CA Beefs Up Mainframe Network and Systems Management Solutions

CA announced new releases of its network and systems management solutions, designed to help data center customers improve performance and increase application availability. CA's latest releases of CA NetMaster and CA SYSVIEW enable IT personnel to discover and correct technical issues to prevent outages and optimize performance.

Enterprise IT organizations continue to run most business-critical applications on IBM mainframes, but their network and systems management staffs have to cope with an increasingly complex range of tasks requiring a broad range of skill-sets. CA's newly enhanced solution-CA NetMaster Network Management for TCP/IP r11.6-is designed to reduce the complexity of managing mainframe-based services. The new release helps organizations address network management challenges with IBM's Enterprise Extender (EE) technology, which enables legacy applications to run over IP networks without modification but keeps these layers of network activity hidden from view.

"The EE-related enhancements to CA NetMaster give IT staff much-needed visibility into network traffic issues that are masked by IP encapsulation - which means that they would otherwise require some pretty sophisticated packet analysis tools and skills to discover," Mark Combs, senior vice president of the Mainframe Business Unit at CA, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "So companies that are using EE to run their legacy SNA applications unmodified over IP networks will definitely be glad to have this capability."

The new release of CA NetMaster also provides exception-based diagnostics that can reveal "hidden" EE issues that enable IT to better safeguard application availability and performance. New EE functions include visual indicators, proactive warnings, packet traces using SmartTrace, resource usage reports, diagnostic tools and built-in best practice recommendations.

CA NetMaster supports IPv6, offloads a large part of its processing to zIIP engines, thereby enabling sites to reduce their consumption of costly general processor CPU cycles. It also helps organizations address Requirement 11 of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which governs the protection of customers' personal information. The tool also integrates with solutions such as CA Service Desk, CA NSM and CA OPS/MVS Event Management and Automation. Organizations also can view and manage systems alerts from CA SYSVIEW on the CA NetMaster console.

CA SYSVIEW Performance Management r12, an interactive solution for management and real-time monitoring of z/OS environments, helps IT staff optimize service levels across multiple systems. Enhancements in r12 include graphical performance "dashboards" that enable users to easily manage diverse mainframe systems, subsystems, databases, networks, and middleware from a single point-of-control, personalize data displays for individual manager's needs, and set customized alert thresholds.

CA SYSVIEW supports third-party data sources such as IBM's RMF, including access and utilization of past-performance RMF displays to speed the diagnosis of performance problems. CA SYSVIEW Performance Management r12 is also tightly integrated with CA's rich portfolio of mainframe and enterprise management solutions-including CA OPS/MVS Event Management and Automation and CA Insight Performance Monitor for DB2 for z/OS. Another enhancement includes integrated access to performance data from other CA solutions-including CA Vantage, Storage Resource Manager, CA ASTEX, Performance, and CA PDSMAN PDS Library Management.

"The solutions fill several gaps in existing data center management portfolios," Combs says. "The new versions of both CA NetMaster and CA SYSVIEW also deliver new compliance-related capabilities that customers are looking for. In the former case, this includes support for PCI Requirement 11. In the latter, this includes the capture of all user activity. In fact, the new versions address a variety of customers needs-including migration to IPv6, the offloading of management workloads onto zIIP, and the proliferation of mainframe-related storage resources. These are not all immediate needs for every customer-but almost all customers have an immediate need for at least some of these enhancements."

In accordance with CA's "Mainframe 2.0 initiative," both products are available via electronic software distribution-allowing customers to install them directly from local DASD without creating a tape cartridge.

The new products also address another overarching concern faced by enterprises-the impending shortage of mainframe skills, Combs says. "Almost all our customers are facing growing mainframe workloads and a graying mainframe workforce," he explains. "So the overall thrust of all of CA's new mainframe solutions will continue to be ease-of-ownership and a reduction in the level of skill and experience IT staff need to keep their companies' mainframe environments performing at peak efficiency."

For more information, visit the CA Website.