CA Technologies Joins System z and Cloud for Cheaper Storage

A pair of announcements at the AWS re:Invent conference in mid November aimed to combine System z with the cloud. The first addressed how to unite the z with the cloud through new tools that support storage, virtualized environments, and application delivery for the purpose of  meeting the management demands of what CA refers to as dynamic data centers by blending mainframe and cloud capabilities.

The idea here is to blend the z with cloud infrastructures that offer greater flexibility to manage enterprise data centers and balance workloads across platforms. Citing a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by IBM that noted how organizations, by including the mainframe in cloud infrastructures, can enable a broader mix of infrastructure service options. The idea, for example, is to enable a mix of Linux virtual machines from both the mainframe for data needing to meet high SLAs and from commodity infrastructure when SLA requirements are less stringent. The study also pointed out that the z can better accommodate high densities of very small workloads with resource guarantees — something very difficult to achieve on commodity resources. CA is supporting System z and the cloud with several new software releases that bring improved efficiencies and cost savings.

The second announcement is similar to the first except it looks specifically at cloud storage for the z, particularly when backing up data through Amazon Web Services and Riverbed Technology. The promise here is to streamline storage management operations while cutting storage costs to pennies per gigabyte. Essentially, z shops can use the CA tools to back up their data and archive it very cheaply in the cloud.

CA Cloud Storage for System z, when used with  Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage and the Riverbed Whitewater cloud storage appliance enables mainframe data centers greater storage agility at lower storage costs. The upshot: disaster recovery readiness is improved and AWS cloud storage is accessed without changing the existing backup infrastructure.

The product not only lets organizations reduce data storage costs by taking advantage of low cloud storage costs but delivers the elastic capacity and flexibility.  CA also insists the product eliminates purpose-built robots and disks, but that doesn’t seem to be entirely the case.

Rather, it incorporates Riverbed Whitewater, itself a purpose-built storage appliance that helps integrate cloud storage infrastructures to securely deliver instant recovery and cost-effective storage for backup and data archiving. By using CA Cloud Storage for System z and the Riverbed appliance, z shops can back up IBM System z storage data to Amazon S3, a storage infrastructure designed for mission-critical and primary data storage or to Amazon Glacier, an extremely low-cost storage service for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. Both services are highly secure and scalable and designed for 99.999999999 percent durability, according to CA.

Apparently CA is deploying the software with AWS and Riverbed for itself. The company expects achieve scalable storage while reducing the cost of its own backups. In addition, it picks up the benefits of elastic storage, which should improve its disaster recovery and ensure faster response to business needs without having to depend on offsite tape recalls, according to the company.

Both CA offerings, in effect, blend the System z with the cloud to increase flexibility and reduce cost. “The growth of System z and the increased adoption of Linux on the mainframe make it an optimal platform for reliably and cost-effectively delivering IT services that support opportunities around cloud, big data, and mobile,” said Joe Clabby, president, Clabby Analytics commenting on the CA announcements. In short, he noted the product combination enables IT workers to bridge the IT on-premise/cloud gap and manage the cross-enterprise and cross-platform operations of today’s dynamic data center.

Of course, for z data centers there are other ways to bridge the gap. IBM, for example, has been nudging the z toward to cloud for some time, as DancingDinosaur reported here. IBM also has its own relationship involving the Riverbed Whitewater appliance and Tivoli Storage Manager. Whatever approach you choose, it is time for z shops to explore how they can leverage the cloud.

You can follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog.

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