Welcome!

XML Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, PagerDuty Blog, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: XML

XML: 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
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...