Many companies still have their critical applications running on z Systems 24/7. Among these, the applications dedicated to manage CICS transactions engage tremendous amounts of money… Abandoning the mainframe platform is then not an option, having proved highly robust, reliable and able to support heavy workloads for quite a long time now.
Increase of CICS transactions load and of associated costs
Nevertheless, the trend to open up the information systems has moved faster in recent years, with the development of Cloud Computing and the increased use of mobile devices. This trend also applies to mainframe applications, which have moved from internal use only to a wider exposure. These applications nowadays face a strong increase in the number of processed requests, in a much greater proportion than ever before. John Knutson (CICS Market Enablement Team) reflects this change on his blog: “When I started as a big system programmer, 2000 transactions were considered a heavy day. Today, some of our CICS customers daily exceed the billion”.
This additional load directly affects the mainframe-associated costs for the companies. Indeed, the billing model of applications such as CICS provides Monthly License Costs based on the machine’s power consumption, and expressed in Millions of Service Units (MSU). Furthermore, these costs are regularly increased for older CICS releases.
Reduce license costs linked to mainframe transactions
The increasing volume of transactions and associated costs triggers a double challenge for the companies: how to do better at lesser costs? To answer this need, controlling mainframe applications costs is essential. To achieve that goal, two strategies emerge: replace some of the technical bricks, and reduce the consumption of machine resources by applications.
Replace applicative elements
Indeed, replacing some of the technical bricks used by CICS applications by equivalent components help reducing license costs.
Let’s consider the gateway allowing integration of CICS transactions into other environments: the license cost of this connector adds to general mainframe operating costs, thus increasing the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Nowadays, alternatives exist to replace this costly application with an equivalent product, for half the original price.
Reduce CPU consumption costs by 20% to 30%
The other possible lever is with CPU consumption. CICS has been around for 47 years: in order to preserve the compatibility with older releases, certain inherited mechanisms are not always optimized in the current context, as for instance the tasks executed by the transaction scheduler. By delegating these tasks to a more efficient tool, it’s possible to significantly reduce the load: ongoing tests show a decrease of 20% to 30% in CPU consumption. These gains will be immediately translated into savings on the monthly bill.
Improve z Systems TCO
Companies confronted with this cost reduction challenge can quickly implement these two levers. In the first case, implementing the alternative solution can be carried out by immediate replacement in a simple and transparent way. In the second case, no modifications whatsoever to the programs are needed; instead, a tool running within CICS receives the redirected calls to the scheduler for processing.
This way, firms can now act on both real sources of CICS-linked costs and improve their z Systems TCO.