management: Ten Ways to Reduce Your Mainframe Software Licensing Costs
(Updated Sep 2009 with usage software updates)
What's the single biggest cost you have as a Mainframe manager? Software
These are the regular costs you pay to have the right to run software,
and to get support if it breaks. But we're all in favour of making this
cost as small as possible.
So this quarter we're going to look at ten ways to squeeze these costs down.
Check you really need it.
Don't laugh. This sounds obvious, but it's only too easy for software that
is no longer needed to slip through the cracks. For example, you may have
some software that was originally needed for CICS applications that have
since moved elsewhere.
You may also have software licensed for all z/OS images, but only used
To combat this, it's essential to create and maintain an inventory of all
software, including what it does, why it's installed, and who uses it.
Check you really use it.
As your Mainframe workload changes over time, it's only too easy for the
use of a software product to quietly decline without Mainframe managers
noticing. You may be paying thousands of dollars for a product that only
a couple of people are actually using.
You need to regularly analyse the usage of your software, and schedule
the removal of any software no longer needed.
Check you don't have two products doing the same thing.
You may use all your software, but have two software products performing
the same or similar function. You need to fully understanding your software
inventory, and exactly how each product is used.
Investigate sub-capacity pricing
Most software licensing charges are based on the size of each LPAR running
that software - the MSU rating. You can find this value from
website, or a program to call IBM's IWMQVS service.
A few years ago IBM introduced another option: Sub-Capacity Pricing.
This is where your software licensing charges are based on your CPU usage,
not on your LPAR size. So software running on a lesser-used LPAR will be
cheaper. It also makes upgrades easier to justify as you don't get hit by
increased software charges with the larger processor.
IBM isn't the only vendor offering Sub-Capacity Pricing. Other vendors
such as BMC and CA are also jumping on the bandwagon.
Reorganise your LPARs
Many sites now run at least one 'capped' LPAR, meaning that the CPU resources
available to it are artificially capped using Workload Manager (WLM). Software
that is charged on MSU rating is run in this capped LPAR, reducing costs.
Users of Sub-Capacity pricing may consider doing the opposite: consolidating
LPARs. This reduces CPU consumption by reducing the overhead of running
a z/OS image.
Investigate similar products
Compare the price of competing products, and consider moving to cheaper
ones. For example, SAS
users may consider the SAS replacement product WPS
by World Programming.
It's true that in some cases moving to different products can be very difficult
and expensive. However it isn't necessarily so, and many vendors offer migration
tools to ease this pain.
Tune your systems
Tuning your systems reduces CPU usage (good for Sub-Capacity pricing users),
and delays upgrades to larger processors.
Move off the Mainframe
Mainframe CPU resources are expensive when compared with other platforms.
So it may be worth considering migrating some of your workload. For example:
Software products such as Tachyon Assembler Workbench and Microfocus
Mainframe Express allow you to perform Mainframe software development
on Windows and UNIX platforms.
Some products such as Websphere Enterprise Service Bus and CICS Transaction
Gateway daemon run on both z/OS and other platforms.
Some workloads may easily be moved to other platforms.
SOA and related services now makes Mainframe services and data easier
to access from other platforms.
Upgrade your Mainframe
For the past couple of zSeries processor generations IBM has been providing
a 10% MSU 'discount'. In other words, a z10 processor will have an MSU rating
that is around 10% lower than an equivalent z9 processor. This translates
to software license cost savings.
Invest in Speciality Processors
IBM now offers Speciality Processors such as the Integrated Information
and Application Assist Processor (zAAP).
These special processors cannot do 'normal' work, but can be given specific
work by normal Mainframe processors. This can improve the performance of
Java applications and other subsystems such as DB2. But the interesting
advantage is that the work done by these processors doesn't count towards
your CPU usage if you use Sub-Capacity Pricing.
Many new software products are also off-loading work onto these Speciality
Processors, including software from BMC and CA.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that implementing any of these ten
methods is a large project, and needs to be performed regularly. However you
do have some tools to make this easier.
. Mainframe security software has facilities that can help you track software
usage. For example, enabling RACF program control to log access to specific
programs can tell you who is using a product, and how often.
Ask them for information about software products
you already have, and alternatives they may have for your existing software.
Your Systems Programmer
You secret weapon in the fight against software licensing costs. Systems Programmers
install and customise all your z/OS software, so they usually know what it
does, and possibly who uses it. They can also setup monitoring to determine
who is using which software and how often, and will be your scout when looking
for alternative software products and freeware.
So there's ten ways to reduce software licensing costs. Regularly committing
time and resources to managing your software licenses will almost certainly
pay big dividends to your Mainframe budget.
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