At a time when mainframe sales are going strong, CA has announced Mainframe 2.0, an initiative to simplify its tools for managing IBM's mainframe z/OS operating system.
Mainframe 2.0 combines enhancements to CA's (NASDAQ: CA) mainframe management solutions with new turnkey management services.
"A lot of sites have doubled and quadrupled mainframe workloads, but staffing has gone down, and it was conventional wisdom in the last 10 years not to invest in mainframe skills. Now customers are feeling the burden," Vince Re, a senior vice president at CA, told InternetNews.com.
CA announced Mainframe 2.0 Wednesday at CA World 2008, its annual user conference, being held this year in Las Vegas through Thursday.
Under Mainframe 2.0, CA will create a uniform browser-based look and feel across all its solutions, automate processes and provide data to insulate IT staff from the complexities of the z/OS operating system, and streamline its solutions so they can be deployed by minimally skilled IT staff.
It will also deliver software solutions electronically. The delivery will be built on standard z/OS tools such as SMP/E so customers do not have to reconstitute their tape volumes after downloading new solutions.
CA will also provide turnkey services customers can use to address gaps in internal staffing skills or control staffing costs. It calls this approach out-tasking.
Out-tasking lets enterprises lease hardware, software and skilled staff from CA. "When a customer buys hardware and software, he's not after the technology, he's really after the outcome," CA's Re said.
"They don't care about what's getting them the results, they just want the results, so we're letting them buy the outcome."
Keeping things simple
That is going to be important as mainframe sales keep growing. "IBM's revenue from mainframe sales as reported for Q3 was up 25 percent year over year and we were up 32 percent in Q2 year over year, and we're the only platform running a double digit growth in the industry," Karl Freund, IBM's (NYSE: IBM) vice president of marketing and strategy for System z, told InternetNews.com.
"We've been simplifying our mainframe tools for years, and we're very pleased to see CA doing that as well," Freund added.
The growth in mainframe sales is being driven by companies looking to take advantage of datacenter virtualization and consolidation.
Mainframes offer a very high degree of consolidation. "You can virtualize and consolidate literally hundreds of Intel-based applications or a smaller number of Unix-based applications onto a single mainframe, saving tons of money and facilities costs," analyst Charles King of Pund-IT Research told InternetNews.com.