Monday, September 10, 2018

BMC and the Mainframe: An Ongoing Partnership


No, the mainframe is not dead… far from it. And BMC Software continues to be there with innovative tools to help you manage, optimize, and deploy your mainframe applications and systems.

BMC, Db2 for z/OS, and Next Generation Technology

One place that BMC continues to innovate is in the realm of Db2 for z/OS utilities. Not just by extending what they have done in the past, but by starting fresh and rethinking the current requirements in terms of the modern IT landscape encompassing big data and digital transformation requirements.

Think about it. If you were going to build high-speed, online utilities for Db2 today, would you build them based on technology from the 1980s? For those of us who have been around since the beginning it is sometimes hard to believe that Db2 for z/OS was first released for GA back in 1983! That means that Db2 is 35 years old this year. And so are the old utility programs for loading, backing up, reorganizing and recovering Db2 data. Sure, they’ve been updated and improved over the years, but they are built on the same core technology as they were “back in the day.”

BMC High Speed Utilities with Next Generation Technology are modern data management solutions for Db2 with a centralized, intelligent architecture designed specifically to handle the complex problems facing IT today. They were engineered from the ground up with an understanding of today’s data management challenges, such as large amounts of data, structured and unstructured data, and 24/7 requirements. Through intelligent policy-driven automation, BMC’s NGT utilities for Db2 can help you to manage growing amounts of data with ease while providing full application availability.

The NGT utilities require no sorting. Think about that. A Reorg that does not have to sort the data can dramatically reduce CPU and disk usage. And that makes it possible for larger database objects to be processed with a fraction of the resources that would otherwise be required.

Furthermore, BMC is keeping up with the latest and greatest features and functionality from IBM for z/OS and Db2. Using BMC’s utilities for Db2 you can implement IBM’s Pervasive Encryption capabilities with confidence because BMC’s database utilities for DB2 (and IMS) support pervasive encryption.

With NGT utilities for Db2 you can automate your environment like never before. Wouldn’t you like to free up valuable DBA time from rote tasks like generating JCL and coding complex, arcane utility scripts? That way your DBAs can focus on more timely, critical tasks like supporting development, optimization, and assuring data integrity.

Customers report that NGT utilities have helped them to:
  •         run Reorgs that otherwise would have failed altogether or taken too much time,
  •         reduce CPU and elapsed time,
  •         eliminate downtime,
  •         lower DASD consumption by eliminating external SORT, and
  •         simplify their Db2 utility processing.

By deploying BMC Db2 NGT utilities you can stay current and utilize Db2 to the extremes often required by current business processes and projects.

There’s more…

Although there is always that lingering meme that the mainframe is dying, it really isn’t even close to reality. Last quarter (July 2018), IBM’s earning were fueled by mainframe sales more than anything else. So the mainframe is alive and well and so is BMC!

BMC understands that a changing world demands innovation… the company is actively developing tools that serve the thriving mainframe ecosystem, not just for Db2 for z/OS. Tools that build on BMC’s long mainframe heritage, but are designed to address today’s IT needs. For example, BMC’s MLC cost reduction solutions focus on one of the mainframe world’s biggest current requirements: making the mainframe more cost-effective.

BMC also offers a complete suite of management and optimization tools for IMS, which still runs some of the most important and performance-sensitive business workloads out there! Their Mainview performance management solutions and Control-M scheduling and automation solutions are stalwarts in the industry. Not even to mention that BMC has partnered with CorreLog to strengthen mainframe security capabilities.

