By: Julian Stuhler, Director, Triton Consulting Ltd
Published: 22nd October 2013
Copyright Triton Consulting Ltd © 2013
Yes! Most mainframe software charges are based on monthly peak CPU usage. Whatever your peak workload in a given month is what you pay for. This means that one workload spike could push your costs up significantly.
By taking control of your peak workload and implementing tuning procedures, on-going software costs can be reduced and you may even be able to defer mainframe upgrades.
The effects of growing CPU Usage
Mainframe CPU usage tends to grow over time. This is down to a wide variety of factors (increased data and transaction volumes, new and more complex application code releases, new and more complex releases of middleware such as DB2, etc). These increases can have two major effects.
Performance: Typically, any significant increase in the amount of CPU used by a given workload will result in an associated increase in transaction elapsed times. For performance-critical online workloads, that increase can translate directly into poorer critical business metrics such as customer satisfaction and retention.
Just throwing more MIPS at a poorly-performing DB2 workload does not always address the issue. A 2 hour response time may be reduced to 1.5 hours with more CPU time being available, but the problem might be due to a poor access path and some expert DBA attention could get it down to 5 seconds. This is especially true of application performance tuning, which is where the majority of performance issues tend to lie.
Cost: Although performance is a key issue for many organisations, the major driver for many IT teams is the need to reduce mainframe resource usage and thereby potentially defer hardware upgrades and reduce monthly software licence costs. There are also human costs to consider: maintaining an underperforming system takes more time and resource for IT teams and adds pressure from the business teams who are calling for improved response times.
The key to a successful workload tuning exercise is to know where you’re starting from. It is vital to understand exactly where workload peaks occur before you can really be effective with your workload tuning.
“I have seen many large mainframe customers struggle to get a clear view on when their workload peaks occur during the month across all mainframe workloads. Without this vital information it is very difficult to get workloads tuned effectively. Only once these peaks have been identified can organisations really bring down the cost of their mainframe software licencing through tuning activities” - Paul Stoker, Director, Triton Consulting Ltd.
Through the effective analysis and tuning of workload peaks it is possible for organisations to reduce their CPU charges by 3–5%. For organisations running very large workloads this can equate to savings of tens of thousands of pounds per month.
The majority of mainframe users have significant potential for further reducing resource consumption (and therefore costs) through performance tuning of key workloads. This is especially true for those with older applications that haven’t been actively maintained for a while or who have lost some of their deep middleware skills through retirement or redundancy. By tuning these workloads, on-going software costs can be reduced and mainframe upgrades potentially deferred. In addition, application performance will be enhanced and overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) reduced.
The benefits of DB2 mainframe tuning can be felt across the entire business. From the CFO who will see significant reduction in IT spend through to the IT teams who benefit from improved application performance and thus improved customer service, a thorough tuning exercise can indeed improve business performance.
Find out more http://www.triton.co.uk/ztune/
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