CA brings mainframe management into Web 2.0 world

CA has stepped up efforts to make IBM mainframes more manageable and secure in Web 2.0 computing environments.

The Islandia, N.Y.-based software developer announced a slew of product updates over the month of May to help business and government organizations take better advantage of the energy efficiency, scalability and security of IBM z/OS mainframe computers, CA officials said.

CA recently unveiled CA Compliance Manager for z/OS, a platform-resident solution that provides real-time automated policy management of security and compliance events across IBM z/OS environments and mainframe security subsystems — including Access Control Facility, CA Top Secret and IBM Resource Access Control Facility.

Currently this is a time consuming and costly task. Information technology organizations primarily verify compliance with operational policies by manually checking historical data against their current security implementation.

CA Compliance Manager for z/OS addresses this problem through automated monitoring, real-time alerting and historical reporting. This automated intelligence is especially important as mainframe environments are made increasingly complex by growing workloads — and as mainframe management tasks are passed on to a new generation of IT professionals with less experience on the z/OS platform, CA officials said.

“Increasing mainframe workloads — combined with a constrained supply of skilled staff — can result in unacceptable risk on the mainframe, which has traditionally been the least vulnerable platform in the enterprise,” said David Hodgson, senior vice president in CA's Mainframe Business Unit.

Management upgrades

Additionally, CA announced that it has upgraded 143 of its 166 mainframe management solutions to help users take full advantage of the resurgence in mainframe computing and respond to the generational shift in the IT professionals tasked with managing the platform.

CA also introduced CA Mainframe Software Manager (MSM), a management solution designed to simplify the acquisition and implementation of CA software on the IBM z/OS platform.

These new offerings represent the initial deliverables for Mainframe 2.0, CA’s previously announced initiative to improve the governance, management and security of IBM’s z/OS platform.

In addition to CA MSM, which features a Web-based user interface implemented using the Google Web Toolkit, CA’s initial Mainframe 2.0 solutions include:

• A synchronized release stack that eliminates multiple learning curves by standardizing installation, planning and implementation cycles across 45 CA mainframe solutions.

• More than 100 mainframe solution health checks that seamlessly integrate with the IBM Health Checker for z/OS framework. The company also enhanced electronic software delivery for 143 CA solutions that lets mainframe users electronically retrieve and install this software without having to build a physical tape.

CA's Mainframe 2.0 solutions are important to federal agencies because they are seeing significant growth in the z/OS environments at the same time as their most experienced mainframe managers are nearing retirement, said Chris O’Malley, executive vice president and general manager of CA’s Mainframe Business Unit.

Federal agencies using CA’s mainframe software include: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Defense Information Systems Agency, Financial Management Service bureau of the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration.

Much of the programming and testing work for CA’s Mainframe 2.0 software is being done by developers with next-generation skill sets such as Java and C++, CA officials said. By making programmers with skills in Java and C++ an integral part of this development effort, CA hopes the mainframe can continue to play a strategic role in an enterprise computing environment dominated by browser-based interfaces and Web-centric technologies.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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