Discover the Value of Outsourced Specialty Support for IBM Z Mainframes & z/OS

By Mamie Sheen, Top Gun

While most large enterprises have discovered the longevity and importance of mainframes as a critical component of their computing strategy, the manufacturer is hard-wired to push its tech-refresh strategies. This is not helpful in providing objective lifecycle-extension solutions when you are evaluating what makes technological or financial sense. The purpose of this blog is to help mainframe champions have a greater understanding of the reliable options available in the marketplace.

As many know, OEM maintenance (warranty extensions) pricing increases after warranties expire and really jump when z/OS End of Support dates are announced. Most also understand this is the strategic side-effect of the OEM’s hardware refresh strategy. Yet, the market contains reputable and independent mainframe support providers that can offer lower-priced maintenance agreements, as well as z/OS or other software support. When venturing beyond OEM guidance, of course, you can foresee the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) strategies and tactics too often used by OEM sales teams. However, there are marketplace providers that have independently supported mission critical mainframes and been doing it quite well since the early 1990s, and prior.

Certainly, discussions with your IBM Z peers will help you find and vet these independent providers. You ultimately need to have the following three questions answered:

  • How can I reduce the cost of implementing current or n-1 mainframe technology and hardware?
  • What can I do to reduce operating and capital equipment expenses in a measurable and repeatable way with my timeline?
  • How can I stay current on IBM Z mainframe technology?

Much is riding on your mainframe as a strategic IT asset. You certainly need decisive and serious expertise to maintain and protect your mainframe’s technical advantage. For years, the OEM’s FUD has claimed the following about their independent competition:

  1. “They don’t have access to L3-trained IBM Z-specific expertise”
  2. “They don’t have access to z/OS expertise and security-enhancing OS updates”
  3. “They don’t have access to robust/informative “call-home” alerts”
  4. “They don’t have access to certified spares and may have to order them from us, causing you undo repair delays.”

Nothing could be further from the truth and such statements should be perceived as having no merit and outdated FUD strategies to retain control of the tech refresh and revenue.

Find meaningful answers to the previously-stated three questions, which allow you to take control in making well-informed decisions. Look for providers with the following attributes:

  • Are truly independent of the OEM
  • Will freely, and agnostically, help you determine the right fit for your specific hardware circumstance (needs vs. wants, short-term vs. long-term to account for planned transitions)
  • Keep in-house spares that are certified, tested and tested again before shipping, while also willing to keep critical spares on-site or very nearby for these mission critical assets, which simply cannot be “down” for more than a few hours
  • Are able to help with parts/upgrades or n-1/n-2 whole systems, with ability to “bundle” “break/fix” maintenance with refurbished/pre-owned hardware, as well as z/OS support
  • Have direct access to IBM Z MCL SUL releases
  • Provide OS expertise for z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE, Linux for IBM Z, DB2, CICS, IMS DB/DC and MQSeries
  • Provide pre-owned hardware while also seamlessly providing “take-outs” and secure repurposing solutions for mainframe assets no longer of value to your organization
  • Can efficiently integrate with your ITSM (e.g. ServiceNow®) to enhance communication and reporting
  • Have in-house IBM Z solutions expertise that can help you find that balance between having recent IBM Z technology with pricing that directly enhances your agility (and budgets) for ancillary IT initiatives.
  • Evaluate your IBM Z software for cost savings

If and when you look for these important traits in an independent IBM Z vendor, you’re likely to discover there are only two or three providers on the planet that legitimately offer these, and can help answer your three most important questions. If this insight has been helpful, please consider forwarding this blog to a few of your IBM mainframe peers, inside your organization.

Top Gun provides IBM Z mainframe maintenance support, z/OS support and pre-owned IBM Z whole systems and parts. Top Gun is a financially independent, veteran-held organization providing Mission Critical Support Services℠ to enterprise companies by leveraging OverWatch℠ as a service platform that is specifically designed to handle the maintenance and support complexities of today’s hybrid computing, storage and networking environments.

Blog Author Details

Mamie Sheen

SVP of Channel

Top Gun

Mamie’s LinkedIn Profile