has rights for budgeting, provisioning, and security decisions. This is the biggest challenge when developing a unified virtualization strategy.

Q: What's our long-term OS outlook?

A: The core OS to focus on for mainframe virtualization is Linux, with Novell SUSE and Red Hat leading the pack. Linux has a nine-year track record on big iron and multiple options for deployment. I/O volume and integration between Linux and legacy mainframe apps are the two main considerations.

Q: What are realistic uptime requirements and options?

A: Enterprises look to mainframes for reliability. However, be aware that the ability to migrate virtual machines among hosts as conditions dictate or in the event of a failure isn't in z/VM; IBM touts the reliability stats of the mainframe as a reason for leaving this out.

Q: What tools are we going to use for monitoring and management?

A: Unfortunately, there's no single set of tools to cover both platforms or create the fabled single pane of glass. IT must carefully design a plan that combines tools from both platforms as part of a tight operational runbook.

Q: Do we need a training plan?

A: Yes. CA issued a survey last year that reported 72% of organizations have mainframe pros eligible for retirement. So how hard is it to migrate and retrain staff? We'd equate it to moving from Novell NetWare to Microsoft Active Directory.

Return to the story:
Two Tribes, One Future: Bringing Mainframes Into the IT Mainstream