Mainframe Silos

Break the silos inside the enterprise to improve mainframe visibility

The evolution of IT environments 

Enterprise IT environments have evolved greatly over the past decades. IT environments have moved to a highly scalable, interconnected, and geographically dispersed model, increasing the complexity of IT environments. In addition, most of them are running systems across a mix of on-premises data centers, public data centers, private or hybrid cloud environments.

The possible combinations of different platforms in different configurations add considerable complexity for IT managers. Enterprise IT has become complex, making it difficult to manage effectively. Sometimes customers have to deal with very complex center configurations and the diversity of the environments to be managed often leads to having different solutions for managing the same operational function.

Customers need help to face complexity

Following this evolution of the IT environment, many customers have sought solutions on the market that can help them control such complex environments. Since the situation was particularly complicated for the distributed environment, the search for solutions to help IT managers started there. Over the years these creations have evolved in functionality and stability, becoming a fundamental asset for companies, which rely on these solutions for controlling the distributed environment.

Several vendors, including IBM, offer products that enable the customer to manage the complexity of the IT environment. These solutions offer the possibility to manage, from a single interface and with similar actions, different platforms on which different workloads are executed. These solutions cover several areas such as monitoring, observability, security, automation, etc.

Something is missing in the overall view

However, these solutions, in most of the cases, did not involve a fundamental component of the customers’ IT infrastructure: the mainframe.  This is because many organizations are used to managing mainframe machines as a separate domain, distinct from other IT systems.

The mainframe remains critical to enterprises for its unmatched reliability and security. 67 of the Fortune 100 companies. 45 of the world’s top 50 banks, 8 of the top 10 insurers, 4 of the top 5 airlines, 7 of the top 10 global retailers and 8 out of the top 10 Telco’s have their business based on the mainframe. Unparalleled reliability is provided by mainframe – 3 seconds of downtime a year. This platform is the best HW&SW infrastructure to run mission critical workloads,  its importance is universally recognized by any customer.


Even these considerations are still a consolidated knowledge inside customer community, the mainframe is frequently a common blind spot for many organizations. This is a funny situation: the most critical component of the enterprise IT infrastructure is not completely considered in the business solutions that companies rely on.

This blind spot should be removed

To solve this problem, information contained on the mainframe must be made available in a format accepted by the platforms used by customers, so that it can be integrated to obtain an end-to-end view.

IBM provides several possibilities for doing this. One of the main possibilities is based on the IBM Z Operational Log and Data Analytics (IZLDA) product.

IBM Z Operational Log and Data Analytics provides a single solution that helps customers to stream IBM Z operational data in near real time to one or more consumers.  Consumers include enterprise log analytics platforms like Splunk, Elastic Stack, Apache Kafka, Humio, and others (for example, all the consumers receiving data from logstash).


Transforming the ‘center of cost’ in center of value

Having the flexible possibility to send operational data to external platform will allow customers to integrate mainframe information inside their preferred solution, offering them an end-to-end view of their enterprise IT.

In this way the mainframe is no longer seen only as a center of cost, but IBM zSystem will become a fundamental component to be controlled and considered for IT manager’s decisions.

IBM has supported customers in realizing several solutions using IZLDA. Solutions covering KPI monitoring, control of execution for scheduled workloads, security monitoring, alerts detection for specific conditions, etc.

The flexibility of the IZLDA product allows Customers to feed different solutions on different platforms covering different fields. The support of widely used components (such as logstash or kafka, for example) makes integration with industry solutions even easier.

Originally published on the IBM AIOps Community Blog.

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