Summary

BMC is active in the mainframe world, with new and innovative solutions to help you get the most out of your zSystems. It makes sense for organizations looking to optimize their mainframe usage to take a look at what BMC can offer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Come See Me Speak at the Heart of America Db2 User Group on 2018-09-10

On September 10, 2018 I will be delivering two Db2 presentations at the Heart of America Db2 User Group (HOADb2UG). The meeting is being held in Kansas City... well, a suburb of Kansas City named Overland Park. Here is the address of the exact location:

KU Edwards Campus
Kansas University - Edwards Campus
12600 Quivira Rd
Overland Park, Ks 66213-2402


There are several other speakers at the event, but I will be speaking on the following two subjects:
It’s Not Your Daddy’s Db2!  
This presentation takes a look at the changing world of Db2 for z/OS, which is always changing, adding more features and functionality… and discarding old stuff, too. If you are still using Db2 the same way you did 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, you are probably doing things wrong! This presentation takes a look at how things are changing, not just with Db2, but also with IT and the industry. It is delivered in two parts: first looking at industry and DBA trends, and then looking at some of the specific changes made in the past few versions of Db2 that should impact how you use Db2.
The Top Ten Db2 Things You Need to Know: For DBAs and Developers
There is a veritable boatload of information and details about Db2 for z/OS available to you. But can you digest it all? Wouldn't it be nice if you could focus on the things that were the most important for you to know instead of wading through thousands of pages of manuals, web pages, and presentations? This session will distill the essence of what you need to know into the top ten most important issues for the two biggest categories of DB2 users: application programmers and database administrators. This presentation offers a count down the top ten most important things you need to know. Along the way we will uncover what is most important for DBA, developers, and managers to understand about Db2 for z/OS. If you are interesting in understanding the hierarchy of Db2 performance tuning objectives, and moving further along in your mastery of Db2 performance, this this presentation will help.
Hopefully if you are in the area you will stop by to spend some time at the event. If so, I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers - New Book on the Way!

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I have written one of the most enduring books on Db2 called DB2 Developer's Guide. It has been in print for over twenty years in 6 different editions.

Well, the time has come for me to write another Db2 book. The focus of this book is on the things that application programmers and developers can do to write programs that perform well from the beginning. 

You see, in my current role as an independent consultant that focuses on Db2, I get to visit a lot of different organizations... and I get to see a lot of poorly performing programs and applications. So I thought: "Wouldn't it be great if there was a book I could recommend that would advise coders on how to ensure optimal performance in their code as they write their Db2 programs?"

This was a similar thought I had way back when before I wrote my first book. At that time, back when the only manuals available were printed and housed in binders, I thought "Wouldn't it be great if there was a single book that captured the essentials of what you need to know to administer and use DB2?" There really wasn't, so I wrote that book.

Well, again, there really isn't a book that focuses on just what programmers should know to write efficient programs. So I figured it was time to write another book. This one is called A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers.

This book is written for all Db2 professionals, covering both Db2 for LUW and Db2 for z/OS. When there are pertinent differences between the two it will be pointed out in the text. The book’s focus is on develop­ing applications, not database and system administration. So it doesn’t cover the things you don’t do on a daily basis as an application coder (like reorgs, backups, monitoring, etc).  Instead, the book offers guidance on application devel­opment procedures, techniques, and philosophies for producing optimal code. The goal is to educate developers on how to write good appli­cation code that lends itself to optimal performance. 

By following the principles in this book you should be able to write code that does not require significant remedial, after-the-fact modifications by performance ana­lysts. If you follow the guidelines in this book your DBAs and performance analysts will love you!

The book does not rehash material that is freely available in Db2 manuals that can be downloaded or read online. It is assumed that the reader has access to the Db2 manuals for their environment (Linux, Unix, Windows, z/OS).

The book is not a tutorial on SQL; it assumes that you have knowledge of how to code SQL statements and embed them in your applications. Instead, it offers advice on how to code your programs and SQL statements for performance.

What you will get from reading this book is a well-grounded basis for designing and developing efficient Db2 applications that perform well. 

Planned publication for this book is late September 2018. News of its publication and how to order will be on my web site when the book is available. 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Security, Compliance and Data Privacy – GDPR and More!

Practices and procedures for securing and protecting data are under increasing scrutiny from industry, government and your customers. Simple authorization and security practices are no longer sufficient to ensure that you are doing what is necessary to protect your Db2 for z/OS data. 

