Why It’s Time for a Mainframe Batch Renaissance

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Overview: Just like the mainframe, batch workloads aren’t disappearing—they’re growing. Managing this change requires more than experience. Having a mature batch strategy with adequate automation is essential. Compuware’s new batch maturity model can help.

 

In my over 30 years of working with mainframes, batch has always been the ugly stepchild. In my first mainframe job, we took a test: Those who did well became the “cool kids,” writing macro CICS ALC code for the online order processing system. If you didn’t do as well, you wrote COBOL for batch.

Years passed with many believing batch could be eliminated. When UNIX became popular, no one even talked about batch, but it was work that still needed to be done. Even when automation became available, software budgets still went to the flashier online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads.

The Challenge for Mainframe Batch

How is it that in most cases, nightly batch keeps chugging along? The answer: Expert mainframe professionals who use their years of knowledge and experience to manually manage batch to SLAs.

But guess what? Those experts are retiring fast, right as mainframe workloads are growing and expectations are rising for increased velocity and cost savings.

Where once we printed our batch window on large sheets pasted to the walls of the data center, now no one person can possibly understand or remember the complexity and interconnectedness of the many batch workloads that have to be managed.

Batch is critical, and it’s time for it to get the attention it deserves.

Addressing Mainframe Batch Maturity

The first step is understanding how mature your batch processing strategy is, relative to your goals, by evaluating your practices against a batch maturity model. Until recently, there wasn’t one, but Compuware experts have studied the matter and devised a model with the goal of decreasing human intervention.

Measure Your Batch Maturity

This batch maturity model focuses on automation, as this is the only way to manage the increasing batch demand as experts retire. The goal is an elevated role for Operations, allowing those teams to focus on end-user satisfaction with tools that enable the fine-tuning of batch goals and policies and minimize/eliminate fire drills.

Compuware | Batch Maturity Model | ThruPut Manager | Batch Automation | Automated Batch Processing

Using the Batch Maturity Model

While few will find themselves at the reactive level, it’s helpful to delve into the details to ensure you’ve completed every automation task for each level before proceeding. Print a copy of the article defining each level so you can more fully assess your processes. It’s likely that many will have achieved parts of some levels described, but missed some automation opportunities that add value.

The good news is you don’t have to write your automation tools as so many of us did in the past. Compuware ThruPut Manager can help you achieve many of the tasks defined in the batch maturity model.

Compuware ThruPut Manager dashboard | Batch Automation | Automated Batch Processing

Compuware ThruPut Manager

Not only does ThruPut Manager’s automation relieve operators of cumbersome tasks, freeing them to look at the workloads more holistically; the tool also improves SLA compliance, reduces impact on OLTP workloads and, best of all, can reduce MLC costs. Implementing ThruPut Manager can help you achieve the following important goals:

1. Automated Service Level Management

ThruPut Manager takes automated action when problems arise and delivers real-time information on trends and compliance. As workloads grow and batch elongates, you get the heads-up you need to make adjustments.

2. Workload Balancing and Throughput

Stop manually managing your initiators and let automation ensure they are optimally initiated at all times. Performance is measured every 10 seconds allowing rapid course-correction.

3. Workload Prioritization and Escalation

Ensure your most important work gets into execution sooner by letting the tool do it for you.

4. Automatic Rule Retention

As you develop business rules to manage batch, they will be retained and applied. Make decisions in advance, not under pressure.

5. MSU Reduction

Don’t find out too late about added MLC costs when you run your monthly report. Instead, empower ThruPut Manager to manage this for you by reducing the CPU available to less critical workloads to keep your peak R4HA under control.

6. Dataset Contention Management

Eliminate this key problem from slowing batch and ensure your highest priority batch jobs get the data first.

7. Job Analysis, Job Routing and Data Center Standards Management

This grab-bag of features speaks to a number of levels of the maturity model. By doing an in-depth analysis of job requirements, you can be sure that your job runs where it should and gets the resources it needs while running. No JCL changes needed.

Join the Batch Renaissance

By reviewing your batch maturity and filling in the gaps with intelligent, batch-centric automation, you can more easily achieve throughput goals, eliminate resource contention with online work and save money. And automation not only manages the minutiae of batch for you, it allows you to have much more fun in your job while making you the data-center hero.

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Chief Innovator, Denise P. Kalm began her career in biochemical genetics (M.S. University of Michigan). She went on to have a career in IT, beginning with programming, moving to performance and capacity planning and then to work for vendors. Her experience as a performance analyst/capacity planner, software consultant, and then marketing maven at various software companies grounds her work providing contract writing, editing, marketing and speaking services. She is a frequently published author in both the IT world and outside. Kalm is a requested speaker at such venues as SHARE, CMG and ITFMA and has enhanced her skills through Toastmasters where she has earned her ACG/ALB. She is also a personal coach at DPK Coaching.
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