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IBM's Way With The Mainframe And SOA

IBM  is writing new mainframe management software to help customers accommodate the glut of transactions and other business processes that make their way onto IBM System z mainframes.

Company officials will preview new and upgraded software products at IBM's Share customer conference in Baltimore today.

The theme will revolve around helping clients protect the data housed on their mainframes, and safely share it with customers, partners and suppliers.

IBM has been on a mission to paint its System z machines as the best workhorses on which customers can integrate applications for distributed computing systems or service-oriented architectures (SOA).

SOAs  allow customers to reuse code and services, lowering development costs, but customers need software to effectively manage SOA components.

IBM vies with rivals Microsoft, BEA Systems, Oracle and others to build software to support what has become a multi-billion-dollar market for SOA infrastructure.

IBM's new products include Tivoli Workload Scheduler and Tivoli Omegamon XE, said Jim Rhyne, a distinguished engineer in IBM's WebSphere software unit.

Rhyne said IBM has also created a version of its Tivoli Composite Application Manager for the z/OS mainframe operating system.

Tivoli Workload Scheduler allows batch workloads, or computing jobs submitted to queues and scheduled for processing, to run across mainframe, SOA, enterprise service bus (ESB)  and grid computing systems.

The software automatically sends batch workloads to servers and networks, allowing companies to ensure that workloads are divvied up among its mainframes so that servers can operate at their potential.

"Increasingly, there's a need to combine work that's done across multiple platforms in the batch environment," Rhyne said.

"You find lots of files being FTPed around because they were created in one place but inputted to a batch process in another place. The Workload Scheduler is designed precisely to solve that kind of problem."

Tivoli Omegamon XE pinpoints IT problems across applications, middleware and systems that are not yet on an SOA.

The software analyzes different operating systems, databases, storage, networks and infrastructure software to provide administrators with a holistic system view.

Omegamon XE moves through monitoring applications in the system to find the root cause of a problem, without requiring an IT administrator to intervene. Omegamon XE is integrated with the Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database to share infrastructure information.

Once only available for distributed systems and grids running on regular servers, Composite Application Manager (CAM) is now available for the z/OS mainframe operating system, Rhyne said.

CAM lets customers diagnose IT problems in "composite" applications, which companies are using to connect logistics, procurement and credit approval processes, without having to switch between different management tools.

In one example of how the tool works, if a customer logs into a bank's Web site to change an address but is unable to do so, the Composite Application Manager follows the request from the user to the transaction to the location where the data is stored to find and fix the problem.

IBM's new software, based on technology gleaned from its purchases of Candle and Cyanea in 2004, will be available in the second half of this year.

The announcement follows IBM's last mainframe software upgrades from May, which included IBM Rational COBOL Generation tools, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus z for System z, WebSphere Portal for z/OS, DB2 Viper for z/OS and Tivoli Federated Identity Manager for its z/OS.

Federated Identity Manager corrals identities and resources across multiple companies and trading partners. This software also secures network traffic across firewalls.