BMC ties mainframes into broader systems management

BMC Software Monday detailed plans to release a set of eight new and upgraded mainframe management tools that are designed partly to help systems administrators more closely link information about mainframes and distributed servers.

Bill Miller, vice president and general manager of BMC's mainframe service management unit, said the Houston-based company is adding capabilities for feeding information on outages, slowdowns and other mainframe system events into its Atrium 2.0 configuration management database. The Atrium software initially supported distributed systems only, Miller said.

Some of the BMC products are available now, including a new tool that sends data about mainframe events to BMC's Service Impact Manager software so users can analyze their impact on business operations. Others are due by year's end, including a tool that automatically identifies mainframe assets and puts information about them into Atrium.

BMC also plans to integrate the configuration database with its Batch Impact Manager software for monitoring and reporting on business services tied to batch processing jobs, Miller said.

Merrill Lynch & Co. plans to evaluate the new tools as a possible means of expanding its internal systems management capabilities, said Tony Lotito, first vice president and manager of mainframe services at the New York-based financial services firm.

Merrill Lynch has been a user of BMC's Mainview tools since 2001. Lotito said he thinks that over the years, BMC has continued to outflank its top rivals in the mainframe management software market, including CA and IBM's Tivoli Software unit.

BMC's new products will link mainframe and batch-operations management processes to asset discovery and distributed transaction management capabilities, said Jean-Pierre Garbani, an analyst at Forrester Research.

That will enable systems administrators to look at how an entire application is functioning, Garbani said. He added that the promised integration is particularly important for IT staffers in markets such as finance and insurance, where mainframes are still a key back-end component of many applications.

"For way too long, there has been a disconnect between distributed and mainframe management solutions," said Rich Ptak, an analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates in Amherst, N.H. "Mostly, [vendors] have been trying to patch over the disconnect. That approach is inelegant and, in the end, not satisfactory."

BMC also said it plans in the fall to upgrade its Mainview Transaction Analyzer software, which is designed to pinpoint problems in transactions, with support for IBM's WebSphere MQ messaging middleware technology. Support for the WebSphere application server is due to follow next year, BMC said.

Other tools announced by the company Monday provide new backup and recovery capabilities for IMS databases as well as added security for DB2 databases, including up to 128-bit encryption for image-copy data being transported to off-site locations, BMC said.

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