Compuware Corp. and BMC Software are partnering to drive down the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the IBM Corp. mainframe market -- helping customers to run big data, mobile and other workloads in a more cost-effective manner.

The Compuware-BMC partnership focuses on IBM's zSeries mainframes. Customers pay IBM monthly license charges (MLC) to run key software packages on those mainframes. The hourly rate for those charges fluctuates based on consumption levels, workload size, timing and other variables. By working together, Compuware and BMC say they can help IBM customers to run mission-critical workloads during lower-cost windows, and/or eliminate "wasteful MSU consumption" -- basically optimizing workloads to run more efficiently.

During a joint briefing with Information Management, BMC zSolutions President Bill Miller and Compuware CEO Chris O'Malley (see interview and profile) said the companies' product teams have been working together on integrated solutions since late 2014. Moreover, BMC and Compuware have been briefing customers on the strategy in recent weeks. 

Pieces of the Partnership

The strategy includes BMC and Compuware integrating three solutions, according to a prepared statement:

  • BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise is a financially intelligent workload management solution that enables customers to identify MLC cost drivers and take appropriate measures to reduce those costs—such as moving workloads to non-peak periods, running IBM subsystems on fewer LPARs, and capping LPAR utilization.
  • BMC MainView provides real-time identification of application performance issues, enabling customers to quickly eliminate wasteful MSU consumption.
  • Compuware Strobe delivers deep, granular and highly actionable insight into the behavior of application code in the IBM z Systems environment, allowing mainframe owners to quickly pinpoint inefficient sub-routines that can cause MSU consumption to be 20x or more greater than necessary.

 
BMC and Compuware plan to demonstrate the integrations during SHARE 2015 in March. More than 20,000 individuals -- representing over 2,000 of IBM's top enterprise customers -- are part of SHARE, an independent, volunteer-run IT association.

Although IBM's overall hardware sales have been slipping, mainframe workloads have grown more complex as mobile, social and big data applications surface on big iron. Plus, IBM is preparing to ship the z13 mainframe -- which is specifically designed for those next-generation workloads.

Partners In Transition Mode

Both BMC and Compuware have been in transition mode.

BMC went private in 2013 and has been (A) pushing into new markets while also (B) doubling down on its installed base. The company accelerated that strategy in September 2014, launching subsystem optimization software that drives down IBM mainframe monthly license costs by as much as 20 percent, the company claims.

Compuware, meanwhile, split off its mainframe business in 2014 -- hiring CA Technologies veteran Chris O'Malley to lead the mainframe operation. O'Malley and his team have spent recent months putting a fresh face on Compuware -- reminding established customers and potential customers that demand for mainframe solutions and related skills remains strong.

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