CA Uses SOA To Ease Mainframe Operation, Maintenance

CA has launched Mainframe 2.0, an initiative to make it easier to govern, manage, maintain and secure IBM's z/OS platform. Notably, CA execs say Mainframe 2.0 will use many principals and technologies from SOA-based architectures.

Tags: Mainframe, Platform, Customers, IDN, Applications, IBM, Staff,


CA has launched Mainframe 2.0, an initiative to help customers and partners more easily manage and leverage their vast mainframe's assets by making it easier to govern, manage, maintain and secure IBM's z/OS platform. Notably, CA execs say Mainframe 2.0 will use many principals and technologies from SOA-based architectures

Mainframe 2.0 is based on two converging customer concerns, CA officials told IDN: (1) skilled mainframe IT professionals are harder to find, while companies are actually putting more demands on their mainframes to meet growing business computing demands in the face of decreasing budgets, fewer employees, and higher energy costs, the company said.

"We want to drive the mainframe skills requirements for these customers way down. Availability of skilled mainframe workers is increasing among customers, They are worried that the only person who understands their mainframe application may be retiring soon," Vince Re, CA senior vice president told IDN.

In fact, a CA-commissioned survey of Fortune 2000 companies around the world shows that enterprise IT organizations are losing their experienced mainframe personnel to retirement just as their use of the mainframe is projected to grow significantly, he said.

To respond to these concerns over mainframe skills, Re told IDN CA's Mainframe 2.0 will use SOA-based approaches for many of its goals to simplify mainframe operations and management, and reduce the need for hard-to-find mainframe skilled workers, on a number of front:
  • Making mainframe management solutions easier to use for less experienced IT staff;
  • Creating a uniform browser-based look and feel across all CA mainframe management solutions;
  • Delivering automation and operational intelligence to help IT staff deal with the underlying complexities of the IBM z/OS platform; and
  • Conforming to IBM's software installation standards

    On the SOA front, CA laid out a very eye-catching roadmap at their annual CA World user conference in November. Among those items:
  • SOA will play a big role for bringing the mainframe into CA's Enterprise IT Management (EITM) platform
  • Catalyst will be optimized as a ESB integration platform for mainframe, bringing integration support for application servers, workflow and complex event processing(CEP) distributed platform
  • A series of web services interfaces between Catalyst and mainframes will greatly simplify the ability of IT staff to integrate mainframe assets with downstream non-mainframe IT resources. This process will reduce projects to days or weeks, which might have taken months of assembler programming.


  • This is much more than vaporware, or a vision, " Re told IDN. "While CA hasn't service-enabled all of our products, the infrastructure is done, [which means we've taken] very traditional mainframe things and found a way to wrap and expose it and expose it as a service."

    "With SOA-based approaches such as a web-based interface, CA is taking that risk away by driving the skills requirements way down, and delivering the first pieces of this strategy to make mainframes easier to use throughout their entire lifecycle - from packaging to deployment, Re added.

    CA is also following an open and standards approach to designing its next-gen mainframe tools, and is working with IBM, Innovation and ChicagoSoft, among other firms, Re told IDN.

    CA's Study of Mainframe Operational Concerns
    IT organizations are losing their experienced mainframe personnel to retirement at the same time as their use of the mainframe is projected to grow significantly, according to a recent CA study. Because of that, these enterprises are forced to adopt a variety of strategies to address the disparity between their computing requirements and the numbers of employees that have.

    The study, conducted by TheInfoPro in September and early October, surveyed 270 senior IT executives from Fortune 2000 companies around the world. All respondents had applications running on the mainframe platform.

    According to the CA study, some 80% of respondents have mainframe staff eligible to retire either now or within two years. The study also found that mainframe spending—which had been in decline over the past two years—is now projected to rise. This is happening because enterprises are using more applications that are currently running on mainframes, new applications are developed for the mainframe, and application workloads are shifted to the mainframe from distributed systems, according to the study.

    Complete survey results are available online.

    Relatedly, about 70% of organizations and governments are running critical applications on mainframes.

    Total installed mainframe capacity has reached 14 million MIPS worldwide—from a base of 4.5 million MIPS in 2001. IBM customers also are adopting its most recent platform innovations more rapidly than ever before. Market research indicates that uptake of the current z10 series of mainframe processors reached approximately 720,000 MIPS within the first 130 days of availability.

    According to IDC's high-end server quarterly tracker, the adoption of IBM mainframes, which power the top 50 banks worldwide and 22 of the top 25 US retailers, has enabled IBM's System z to nearly double its share this decade



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