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IBM Boosts Mainframe Apps

NEW YORK -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new software to help businesses take advantage of the surge in new mainframe software applications and the growing momentum behind enterprise mashups.

Driven by the popularity of running Linux on the mainframe, the growth of the System z client base in growth markets such as China, India and Brazil, and the addition of more than 100 independent software vendors (ISVs) new to the mainframe platform, in 2008 ISVs delivered more than 200 new and upgraded mainframe applications. More than half of these new applications run on Linux, bringing the total number of commercially-available mainframe software applications to more than 4,000.

With today's announcement, IBM is making it easier for clients to consider the mainframe first when deciding which platform to run new computing workloads. The new software, based on open standards, allow businesses to develop, deploy and manage mainframe applications and mashups using the same programming skills and management tools they are accustomed to for distributed computing environments and contemporary Web applications.

The new products help both existing and new mainframe customers to differentiate themselves from their competition. For example, the worlds top 50 banks and 22 of the top 25 U.S. retailers running on System z, can use the mainframe to provide proven, revenue-generating capabilities such as:

  • Better online store or Web experiences, featuring consumer mashups that detail location-specific data;
  • Stronger consumer loyalty from data mashups that combine similar types of media and information from multiple sources for enhanced credibility;
  • Increased employee productivity from business mashups that aggregate data into a single presentation; and
  • Collaboration between globally-dispersed business and software development teams using social networking environments based on Web 2.0 technologies.

The new IBM software products are:

IBM Rational Asset Analyzer -- available today, it allows project managers, developers and other users to examine interdependencies between applications developed for the mainframe or distributed platforms using a new Web interface. The Web-based user interface reduces the administration cost of maintaining several client installations, and makes it easier to scale up to handle hundreds of millions of lines of code. IBM Rational Asset Analyzer scans the composition of an enterprise application to help project managers understand how all assets would be affected by a proposed change to a program. For example, as applications have evolved over the years they sometimes resemble a tangled web of "spaghetti code." IBM Rational Asset Analyzer determines how tightly intertwined an organization's applications are -- given that even the most knowledgeable developer can't be expected to know all the interactions in a complex application infrastructure. When linked with IBM Rational Asset Manager, Rational Asset Analyzer provides a key governance capability for Service Oriented Architectures.

IBM Rational Team Concert for System z -- available in the fourth quarter of 2008, this new software helps geographically-distributed software delivery teams write, manage and deploy applications on a mainframe. Built on IBM's Jazz collaborative technology platform, the new software improves productivity and efficiency by having application developers collaborate across platforms and technologies while breaking down geographic or organizational boundaries. In the future, Rational Team Concert for System z will integrate with Rational Developer for System z for SOA Construction - providing in context collaboration of artifacts, allowing developers to use the same software and processes for mainframe and distributed environments.

IBM Rational Developer for z for SOA Construction -- available in the fourth quarter of 2008, this new software allows developers to maintain and extend existing mainframe applications, and integrate those applications with Web applications. This software exploits the latest Web technologies, such as Web 2.0 and rich internet applications, thereby lowering the learning curve for end-users and helping organizations become more competitive. Two versions of this offering are available for either a Java expert or user of IBM's Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) geared towards the novice Web developer who needs to create Web components, but lacks the necessary skills. The EGL version includes a Web 2.0 visual builder and full EGL support for all the popular Web 2.0 toolkits, including Google and dojo, allows customers to bring the capabilities of Web 2.0 by creating mainframe mashups linked to back-end processing from the COBOL and PL/I , CICS, IMS, and Java- based WebSphere environments.

IBM WebSphere Portal for System z -- planned to be available in the fourth quarter, it brings complete Web 2.0 support including the ability to do mashups. Dubbed as IBM WebSphere Portal Enable for z/OS, version 6.1, it is designed to securely combine information from both the enterprise and the Web. A portal is a technology for providing external and internal Web sites which can deliver information, applications, and processes to give a personalized experience to individuals. Organizations in a variety of industries, including IBM itself for its award-winning and secure intranet used by its 380,000 employees, have reaped the benefits of IBM's portal software on System z. The expanded Web 2.0 features will help users be more productive and find key information faster. Its new live text tagging feature allows a user to click on text, in context of the business process being used, and see supporting information related to the job at hand. For example, a sales representative clicks on the address of his customer and a map with directions appears; or he clicks on the name of the customer and an electronic business card pops up.

IBM Tivoli zSecure suite – available in December, this family of software offerings helps customers manage mainframe security administration, compliance and auditing. It is designed to help administer the mainframe security server, monitor for threats, audit access and configurations and enforce policy for compliance initiatives. The new release provides several new features including the ability to help identify and remove obsolete, unneeded or out of policy security definitions. This capability, provided through Tivoli zSecure Admin, helps organizations improve and streamline company-wide compliance and risk management efforts.

IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager for z/OS – available on September 26, enables effective decision making by providing businesses with real-time visibility into the health and performance of critical business services across mainframe and distributed environments directly from the z/OS platform with new zLinux operating system support. The new Tivoli Business Service Manager for z/OS can directly collect event and data feeds from a wide range of z/OS sources and link together with IBM monitoring products such as Tivoli Event Pump for z/OS, Tivoli OMEGAMON XE and Tivoli NetView for z/OS, helping customers to maximize the power of the mainframe and improve visibility into z/OS health and performance. Tivoli Business Service Manager for z/OS is a strategic component of the IBM Tivoli Service Management Center for z, delivering these benefits, plus greater value when linked with other Tivoli software for improved visualization, navigation, security, data warehouse and reporting.

IBM Information Management System for System z -- IBM is also announcing the start of its rigorous beta phase – or Quality Partnership Program - for the next version of Information Management System (IMS). The combination of IMS application and data server software and System z uniquely delivers performance and reliability required by many of the world's most demanding business solutions. Building on SOA and XML technologies introduced in IMS 10, IMS 11 will further enhance business flexibility with easier access to the world’s highest volume and most reliable applications and data services. With more than 95% of Fortune 1000 companies using IMS, and more than 200 Million IMS users a day, integration of IMS services as part of modern Service Oriented Architectures has already been embraced by hundreds of IMS clients. IMS 11 will also continue to raise the bar for availability and performance while reducing the resources needed to manage the system. The IMS 11 beta program begins immediately with general availability planned for Q4 2009.

For companies like information services provider Thomson Reuters’ Transaction Services and German banks like HypoVereinsbank (HVB) and Bayerische Landesbank (BLB), IBM’s new software is also key to delivering and managing mainframe applications in a timely manner.

Other IBM customers also note that these enhancements bring strong future support for their business.

"IMS Transaction Manager and Database Manager are our most reliable front-end systems for our highest critical applications. I am excited to hear about the upcoming new features and functions on IMS 11. This shows IBM's commitment to a long (another 40 years) and successful future for IMS," added Manuel Gomez, DBA Manager, Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros (CECA), which represents 46 Spanish Savings Banks and provide services to 96.3% of the population across the entire nation.

IBM Corp.