How Broadcom’s New, Flexible Mainframe Consumption Licensing Model Liberates You!
Introduced more than 20 years ago, Rolling 4-Hour Average (R4HA) licensing models have become increasingly complex, ponderous, and restrictive.
Under R4HA models, the peaks and troughs in customer demand become a business liability to be managed – in real time, often by senior technical staff – who are forced to manage their workloads to satisfy a licensing model rather than meet the demands of their business.
Broadcom’s new Mainframe Consumption Licensing Model (MCL) is our response to our customer’s requests for a more flexible way of managing mainframe workloads in this new age of digital transformation: where everything is connected and demand for IT resources are unpredictable & volatile.
Developed alongside IBM’s recently-announced Tailored Fit Pricing model, it acknowledges the renewed and growing importance of mainframes in today’s increasingly hybrid technology environments.
If you are investigating the new licensing models – and you should be – here’s what’s changed, and how it applies to your shop.
The MCL simplifies mainframe software licensing in two key ways – in administering workloads over time, and in changing how we think about development environments.
The administrative and technical burden of administering the R4HA forces teams to actively manage their workload to avoid spikes in resource consumption. These spikes result in the monthly peak by which MCL and other licensing programs calculate monthly usage.
Mainframe customers must cope by delaying important workloads or otherwise cap resources. This results in systems being designed and utilized in ways to conform to a licensing model rather than supporting service levels. In modern environments, this effort has become less manageable because workloads are often directly affected by demand which can be difficult to predict.
A truly agile enterprise views this dynamism as an opportunity to be embraced, not a threat to be avoided.
The ‘unnatural act’ of reconfiguring workloads to run at different times simply to avoid technical cost penalties is an obstacle that customers have asked us to eliminate.
A better model would allow organizations to have the ability to run workloads when it matters the most, without needing to ‘watch the clock’ to comply with R4HA licensing restrictions.
This model does away with the artificial time boundaries that force teams to man-handle workloads to fit a restrictive capacity calculation that is usually either ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’, never ‘just right’. To do this, the MCL replaces R4HA by using the Total MSU Consumption metric, a measure of actual consumption of system resources.
The MCL model has an annual baseline with regular true-ups against licensed capacity, which may consist of either overage based on that consumption (rather than capacity) or, now, the rollover of any underutilized baseline capacity to the following year.
Figure 1: Comparing Full Capacity, Measured Workload, and new Mainframe Consumption Licensing (MCL)
The model also recognizes a key requirement of the evolving role of DevOps in the Mainframe by lifting limits for Development & Test systems. These will no longer be included in utilization calculations so developers will have the flexibility they need while building the applications that will power the organization in the future. A robust development and test environment is essential for building and managing modern mainframe applications.
For example, in the chart below we see 3 scenarios:
Figure 2: Comparing Three Workload Scenarios
Each scenario represents the system resources consumed by a workload pattern over a 24 hour period.
In all 3 scenarios, the Total MSUs Consumed measurement over 24 hours remains the same. However, each scenario yields a different peak R4HA measurement.
When demand spikes for customers who are actively managing their workloads they will often respond by capping or restricting their development systems to provide the capacity they need to their production workload while managing to their R4HA – but this is often at the expense of developer productivity.
If you were building a new data center would you want to build that data center in a location with an unstable power grid, or worse: on a grid where they consistently turn off your power when there is peak demand in other areas? No, you demand consistent and reliable power for your operations. The development experience should be no different: restricting or capping resources to developers makes the platform undesirable for developers.
MCL is a simpler, more flexible way of managing and unlocking the value of the mainframe in today’s era of digital transformation. Built with our customer’s increasingly agile and integrated environments in mind, it removes barriers to growth – like the R4HA – and frees teams to be better equipped to meet the demands of today’s dynamic business and technology environments.
To discover what MCL means for your organization, contact your Broadcom account team to get started.