Mainframe computers are the computers that are utilized in large businesses to manage mission-critical applications such as bulk data processing, enterprise resource planning, and transaction processing. The performance of the systems is far higher than that of any other systems, and a significant amount of memory and processors are employed in the systems. The mainframe is a technology in which the requests that are received are processed quickly and then forwarded to the appropriate processor cards for processing. These systems are utilized by large IT corporations as well as Walmart, NASA, and other organizations. Mainframes will continue to be used soon and will not be phased out anytime soon. Many businesses rely on computers as a reliable source of information technology systems.
Components of Mainframe
The following are the most important components of mainframe environments:
Job Control Language (JCL) is an extension of the IBM mainframe and is used as the primary scripting language on the platform. JCL is an authoritative and extensible programming language that makes it easier to operate and customize remote computing resources for computers.
- Jobs that are submitted are executed at a later date and time
- Jobs that are submitted are executed right away
- There is no interaction between the available users
- Interaction between the related users might be flexible
- The debugging process is archived using snapshots
- Making use of a much more participatory approach to debugging
The United States Department of Defense convened a debate in May 1958, and three key committees were tasked with designing the new language. It was given the name Cobol in 1959, which stands for (COMmon Business Oriented Language), and it was first used in 1959. COBOL was first publicly declared in May 1961, and it has been in use ever since.
Users began writing Cobol programs in 1962, which is when the compiler was first designed, from the standpoint of the compiler. The improved version of the game was launched in 1965. In August 1968, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) authorized a standard version of a language, which was thereafter placed into use. The next official revision of the standard, known as ANSI-74 Cobol or Cobol-74, was established in 1974 and is still in use today.
How to improve mainframe performance?
Despite advances in computing technology, the mainframe remains the mission-critical backend system for business logic and transaction processing, which is at the heart of many organizations’ digital transformation efforts. In several industry surveys, it has been discovered that mainframe workloads are increasing year on year, as new business efforts such as DevOps, automation, and modernization enable the creation, delivery, and maintenance of applications across distributed, cloud, and mainframe systems.
For years, changing customer expectations and business requirements have spurred the need for expanded cross-platform application growth and processing capability. Apart from having to handle this increased complexity while also being requested to cut data center costs, new issues such as the coronavirus pandemic have prompted firms to operate on even tighter budgets while continuing to invest in digital transformation initiatives.
As workloads increase and businesses strive to innovate more aggressively, choosing to lower mainframe capacity to save money will only result in decreased application performance and disgruntled customers in the future. The cost of increasing mainframe capacity and supporting application growth, on the other hand, is a burden that most IT budgets cannot absorb at any time, let alone during a pandemic.
In the meantime, IBM is continuing to optimize the IBM Z mainframe to increase its operating efficiency, which is occurring in combination with new cloud-like pricing models that reduce expenses. Still, as more businesses add mainframe workloads, there is an increasing need to reduce capacity cost increases by making the most of available mainframe resources.
The mainframe performance and capacity management tools IT teams use to accomplish this are essential because they enable them to understand how existing capacity is being used and where adjustments are required to enable application and transaction growth without having to purchase additional capacity.
How do mainframe performance management technologies aid in the optimization of existing CPU MIPS on a mainframe?
Adoption of a competent mainframe performance and capacity management system that provides a graphical and data-driven technique for lowering or regulating MIPS usage is a critical first step toward improving the utilization of present mainframe resources.
When it comes to selecting the most appropriate tool, search for a solution that increases your ability to do the following:
- Determine which workloads are causing the high CPU usage and when they are occurring, as well as what is causing CPU spikes that are limiting processors and having negative effects on mainframe performance and budget.
- Predict future MIPS consumption per workload over time, based on expected application growth and changing business requirements – showing whether or not there is sufficient present capacity to manage application expansion without acquiring additional processing power.
- Investigate the applicability and potential benefits of deploying less expensive specialty processors, such as zIIPs, to perform the same tasks while reducing MIPS consumption, thus freeing up more expensive MIPS for critical workloads that must be executed on general processors.
- Determine the optimal configuration settings for distinct logical partitions (LPARs) and the impact of prospective changes to the settings for the appropriate allocation of CPU resources on the overall system performance. Design and track the placement and movement of LPARs on various CPC platforms to minimize resource consumption and limit MIPS growth.
- Investigate the efficacy of specifying MIPS capacity for z/OS LPARs to restrict MIPS consumption, as well as the potential negative repercussions of soft capping, which limits an LPAR’s ability to utilize CPU resources.
When an LPAR is seeking processor resources, it is important to accurately detect delays rather than real-time high CPU MIPS utilization, to avoid needlessly increasing MIPS capacity and instead optimize configuration choices and tuning.
