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CA Makes Mainframe Security Play

Next week Computer Associates will announce encryption software designed to ease the security strain on mainframe users, just days after IBM unveiled a slew of new mainframe tools. (See Mainframe Mid-Life Crisis and IBM Unveils Software.)

The news is further proof, if any is needed, that rumors of the mainframe's demise are premature. In CA's view, demand for mainframe improvements continues unabated. "What has been lacking has been a way to manage encryption in ways mainframe users have been used to," says Mary Cochetti, product marketing manager for CA's BrightStor division. She says CA's new BrightStor Tape Encryption software, which encrypts and decrypts IBM zSeries mainframe data as it is written to tape, fills the bill.

One beta user thinks it does, too. Boston University relies on a single IBM z890 mainframe as the central server for all its student, faculty, and alumni data. Gerard Shockley, the University's assistant director of technical services, started experimenting with CA's product in February and finished beta-testing it in late March.
"It is brilliantly simple and that's what we like about it," he says.

With the new CA software, Shockley does not have to change the Job Control Language (JCL) interfaces that link to z/OS in order to secure his data. This, he explained, was not the case with IBM's Encryption Facility software, which he also evaluated. "The possibility of errors are minimized when there are no changes required," he says.

Shockley notes that this kind of simplicity has been vital to keep up with growth. "The mainframe is stronger than ever. We're growing at an annual rate of 20 percent in terms of CPU utilization."

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