Mainframe is a very secure and reliable platform. And it is the most cost-efficient when you consider the millions of transactions that touch the mainframe every second and the scale it delivers. Nevertheless, CIOs and mainframe stakeholders are rightly concerned about economics and continuous cost-reduction and optimization. The easiest way to get a handle on mainframe costs, is to pay attention to MLC.
Various studies, including Forrester, cite that MLC consumes a third of the software budget.
IBM’s Monthly License Charges (MLC) often consume a third or even more of the Mainframe Software budget.
(Patrick Bartrick, Forrester)
So what is MLC? Here is the definition from the IBM website: MLC is a recurring charge that is applied monthly. This charge includes the right to use the product and provides access to IBM product support during the support period. An IBM pricing metric establishes both the prices and the applicable terms and conditions for IBM software products. IBM offers a variety of MLC pricing metrics to meet the diverse needs of our mainframe customers.
Simply said, MLC is a sort of pay-for-what-you-use type of charging, that is based on the highest peak of CPU use in the month, computed using a smoothing average algorithm (4HRA). So we want to optimize the peaks and usage for the most important workloads and shift workloads to different times or LPARs, so you don’t incur an overage or penalty.
How do you reduce MLC costs? Read the 2 tips below.
Balance Your MSU capacity: Process Your Workload at the Lowest Possible MLC Costs.
The basic idea is to move MSUs from one LPAR to another, if and when needed, to avoid a CPU peak. That’s easier said than done … This idea requires constant monitoring of the LPARs and their available MSUs, analyzing of the various workloads and their respective priorities, to effectively balance the MSUs properly between LPARs. And all that… 24×7 (no one knows for sure when the CPU peak may actually occur during the month).
Discover a new solution, from CA Technologies, to help you with this challenge: CA Dynamic Capacity Intelligence (DCI).
We were moving off the mainframe until DCI came along…
(Aerospace and defense company)
DCI not only helps to reduce your MLC costs through constant monitoring and adjustments; it also produces comprehensive reports to easily visualize the gains (cost reduction), and thus verify that your DCI investment is paying off.
CA Dynamic Capacity Intelligence in action
Remember: The MLC costs are monthly based; you can benefit from using DCI almost immediately (near immediate ROI).
Get Rid of QMF. Or Replace it by an Equivalent Non-MLC Product.
Created in the early 80’s, almost as old as Db2 for z/OS itself, Query Management Facility (QMF) is still typically charged under a MLC contract. It is a good idea to check if this product is still being used in your shop, how intensively, by how many users (and by whom), on which systems, … and for which purpose.
You may run this simple query, against the QMF repository, to assess how intensively QMF is used in your Db2 for z/OS subsystems:
You may be able to simply turn it off on some systems, and reduce your MLC costs, from next month! Alternatively, you may consider replacing QMF by an equivalent product, which is not generating MLC costs: Have a look at CA Report Facility.
Introduction to CA Report Facility (QMF replacement)
CA Report Facility provides the same basic functions as QMF for TSO/CICS (Queries, Forms, and Procedures). Unlike QMF, CA Report Facility is a panel-driven product, which proves to be easier to use than QMF command-line prompts. Additionally, CA Report Facility embeds modern reporting formats, such as HTML or XML, allowing you to send your reports directly from z/OS to your email inbox.