Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Derek Weeks, Yeshim Deniz, Kevin Jackson, Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

Another Mainframe ISV Has Trouble with IBM

In September of 2009 DBS released a software utility called IRS for DB2

Data Base solutions AG (DBS) in Switzerland calculates that European mainframe sites pay IBM 500 million euros - that's $650 million - more than they have to every year because of a gimmick that has ironically been dubbed IBM's "generosity factor."

That, it figures, is two euros or $2.70 out of the pocket of every man, woman and child in the European Union since consumers ultimately wind up paying the price of IBM's generosity.

DBS came to make the calculation in case it decides to complain to the European Commission about IBM.

The EC opened a monopoly maintenance investigation of IBM last summer on complaints from other ISVs. The Justice Department is also conducting a similar probe.

The Swiss software and consulting house is a mainframe DB2 specialist that has gotten roughed up lately by IBM in its zeal to squeeze every dime out of its mainframe monopoly even if it means riding roughshod over would-be competitors.

In September of 2009 DBS released a software utility called IRS for DB2 that increases the authorized DB2 workloads users can run on their mainframes' zIIP specialty processors (SPs).

It saves them a lot of money in licensing fees, money they actually thought they were already saving.

See, IBM doesn't charge its usually hefty monthly license fees for running DB2, Java and XML workloads on SPs. It's a device Big Blue concocted to dissuade users from abandoning mainframes for cheaper-to-run modern computers; zIIPs, like zAAP SPs, are just mainframe central processors (CPs) renamed and sold at a lower price.

IBM has always been hazy about the "portion" - its word - of zIIP-qualified workloads that DB2 sends to zIIPs to execute, but it put no contractual limits on the number of DB2 Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) workloads that could be offloaded.

Every piece of software that uses the zIIP offload interface can decide what portion or percentage of its workload is redirected to the zIIP. Third-party products that have to compete against other products naturally want as much of their workloads offloaded as possible to make them cheaper to run.

Not DB2. DB2 is the only RDBMS running on z/OS. It doesn't have to compete. And, as far as DBS knows, it's the only software to limit its offloaded workloads.

DBS figured out that IBM only routed 55% of the legitimate DB2 workloads to the zIIPs, not 100% - even though the user-owned SPs had the capacity to handle more and the mainframes' CPs were overworked.

The scheme ensured that IBM raked in maybe an extra $1.5 billion a year in licensing fees worldwide, conservatively speaking.

It was because of a little artificial limit hard-coded into DB2 that IBM never quite got around to telling its customers about. Its existence only officially surfaced last May when IBM happened to mention it in a software patch.

So, to address the imbalance, DBS created IRS for DB2 - IRS is short for Install, Run, Save - which upped the so-called legal generosity factor to 95% and smoothed out the peaks and wait times that IBM had artificially created.

All DBS did was use information that IBM had on its web site for system programmers, information that happens not to be there anymore. And, contrary to IBM's contention that DBS uses the zIIP offload interface, the company says it doesn't and that IBM knows it; IRS for DB2 runs on CPs, not SPs.

Anyway, IBM - which recently described its so-called generosity factory as a business decision, obviously meaning it gives away just enough to keep its customers from bolting to other platforms - didn't take the revenue-denying innovation any too well.

Last May its mainframe software VP Dan Wardman, head of DB2 and IMS, put IBM's position on IRS for DB2 in writing for European customers: "Any other DRDA processing beyond the portion determined by DB2 that is diverted to a zIIP would not be eligible workload."

Aside from trying to spook users into not using it - because no contracts forbid it - IBM released a software patch called APAR PM12256 meant to make IRS for DB2 useless. It was a clumsy patch that actually increased some people's licensing fees and set off a little firestorm of opposition among its usually docile, intimidated mainframe clientele.

The APAR changed the generosity factor from a steady 55% of CPU use to 100% of a sometimes unachievable 60% of transactions and zero for the other 40%. It also created a very high variance in effective and predictable zIIP use that in turn created nasty spikes that cost users more.

DBS responded with a new version of IRS for DB2 to deal with the APAR and a new product called Dynamic SQL Balancing Optimizer (DSBO) to deal with the APAR's disadvantages. This month IBM upped the ante and released two new APARs that again change the way the system works to render DSBO useless and partly correct the problems with the first APAR.

To get around users' fear of IBM, DBS sells its software on a month-to-month basis. A customer can terminate at any time if the pressure IBM exerts gets to be too much to bear. For the 5,000 euros, or $6,500 it costs a month, the user saves about €15,000-€20,000 (~$20,500-~$27,500) a month.

Depending of their arrangements with IBM, the ROI is immediate for some sites while others see their end-of-year penalty payments cut.

DBS is afraid to talk about the adoption of IRS for DB2 because its customers are afraid of IBM's reaction. It says its penetration would be over 50% by now in the German-speaking parts of Europe were it not for IBM.

DBS speculates that between IRS for DB2 and Neon Enterprise Software's IBM-outlawed zPrime widgetry, which offloads and runs traditional DB2, CICS, IMS, TSO/ISPF and batch workloads on SPs, IBM's juicy monthly licensing fees could be cut by 50%.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and the...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effi...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...