Operational excellence through open ecosystems

19 May, 2017
Brian Jeffrey

What are the biggest concerns that we hear from our mainframe customers? In the IT world, this seems to boil down to two seemingly simple words: Operational excellence. Achieving operational excellence comes down to three primary factors – managing costs, mitigating risks and providing the agility to react to the needs of the business. Understanding and managing these factors leads to a competitive advantage.

Cost is front-of-mind in most IT shops today. Gone are the days when IT existed in a silo and drove its own direction. Due to reduced budgets and higher customer demands IT is a supporting pillar of the lines of business. There’s a constant struggle to minimize delivery costs while maximizing both service availability and profit. This dynamic is driving system optimization as well as automated processes. One of the constant challenges with optimization is defining “done.” This can be difficult to achieve in a vacuum. Sure, you can have discussions with peers, but they struggle in the same way. Leveraging optimization solutions such as IBM z Operational Insights can help you achieve better operational efficiency by comparing your performance to peers using the available benchmarking capabilities.

As systems get optimized and data volumes grow exponentially, there are inevitable blind spots. It’s impossible to maintain full visibility on everything the machine is doing without tooling. This may start off with straightforward monitoring of things such as CPU, disk and memory. Inevitably it matures to things such as log analysis and anomaly detection. All of this data needs to be correlated as the focus shifts to service delivery and toughening service-level agreements (SLAs). Real-time analysis drives the transition from reacting to outages to becoming proactive about outage avoidance.IBM Operations Analytics for z Systems (including zAware) make it possible to detect degradations and anomalies before they disrupt your services. Even when there is an outage, it helps you resolve the issues quickly using best practices recommendations.

A comprehensive view of the data

Building a comprehensive data lake across operations and lines of business provides the foundation for efficient decision making. Agility is vital in this new world of business. Slow response times and outages cost not only transactional revenue, but ultimately, customers. It’s not just about how your internal operations are performing either. Data needs to be looked at from a broader context – click and page analysis, social media reactions, support metrics, competitor’s campaigns and more. It’s now possible to truly shape your IT operations based on what’s happening in the real world. IBM Common Data Provider for z Systems opens the door to getting your mainframe data into your data lake and it supports analytics solutions such as Splunk and Elastic.

I encourage you to take the next step and learn about IBM’s z Systems management solutions and how they can help you achieve operational excellence.

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