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Mainframe Linux to get management boost

Mainframe Linux to get management boost

IBM, Computer Associates and BMC Software will announce products this week aimed to help customers manage Linux applications on mainframes.

At the SHARE user conference last week, IBM gave details on a mainframe application that will let customers install hundreds of copies of Linux without requiring extensive mainframe programming skills, while CA and BMC will introduce software for managing S/390-based Linux applications, and security and storage functions.

Installations of Linux are growing at more than double the pace of other operating systems, and it is becoming increasingly popular on mainframes. IBM has seen about 4,000 downloads of the Linux mainframe software from the Web since January. IBM envisions enterprise-class applications such as DB2 and Lotus Domino as Linux applications on mainframes feeding fast mainframe Web servers. Customers using a mainframe to run Linux applications can take advantage of mainframe reliability and security as well as its fast I/O technology and capacity to support thousands of users.

CA is introducing a dozen products for monitoring and managing mainframe Linux installations. Company executives say the TNG Unicenter network management platform will be tweaked to let customers monitor and manage S/390 Linux applications, storage and security.

Agents will reside on each virtual Linux server and will monitor, for example, a Linux Web application's status and end-user response times. These agents will then send the data to the Unicenter management console, which usually sits on a Windows NT server.

BMC will also roll out software to let customers manage Linux applications on the mainframe, as well as do performance analysis and capacity planning. For the first time, the firm will offer an S/390 Linux Knowledge Module, or data collector product, which sits on a mainframe and looks at Linux server-related data, such as availability or CPU utilisation. Via an agent, the Knowledge Module sends this information back to a Patrol console, which typically runs on an NT server. The S/390 Linux Knowledge Module is in beta-test form and will be offered free for a limited time to Patrol customers.

The firm will also tweak its Mainview Prediction 1.0 suite for Linux users.

Mainview Prediction sits on a mainframe and watches the performance of Linux applications to create a snapshot of data such as transaction rates. This data is put in an XML wrapper for presentation on any NT server or workstation for viewing.

Other tools being considered will automate certain functions, such as prioritising IP traffic for key users during traffic spikes. Mainview Prediction is in beta-test form now, and pricing has not been determined.


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