The title of this blog post uses three terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are different in what they mean and imply. Data security is the protective digital privacy measures we can apply to prevent unauthorized access to computers, databases and websites. Then there is compliance. This describes the ability to act according to an order, set of rules or request. In this context we mean compliance with industry and governmental regulations. Finally, there is data privacy (or data protection). That is the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political issues surrounding them.

Data privacy and data security are sometimes used as synonyms, but they are not! Of course, they are related. A data security policy is put in place to protect data privacy. When an organization is trusted with the personal and private information of its customers, it must enact an effective data security policy to protect the data.  So you can have security without data privacy, but you can’t really have data privacy without security controls.

Security is a top-of-mind concern for most IT professionals, showing up in the top spot of many industry surveys that ask about the most important organizational initiatives. Indeed, the 2018 State of Resilience Report shows that security is the number one initiative for IT shops this year. That is a good thing… but you need to look a little deeper to find the reality…

Register and attend my webinar with the same title as this blog post, Security, Compliance, and Data Privacy - GDPR and More! (August 9, 2018), to hear more about this. I will also talk about data breaches, regulatory compliance (with a special concentration on GDPR), the importance of metadata, things you can do to address security issues at your shop, and closer look at Db2 for z/OS security issues, features, and functionality.

I hope to see you there on August 9th! Register and attend at this link.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Broadcom Set to Purchase CA Technologies for Close to $19 Billion

If you've been paying attention the past couple of days you no doubt will have heard that Broadcom, heretofore known for their semiconductors, has made a bid to acquire CA Technologies. I've been expecting something to happen ever since the rumors of a merger with BMC were rampant about a year ago.

Broadcom is offering an all cash deal for CA, but many analysts and customers of both companies are questioning the synergy of the deal.

The general thinking, at least what I have seen in the news, is that Broadcom acquiring CA is "illogical." And I can see that point-of-view. Although Broadcom and CA are both ostensibly in the technology market, CA is in the enterprise software space, a completely different part of the technology industry than the semiconductor and components space occupied by Broadcom. 


The other aspect of this acquisition focuses on CA, which has been in a bit of a slump. Its stock price has pinged between the mid-20s to the mid-30s for the past 5 years (until this acquisition was announced). And CA's product portfolio is what it is. If you have ever dealt with CA you kind of know that there is not a lot of new and innovative functionality being added to its products. (To my CA friends, yes, this is a broad generalization and I know that there have been some new things you've been adding, but CA has a reputation of being an acquirer, not an innovator.)


So, yes, this is a difficult acquisition to understand. That said, Broadcom has probably got the cash for it since its attempted acquisition of Qualcomm fell through back in March 2018 (over $100 billion). If Broadcom has a plan for taking advantage of CA’s customer base – high end enterprise accounts – and building out a core of hardware and software, the acquisition could work. The company bought Brocade last year to extend into the mobile and networking connectivity market. If Broadcom uses CA’s assets and expertise to include the mainframe as part of its connectivity business -- and moves to further embrace the cloud and IoT -- the acquisition could make sense in the long term. 


CA's mainframe products make up the bulk of their revenue consisting of $2.2bn in the 2017-2018 financial year. The remainder of its enterprise software garnered $1.75bn with $311m in services revenue. So the big nut in this acquisition is the mainframe solutions. What will Broadcom do with them? How will they fit into the overall company and strategy for Broadcom? Are there plans to spin off just the mainframe business so it can operate more nimbly? Note to Broadcom: if you plan to do this call me! You should call the spinoff Platinum Technology, inc.


But who knows? My initial reaction was “that’s strange,” but after investigating it a bit I guess I can see some rationale for this acquisition.


With all of this on the table, keep in mind that most large acquisitions fail. And the business models of the two companies are wildly different. So there is a lot for Broadcom/CA to overcome.

As an outsider, it’ll be fun to watch this unfold. 

If you are a CA customer, let us know what you think about this. Will it be good or bad for the products? And how are you and your company planning to react?