CA Offers Mainframe Software Bundles and Freebie Services
Published: January 22, 2008
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
As part of its reorganization last year, software maker CA, which has a mainframe heritage in software that is perhaps second only to IBM itself, created a mainframe business unit and tapped Chris O'Malley to be its general manager. Today, CA is unveiling a new set of software bundles for mainframe customers--complete with a shift in pricing that will save them money and some free services to boot--as part of the reinvigoration of its mainframe business.
Free is a word you don't hear much in the mainframe market, of course. Unless you have been around for a few decades and you remember that mainframes used to be wickedly expensive, but then again, all the big suppliers of mainframes sent a fleet of suited engineers and software developers into your shop to help you write code and keep the machines humming. That was, of course, a long time ago, but the reality of the mainframe market--and the rise of IBM's Software Group and Global Services unit--is that to a large extent, IBM cut the costs on mainframe hardware more or less on the Moore's Law curve but has, over the decades, added software and support fees. If you do the math, it would be hard to argue that the overall mainframe budget changed all that much.
Anyway, CA was there back then and its managers have figured out that a little hand-holding and tech support help can go a long way--particularly when a sales rep is trying to renew a subscription to a basket of mainframe software products at a big iron shop. That's what the Mainframe Value Program, which CA started testing last October, is all about. According to David Hodgson, senior vice president of mainframe systems products at CA, the MVP effort is really designed to help CA figure out how companies are using its products and to give them some advice on how to better use them. Provided that you don't do a free assessment too close to a renewal deal, the 30 companies that have been testing MVP are pretty grateful for the assessment that CA's engineers are offering.
"Most mainframe customers are on a three-year contract, and we are trying to go in around the middle of the contract and ensure that customers are getting value from our products," explains Hodgson. "Field technical people go in and focus on the five or six key CA products at the customer and review how that customer is using the software." The process takes about two months to complete and at the end, CA gives the IT department a formal report outlining what their practices are and how they might be improved. Hodgson says that intrepid salespeople at CA were doing this sort of thing informally, and some did it a little too close to renewal dates, which sometimes made customers skeptical. "This is about what people are really buying with their software maintenance dollars. Often, they do not have the time or training to use our products well."
The issue that MVP is addressing is a bit larger than that, says Vince Re, chief software architect at CA. "These mainframe customers have been feeling neglected, not just by CA or IBM, but by the entire IT industry," he says. "They are not getting attention internally at their own companies, either, because people are trying to figure out how to do .NET on Windows and things like that."
To help make it easier for its sales force to sell its mainframe products and customers to consume its products--and for a lower price--CA is also today rolling out six software suites related to the mainframe platform. According to Hodgson, CA's customers usually have two or three of the products that are now in these suites--which have four, five, or six components--already running in their shops, and they are paying according to a MIPS-based pricing scheme. The new mainframe suites from CA use an MSU-based usage pricing scheme, which Hodgson says can save customers about a third the price of buying the software under the MIPS-priced scheme.
Here are the mainframe suites and their descriptions:
- Mainframe Performance Management Suite: Enables continuous processing of TCP/IP, CICS, DB2 and WebSphere MQ applications by automating the collection and prioritization of system information from multiple systems to ensure problems are discovered and fixed before they impact availability. Its centralized management simplifies performance tuning, reduces software maintenance and overhead costs, improves staff accuracy and effectiveness, and facilitates fulfillment of service level agreements.
- Mainframe Security Management Suite: Helps customers to identify exposures, validate security system integrity and effectiveness, and take corrective actions to safeguard business information, ensure privacy, and improve performance. Its use of consistent, centralized controls enables efficient analysis and administration of the entire environment.
- Mainframe Tape Utilization and Compliance Suite: Enables customers to secure information with encryption, improve utilization, and simplify migration or consolidation projects. Its tight product integration and automation transparency helps customers contain costs, unify tape operations, and maximize the use and life of their storage investments, thereby reducing overall tape TCO.
- Mainframe Resource Management Suite: Delivers accurate information for effective IT financial reporting, capacity planning, and system performance tuning. It automates the collection, archival and delivery of SMF metrics from multiple systems--saving time and CPU resources, while eliminating the risk of using wrong data.
- Mainframe Database Performance Management Suite: Significantly enhances enterprise-wide database performance, saving time and conserving CPU resources. It works seamlessly to address DB2 for z/OS performance issues across subsystems, objects, applications and SQL-delivering the information needed for holistic DB2 performance management.
- Mainframe Automated Storage Optimization Suite: Unifies major storage management operations by automating critical monitoring and analysis of DASD, tapes, tape management systems, robotics and virtual tape systems. It helps reduce costs and administration by simplifying management of complex enterprise storage environments, maximizing use of existing storage resources and ensuring protection and high-availability of applications and business information.
As we go to press, the full descriptions of the actual software modules behind these suites is not yet available.
IT Skills Shortage Could Play Out in Favor of Mainframes
CA Extends Change Management to i5/OS
CA Updates System i Development Tools, Renames Them Again
CA Fixes Security Flaws in Backup Software
CA to Offer C# Code Generator with AllFusion Plex Release 6
Post this story to del.icio.us
Post this story to Digg
Post this story to Slashdot