To modernize or not to modernize?

Hello MVS World. Today I want to talk a little bit about two of the latest mainframe productivity tools, z/OSMF and MSM.

The fine print: Let me first disclose that I work for a company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of CA Technologies. This blog represents my opinions only, not those of the companies I mention.

To get started, I went to the respective web pages and investigated.

From the CA Webpage:

CA MSM provides a standardized set of intelligent software management services that help to acquire and install products and obtain and apply corrective or recommended maintenance for CA Technologies mainframe software using a web-based UI. The interface enables you to install and maintain products faster and with less chance of error.

From the IBM Webpage:

The IBM z/OS Management Facility (5655-S28) is a new product for z/OS that provides support for a modern, Web-browser based management console for z/OS.

Before I go much further, I just want to point out that these two products are not really competitors. They are both free, and they each enhance current functions, but they generally have different missions.

I’ve installed, customized, and even spoken at SHARE on both z/OSMF and MSM. z/OSMF consists of 7 different functions currently: Problem Management, TCPIP Configration, Workload Management, Resource Monitoring, Software Deployment, Capacity Provisioning and the Classic Interface. I’ve tried all but Capacity Provisioning.

MSM consists of Software Maintenance and Software Deployment. The major similarity there is Software Deployment.

z/OSMF comes with a scaled down version of Websphere. Similarly, MSM comes with a Datacom database and Apache Tomcat Server. MSM heavily uses zFS’s. Z/OSMF seems to use more CPU. Both benefit from a zIIP, in my case about 80% of the CPU usage is on a zIIP.

MSM: Will it dumb down sysprogs from SMP/E? Probably. The same way AO has dumbed down operators with regard to MVS System Commands, but the productivity and functionality gains are astronomical. z/OSMF might do the same related to FTPing dumps to the support center.

Both products enjoy great support and have been extremely responsive with corrections and new functions, which to me indicates that both companies are committed to the products.

Both products: Are they worth the consumption of resources? I guess that’s a matter of opinion. In my case, they are. I keep both of them up, and use them regularly, as do several others in my shop. My favorite part of z/OSMF is the WLM function. It's very handy for sorting classification rules, cross referencing, etc. My favorite part of MSM is the ability to apply a few PTFs to a product in less than a minute!!

Another, perhaps unintended, consequence of the focus on modernizing and simplifying the system programmers tasks, is a strong focus on being vendor agnostic, by the vendors themselves!  z/OSMF can deploy CA products (I did CA1), and MSM is accepting ISV products packaged for MSM. (The first is QuickRef from ChicagoSoft). It’s a mad mad mad mad MVS world, friends.

If we want to enable the next generation to manage the mainframe effectively, we need to evolve. Like it or not, these products are timesavers and their interfaces are the prevailing design, making them fairly recognizable to anyone with a desktop. I love green screen as much as the next geek, but you have to admit it can be intimidating to most others.

Your link today is to a youtube video of a baby with a magazine, and with an IPAD. The video concludes that the baby feels that the magazine is a broken IPAD.

Till next time,

Mary Anne



1 Comment

Need to explore

November 16, 2012 05:28 AM by SUDAKAR D

Till now I thought CA MSM is a GUI based replacement for IBM SMP/e. After reading this article I understand MSM have many other features.

First heard MSM word from my onsite SME, but he gave a very bad feedback and advised me to follow native SMP/e method.So dont get a chance to explore...

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