Merrill Lynch depends on BMC for mainframe management

Software company updates mainframe management backup and recovery wares, updates product roadmap.


Merrill Lynch stays on the bleeding edge of the financial services industry with multiple IT resources - one more critical resource being IBM mainframe systems.

"The mainframe is not going away at Merrill Lynch. We have been experiencing about 10% growth per year in our capacity, so it's not gong down any time soon," says Tony Lotito, first vice president, enterprise computing services for Merrill Lynch in New York. Merrill Lynch uses the mainframe for their primary trading activities, but uses distributed systems in remote locations for sales and customer information, Lotito says, and online trading touches on all facets of IT. "Our main trading backbone, all of our accounts processing, our private client arm are all heavy users of the mainframe at Merrill Lynch."

Merrill Lynch is not alone in its dependence on the mainframe, at least according to Gartner. A recent report states that enterprise companies with large mainframe environments are expected to grow these deployments through 2009. Among those, most large mainframe customers will continue to grow their installed MIPS at a compound annual growth rate of between 15% and 20% over the same time period. And with a pending shortage of mainframe skills and existing challenges to move large applications from legacy to distributed platforms, enterprise companies today need better tools to ease mainframe management and integrate the legacy systems with distributed systems.

For Merrill Lynch, with critical applications and data residing on the mainframe, Lotito says it's critical his team maintain the systems with management tools that can cover the IBM systems as well as the company's distributed systems. Merrill Lynch has been a user of BMC Software products both for the mainframe and DB2 since 1982. The company upped its relationship with BMC in 2002, when it signed a contract to put Mainview in place. Also included in the package were BMC Performance Manager (formerly Patrol) and Mainview for Linux/Z. In total, Merrill Lynch runs about 37 BMC products in their mainframe environment. Among the many tools in place are Mainview AutoOperator, along with Backup and Recovery Solution for IMS.

"Mainview helps us run our mainframe operations. It delivers alerts that tell us automatically if we have a problem whether it's a function not completing or an infrastructure component that is not available," Lotito says.

A member of Lotito's team, Mendo Mitrevski, director/manager for mainframe/enterprise networks at Merrill Lynch says BMC's recent efforts to more deeply integrate its mainframe and distributed management products helps him better track transactions across Merrill Lynch's enterprise network. For distributed systems, Merrill Lynch has BMC Performance Manager for Unix, BMC Performance Manager for Linux, BMC Performance Manager for Sybase and Oracle. In addition, Merrill Lynch recently purchased the Remedy IT service management suite of products as a phased approach starting with helpdesk deployment. The company augments its commercial software products with various homegrown and packaged tools.

"It's a huge benefit for us to not only be able to track a transaction on the mainframe but to see how an IMS or DB2 call goes through various subsystems," Mitrevski says. "Being able to track a transaction or workflow end-to-end is very important."

That's part of the reason Merrill Lynch is pleased with BMC's recent efforts to further integrate its mainframe and distributed systems management products, as well as expanding the reach of its Business Service Management (BSM) strategy back to legacy systems. "We are very interested in the BSM piece," Lotito says.

For BMC's part, the company this week is announcing updates to its BMC Backup and Recovery for IMS to Version 4.1, which now integrates into a Web-based console, enabling database administrators to identify and resolve data-recovery issues more quickly, BMC says. Mainframe systems can now also send configuration data to BMC's Atrium configuration management database (CMDB).

The company also announced BMC Impact Integration for zOS, which takes events from the mainframe and incorporates the data into BMC's Service Impact Manager to help systems managers to more quickly identify the root cause of performance issues, BMC says. According to BMC executives, the company will continue to integrate distributed tools with mainframe products and expand its management reach further into the mainframe environment.

"BMC is continuing to add to its mainframe products because the mainframe is alive and well and our customers need tools to help junior staff members better manage the legacy systems," says Bill Miller, vice president and general manager of Mainframe Service Management Business Unit at BMC. "The mainframe is still the best place to be for availability and security. We will continue to address bring more of our distributed management tools into the mainframe environment."

Competing with the likes of IBM and CA, BMC says it will not stop adding to its mainframe capabilities, and in fact, the company this week announced an extensive product roadmap around mainframe management. Long-time customer Mitrevski says he is pleased with BMC's attention to the mainframe, but more pleased to hear the company is continuing its work with mainframes.

"I'd still like to see BMC develop the tools necessary to support new and different workloads on the mainframe," he says.

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