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Mainframe Report Archive Conversions/Migrations

Most people are familiar with the saying “what gets measured gets managed” and the proverb “measure twice, cut once.” These wise words are even more important when the unit of measure is Dollars, Euros, Pounds, or Yen. If your goal is saving money, a firm understanding of your current expenses is critical to developing an effective plan of action.

There are a lot of reasons you may be considering a report archive migration, or an operating system switch away from your mainframe report archive solution. For example, are your mainframe MIPS usage requirements and costs increasing while your IT budget is being cut?  Do you really know all the mainframe components being utilized by your current report viewing and archive solution? Customers often overlook key factors when calculating the total cost to support a typical mainframe report archiving product. However, you can and should take the time to fully understand the costs involved.

You can start by looking at the MIPS cost associated with hosting a report archiving product on the mainframe. Gartner and several other research firms estimate that the average company spends more than $3,500 to support each of the available mainframe MIPS. These costs include, but are not limited to, software, hardware, hardware floor space footprint, disaster recovery and personnel.

Obviously, the software cost represents the actual report viewing and archiving product license, but also includes any supporting component like a required database or capture utility. Annual maintenance cost for each product is an important factor that is often overlooked.

The hardware costs include usage of the mainframe CPU and storage devices. With the price of mainframe DASD and/or Virtual Tape storage costing as much as $100,000 per terabyte, the savings potential of migration becomes quite noticeable. The floor space required to accommodate mainframe storage devices is also becoming a bigger issue each and every year.

If a report viewing and archiving product executes on a z/OS platform, it will more than likely need to be included in regular mainframe disaster recovery exercises. These are typically more complicated than the equivalent efforts required for open systems environments. If reports within the mainframe archive are stored or need to be recalled from a mountable media, this requires personnel to be allocated for this effort.

These are some of the cost justifications for migrating an archive off the mainframe, but some organizations are justifiably concerned about retaining data validity during such a migration. The best-of-breed solutions include post-migration audits to ensure that all data was moved appropriately. These solutions also handle critical tasks like retaining the original creation and expiration dates for each migrated report.

When all factors are considered, the costs of housing a report archiving product on a mainframe may far outweigh the actual cost of migrating the archive process to a distributed system.  In some cases, companies have justified the migration and re-platforming of their mainframe report archives using just the cost savings from a reduction in storage and floor space.

Rest assured, there are solutions and custom services available that will allow you to realize real savings and successfully migrate your current report archives using a structured and proven process. Spend some time researching this subject with your favorite search engine or contact Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc. for advice on distributed system report viewing and archiving solutions. A little time spent in up-front research can pay big dividends down the road. See the chart below for a representation of past and current product conversion\migrations performed by LRS.