Delegate zIIP with the task of processing
It is possible that the use of specialized hardware, such as IBM’s System z Integrated Information Processor, will result in a significant reduction in the processing load (and expenditure) placed on your mainframe’s Central Processing Unit (CPU). The offloading of up to 90 percent of the CPU cycles to zIIP may allow you to reduce elapsed time by 25 percent in the cases of Copy, SMS Compression, and Sort, among other operations. Apart from that, the implementation of zIIP demands a single investment in hardware and does not necessitate any ongoing licensing payments.
Reduce the amount of time that can be spent on batch processing
On mainframes, batch processing is just as significant as real-time online transaction processing (OLTP), which is typically done on a transactional basis. Many businesses rely significantly on batch runs when it comes to compiling operating statistics, generating client statements, or processing payroll for their staff.
Batch processing is preferred to Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) in certain instances because of its higher throughput. When compared to online transaction processing (OLTP), which involves many database queries for each transaction, batch processing only needs to read data once and keep it in memory.
As a result, when batch and OLTP processes are competing for CPU or storage resources, it is vital to give preference to OLTP. Because batch processing consumes resources, it is critical to optimize the JCL that controls it to maximize the amount of time that batch processing may be completed.
How do programmers assess mainframe performance in the absence of MIPS?
Monitoring tools are available in a variety of configurations, based on the machine you want to monitor and the component of performance you want to assess, such as CPU performance or storage space utilization.
Mainframe MIPS are imprecise, mainframers have created more accurate methods of determining the speed and performance of their systems, which are described below. Monitors, which are software-based tools, are used to conduct today’s measurements. There are several tools available for the z/OS, including Tivoli Omegamon XE, BMC MAINVIEW for z/OS, CA-SYSVIEW, ASG TMON, and RMF (which stands for Resource Management Facility). These Monitors collect samples at regular intervals to measure things such as processor activity, channel activity, and resource activity, among other things.
Performance measures are taken by DASD Monitors, including disk space consumption, the amount of free space available, and system performance. BMCS DASD Manager Plus and Tivoli Omegamon XE are two examples of DASD Monitors in use today.
Industries in which mainframes are still important
What is it about mainframe systems that keep corporations like IBM investing such large sums of money in research and development? Why are corporations retaining their mainframes and even increasing their investments in them?
The short answer is that they continue to be the only sort of hardware capable of efficiently processing the massive volume of transactions that is now a frequent feature of corporate operations in many industries. To summarize, mainframes are still an important resource in businesses such as the ones listed below:
Banking Department IBM Z mainframes are used by 44 of the top 50 banks in the world. Banks of all sizes and sorts are required to conduct massive amounts of transactions. Investment banks place a high priority on high-frequency trading because they must be able to react instantly to changes in the financial markets. Retail banking, which revolves around credit card transactions, ATM withdrawals, and online account updates, necessitates the processing of massive numbers of transactions by banks of all sizes. Mainframes enable banks to process data at a scale that is inaccessible to commodity servers in either scenario.
An example of a satisfied customer: Precisely Technology helps a financial services company save millions of dollars by offloading sorting to zIIP.
- Insurance Departments IBM z mainframes are used by all of the world’s top ten insurance companies. Insurance firms rely on data and a lot of it to survive and thrive. Data assist them in assessing risk, setting prices, and investing in the most appropriate markets. Insurers rely on mainframes to ensure that they can handle the massive amounts of data that drive their operations.
- Healthcare Departments Healthcare is another field in which data is now king – and, as a result, mainframes are becoming increasingly popular. Mainframes are responsible for the safe, compliant, high-volume, and highly accessible data storage and transactions that are essential to the operation of modern healthcare organizations.
- Government Offices Government agencies of various kinds, from the Internal Revenue Service to the National Weather Service, must store and analyze massive volumes of data. Mainframes are still assisting them in their endeavor.
- Aviation Offices You don’t have to be a pilot to recognize that flight networks are complex and constantly changing environments. The reason for this is that airlines – not to mention government authorities that monitor airlines and even aircraft manufacturers – rely on mainframes to ensure that people and planes reach their destinations in the most efficient manner possible.
- Retailers Mainframes are still in use by 23 of the top 25 major retailers in the United States. Traditional merchants have relied on the mainframe for many years to assist them in processing transactions and keeping track of inventory. This technology can be used by a variety of businesses, not just traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
In addition to traditional merchants, online retailers can profit from the ability of current mainframe systems to manage massive amounts of transactions.
At their fundamental, mainframes are high-performance computers with vast amounts of memory and processors that conduct billions of basic calculations and transactions in real-time. The mainframe is crucial to business databases, transaction servers, and applications that demand high resiliency, security, and agility
Plus, mainframes’ modernization has expanded their capabilities while also making them more accessible to IT workers. The outcome is that mainframes are still in great demand, and mainframe markets are projected to rise over the next few years. Above, I have given all the necessary information on mainframe performance.