CA Drives Linux on the System z

Does anyone not think Linux on the mainframe is here for the long run? IBM has been promoting Linux on the System z and now the zEnterprise for a decade. DancingDinosaur has long argued that Linux on z saved the mainframe from becoming niche product, albeit a big, pricey one.

Last week CA Technologies, which jumped onto the Linux on z bandwagon early with a slew of management products, expanded its portfolio of Linux on z software management tools along with announcing new partnerships.

Linux on z is a consolidation play aimed at saving money by eliminating rampant distributed Linux server sprawl while providing better management and reliability. The savings generally come from reducing the number of physical servers. Mainframe shops also experience savings by shifting workloads from general processors to lower cost-per-MIPS System z specialty processors. In short, the combination of lower cost specialty processors, namely IFLs, and the massive virtualization supported by z/VM drives down the cost per workload. As a result, over 1,300 mainframe shops are using Linux on z to one degree or another.

Specifically, CA introduced four sets of Linux on z management products:

  • CA VM:ManagerSuite for Linux on System z—includes various feature enhancements like new support for managing tapes under Linux on z, and others enhancements that help z shops install, deploy, and service their CA z/VM products more effectively and quickly
  • Velocity zVPS Performance Suite–brings real-time access to detail data from z/VM and Linux on System z platforms for optimized performance, capacity planning and cost chargeback
  • UPSTREAM for Linux on System z and UPSTREAM for z/OS UNIX–extend CA data protection capabilities with file level backup for Linux on System z and z/OS UNIX files
  • CA Mainframe Connector for Linux on System zenables CA z/OS-based automation products to receive event information from Linux on System z environments

Two of the new product sets come through CA partners, whose products CA will resell: INNOVATION Data Processing and Velocity Software.

INNOVATION brings UPSTREAM for Linux on z and UPSTREAM for UNIX on z. Both address data protection by allowing z/OS storage managers to centrally manage storage in hybrid mainframe and distributed environments without becoming UNIX file system experts.

Velocity Software brings its zVPS Performance Suite. This allows IT organizations to optimize performance and reduce costs via graphical, real-time access to detailed performance data and analysis of z/VM and Linux on System z performance. And it works: “We can attest to the time and cost savings of implementing CA Technologies and Velocity Software suites to manage our Linux environment,” Jerry Whitteridge, design engineer at Safeway, confirmed to DancingDinosaur.

CA makes it clear that its new tools do not compete with IBM’s zManager. “The Unified Resource Manager handles the z hardware complex. Our software operates at a layer above that,” explained Mark Combs, a CA senior VP. These are the same issues that IBM addresses with its Tivoli products. Having competitors can only be good for mainframe shops looking to lower the cost of software tools.

A major ISV like CA that boosts its Linux on z portfolio suggests that the future of Linux on z and of the z itself looks rosy. In CA’s case, it’s following customer demand for more and better System z tools that can handle Linux at the application layer, which only makes the picture rosier.

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