Partner Forum: How to Manage Infrastructure Overload in a Customer-driven World

By Jeff Henry, vice president of product management, CA Technologies

Today’s vast amount of transactions and data are putting new demands on enterprise IT infrastructures, which requires your business to take a more collaborative, agile approach to ensure it keeps pace and stays competitive in the application economy.

At the start of each new year, resolutions for the months ahead often revolve around numbers, from how much weight we want to lose to how much debt we want to pay off. Many of us will turn to apps linked to a wearable device or a mobile phone to help us achieve our goals.

Now think about all the transactions and data we’re creating just by doing these seemingly innocuous daily activities. When you look at the numbers, the facts are staggering, with 1.3 billion smartphones shipped in 2014 and a predicted 4.5 billion devices (e.g. PCs, tablets and mobile phones) in use by the end of 2016. Before this decade is out, over 200 billion connections will be pushing information, data, analysis, insight and transactions to each other and into the enterprise.

Use It or Lose It

It’s estimated that more than 30 percent of distributed applications have direct connections to the mainframe today. That number is much higher for industries such as finance and insurance, which rely heavily on mainframe data for processing transactions. This has a tremendous impact on how our customers deliver apps and manage the underlying infrastructure that supports those apps.

They need lower maintenance windows, zero downtime and scalability — does this sound familiar? These all play directly into the characteristics of the mainframe. This article explores how you can keep pace with these new demands on enterprise IT through collaboration and the use of flexible infrastructure management solutions that combine breadth, depth and speed  across the entire enterprise including the mainframe.

Better Together

In order to get a clearer picture of what customers need, we did some surveys, and in the process, we learned some interesting statistics. For example, 81 percent of those surveyed said the mainframe is strategic to their business’s current and future IT plans.

Forty-eight percent of those surveyed are actively delivering new business services that engage mainframe systems of record, driving the need for the mainframe to be reframed for the application economy, which means it can no longer sit in a silo from distributed environments. In the past, there were those who managed the mainframe and those who managed the distributed systems. However, more than 50 percent of those surveyed told us that their business now has people who are responsible for both the mainframe and distributed systems. Only 15 percent of those surveyed said their business still managed the mainframe with a siloed approach.

Integrated Management

To manage transactions and data across distributed, mainframe and cloud environments, the last thing you probably want is yet another tool.

Reframing the mainframe for the application economy requires organizations to adopt a more collaborative, agile approach that unifies infrastructure management across the enterprise, including z Systems. Unified infrastructure management means gaining a holistic view of IT infrastructure and using innovative analytics to help companies predict the future, resolve problems quickly and optimize business results.

As organizations go through digital transformations  expanding the number of front-end applications that access back-end mainframe systems of record  an end-to-end view of the entire infrastructure is crucial to provide a flawless user experience. In addition to preventing the blame game, having a single, easy-to-use solution that can monitor the entire business service enables less experienced level-one support personnel to initially identify and triage infrastructure issues, including the mainframe. If it’s determined that mainframe components are part of the problem, then they can get the mainframe specialists involved. This helps improve overall IT operations efficiency and frees up mainframe specialists to deliver more business value.

To deliver a flawless customer experience every time an application touches the mainframe, you need the right tools to ensure continuous delivery and availability as well as secure data management.

To learn more about the dangers of being siloed and how to break down barriers, check out this session from SHARE San Antonio “Removing Platform Silos  Why Change? Why Now?”. You can watch the SHARE Live! recording here.

Jeff Henry is the vice president of product management at CA Technologies. Henry is responsible for driving cross-platform business solutions that bridge the mainframe and enterprise systems business units at CA. Henry is passionate about blending the disciplines of product management, engineering and design, with results-based customer experiences as the primary target in delivering innovative and differentiated value to customers. He has over 27 years of industry experience leading software organizations, specializing in business services delivery and cloud deployments, and bringing Systems of Engagement with Systems of Record for enterprise customers.

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