Over the past few years, IT departments have come under increasing pressure to plan and manage their budgets more efficiently. End users are more discerning than ever: they demand the ability to do more with less. Consequently, optimization and rationalization are now key words for every IT manager.

To help IT better address this new reality, we analyzed five key steps to optimize efficiency in a z/Datacenter.

1. Understand the requirements:

First off, it is crucial to get input from all end users in order to build activity evolution scenarios. Every stakeholder must clarify his needs and provide as much information as possible so that SLAs can be defined under optimal planning conditions. This step requires transparency from all involved.

2. Establishing a workable service level agreement (SLA)

Next comes the negotiation and definition of SLAs with end users. This step shouldn’t be taken lightly – these SLAs are essential when designing the datacenter. Indeed, hardware and software needs and decisions will be driven and sized according to the requirements that have been set.

3. Managing resource allocation:

Once SLAs have been defined, the next step requires turning your attention to the definition of an optimized WLM policy. To achieve this goal, one of the key challenges becomes defining an optimized WLM Policy. In order for IT to deliver the right level of service to end users., all workloads now need to be prioritized and, from this prioritization, performance rules need to be established. Of course, to function effectively, such rules must be as stable and relevant as possible. (An increasing number of customers choose to use Resource Groups to better manage workload allocation).

4. Planning ahead

The first three steps enable the implementation of efficient processes for managing daily activity. However, these needs can change and accurate Capacity Planning using capacity and cost planning tools. These readily available tools can help you stay ahead of the curve by making it easy to model a wide range of scenarios and allow for more informed strategic decisions to be made concerning the configuration most suited to your evolving technical and financial requirements. Users can forecast hardware needs as well as the progression of software costs, including costs related to MLC and Sysplex Aggregation.

All this planning will give you all the elements necessary to develop a hardware acquisition plan and properly negotiate software contracts with your suppliers. Budgets are optimized and budget limits are much easier to comply with.

5. Optimize as much as you can

There’s always room for improvement. Regularly tuning WLM policy is a great practice. Other recommended best practices include the implementation of tools to control future costs such as those that can dynamically modify DC, ensure SLAs are respected, as well as monitor CPC, LPAR, and MSU consumption.

While this may seem intuitive to some, and a little involved to others, done properly, the planning, modeling and regular optimization of your operations will serve the needs of your users, your finance organization, and most of all, your organization, for a long time to come.

Jacky Hofbauer is the President & Chief Strategy Officer of zCost Management, the leader in MLC Cost Control. Jacky has been intricately involved with system Z and z/Pricing for over 30 years and is a recognized expert in this space. He continues to share his knowledge and experience through popular white papers and Newsletters about system z and z/Pricing. Jacky is a regular contributor of z/articles to Planet Mainframe.

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