New Remote Database Administration Services for Mainframe DB2 z/OS

dbaDIRECT says shrinking mainframe talent pool driving need for managed services

dbaDIRECT announced its new data infrastructure management service for IBM mainframe DB2 z/OS operating environments. dbaDIRECT is pioneering Data IM in North America and is constantly upgrading its service, the company told Enterprise Systems. It combines automated processes, methodologies, and systems that keep a round-the-clock eye on an organization’s mission-critical databases.

dbaDIRECT provides what it calls data infrastructure as a managed service (Data IM for short). Work is done remotely, out of company headquarters in Cincinnati with follow-the-sun service support offices in India. “dbaDIRECT gains leverage by making the management of database environments an intelligent process-oriented approach, incorporating technology designed to make the data infrastructure function as efficiently as possible to the benefit of its clients,” according to a company representative.

“There are several layers to the service, but the key element is dbaDIRECT’s proprietary ‘platform’ for handling remote database administration; it’s called ONguard 2.0™,” the spokesperson continued. ONguard 2.0 is an intelligent framework that supports data infrastructure management service model, using a seamless workflow process. The service includes monitoring, troubleshooting and complete performance optimization support for all major database platforms (Oracle, UDB DB2, Sybase, SQL Server, MySQL and now DB2 zOS) using the ONguard IM process.

The company says that database operations have changed from strategic advantage to standard business practice, and database administration is now a “commodity” task that can easily be outsourced. By transferring responsibility for the “data babysitting” tasks, DBAs can be used more strategically and take advantage of advances in business intelligence and predictive analytics that can turn data into “actionable” information.

According to the company’s CEO, John Bostick, the company was driven to offer the service by a “continuing renaissance for Big-Iron computing” along with “a shrinking labor pool of IT professionals with mainframe skills.”

As Bostick notes, “The mainframe is far from dead. There are three reasons: One, the cost of mainframe computing is too attractive; two, IBM recently has invested $100 million in z-platform improvements; and, three, the open-source Linux operating system can run on mainframes, along with five other operating systems.”

The company says independent research into the mainframe market backs up Bostick. For example, a survey last year of 135 mainframe customers across several verticals conducted by William Data Systems found commitment to mainframes is strong and still growing: 49 percent of Big-Iron customers expected to increase mainframe processes during 2007. Staffing still concerns are still important: 44 percent of respondents said that existing or anticipated worker shortages would delay the deployment of new mainframe-related projects or services.

Bostick says that enterprises can use managed service providers, such as his firm, “with scaleable, intelligent processes, provide the solution to this labor-shortage glitch.”

Other trends are exacerbating the talent shortage. Bostick points to the “explosion of data volumes,” demand for round-the-clock mission-critical support, and regulatory compliance.

“We are responding to these trends with scaleable automation, advanced process design and service level expertise that gives better year-over-year flexibility to plan for the era of explosive data growth,” Bostick said.

“Bottom line is mainframe computing is fast, cheap, stable and growing but increasingly expensive to administer and maintain,” Bostick concluded. “Our Data IM model enables customers to capture the falling computation hard-costs and fix the rising administrative soft-costs at the same time.”

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