Managing Mainframe Business Continuity

Irina Kiptikova
Corporate Communications Director
IBA Group

This video blog is a continuation from our earlier vlog on mainframe systems, where we mentioned that the mainframe platform has been changing, as well as the mainframe service models.

Oleg Lapushanski, Head of the Multiplatform Technologies Department at IBA, tells us about the new mainframe service models, and how he solves mainframe support problems using automation and new experience management methods.

Mark Hillary, our blogger and a well-known industry analyst in the area of technology and customer experience, helps Oleg share his ideas.

Mark Hillary: “After the first webinar, I wanted to learn more about how mainframes are managed in 2020.”

I recently participated in a webinar hosted by IBA focused on why mainframes have suddenly returned to the top of the news agenda.

Governments, banks, and airlines have been overwhelmed by the effect of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic globally. All of these different business sectors rely on mainframe computers – to process citizen unemployment claims, banking transactions, or ticket allocations.

We might not realize it, but there are still a lot of mainframes out there working for many of the brands we use on a daily basis. After the first webinar, I wanted to learn more about how mainframes are managed in 2020, so I’m pleased to have Oleg from IBA on the line to answer some more questions.

Oleg, I know that you have done a lot to bring mainframe management into the 21st century. How did you originally get the idea that maybe some of the applications can be automated? What value does this approach bring to the clients you are working with? Do you have a way of capturing problems and experience so the system can learn for the future?

Oleg Lapushanski: “I connected my professional career with mainframes and realized that we can improve a lot.”

Managing operations in increasingly complex systems gets harder with each passing day. Limited resources, poor experience management, distributed teams, lack of proper Z resources, difficulties with involving young people in the Z area…

How to make operational problem resolution less stressful, and how to use knowledge and experience of Z community? Answering these questions, we came to the idea to develop an automated support management system and called it APPULSE.

We combined Incident Management and Experience Management with Operations Support for business applications that run on z/OS servers and use different IBM subsystems, including IMS, CICS, Db2, MQ, TWSz and nFTP. As a result, we can identify operational problems faster and at an early stage, resolve them quicker, and achieve business continuity. The support personnel gets free time, which they can use for transformation and development projects.

The system can learn for the future. In case a problem is new, the support person must resolve it from APPULSE and then perform incident review, that is formalize this kind of operational problems, creating an incident template. All these incident templates get into the neural network and are extracted when a similar incident occurs. The real incident values are added as parameters on the fly. So, we need to review the solution prompted by APPULSE, to validate it, and to execute it. 

This way, support people enrich the APPULSE solution database with new types of problem solutions.  Digitizing, accumulating, and sharing team experience, we achieve higher performance and help newcomers get into the operations support much quicker.

This is our second blog post in a series of video discussions on mainframe systems. Please share your thoughts about the discussion or offer your topics for future videos by leaving your comments or suggestions here.

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