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The beauty and the traps in migrating from BMC MainView AutoOPERATOR to IBM Z Service Management Suite

The beauty and the traps in migrating from BMC MainView AutoOPERATOR to IBM Z Service Management Suite

Thinking about taking your system automation on the mainframe to the next level by using the IBM Z Service Management Suite? Even if your z/OS environment is already automated at some level using other vendor’s products and you would like to switch to IBM Z Service Management Suite – it is possible. We have already done it and are here to help you do it. In this blog, I will describe the project of migration from BMC MainView products to the IBM Z Service Management Suite for a customer in Middle East.

System integrations are not necessarily evil. If you have any problems, contact us.

In the center of the customer’s IT infrastructures is the IBM Z platform running z/OS and z/VM operating systems together with main middleware subsystems like CICS, Db2, and MQ. They are also using a lot of additional products to help manage the environment. For automation, monitoring and notifications customer was using BMC MainView products.

They have decided to replace their BMC MainView group of products with IBM products from the IZSMS group (IZSMS – IBM Z Service Management Suite). That is where we jumped in.

The customer’s setup before the project

Environment was highly customized and automated and there was a lot of experience and effort integrated based on BMC products. In total there were more than one thousand rules that needed to be analyzed and migrated to the new environment. The software in focus was BMC MainView AutoOPERATOR. On the distributed side BMC BEM (event monitoring) was used as an event monitoring tool. The customer was using BMC product for creating alerts and notifications based on system messages to be able to react on the same messages. Additionally, user written REXX scripts were used to perform more complex logic as an action on a specific message or event.

Let’s do the implementation and migration!

The project was split into two phases:
a) Implementation of IZSMS
b) Migration to IBM Z NetView and IBM Z System Automation.

IZMS implementation went smoothly, the harder part was migrating rules and policies to IBM Z NetView and IBM Z System Automation, but we managed to successfully do that too. The monitoring part was replaced with IBM Z Omegamon family products. We managed to create an environment that is easy to control and maintain but also robust enough to adopt all current rules and policies and have space for future growth.

The main challenge was to analyze, interpret and classify the rules and notifications and to find a way to implement it using available features and functions of IBM Z NetView and System Automation products. They have prepared a list of all the rules that needed to be migrated. The list was sorted by priority so we could start from the most important and critical ones. We extracted the rules and together with the customer we analyzed and interpreted the rules before making the list of rules to be handled by NetView or with System Automation. Another part of the migration was to rewrite user REXX scripts to meet the new environment. A good understanding of using PIPES in NetView REXX was crucial for that part.

What about submitting notifications to the BMC BEM portal? As part of each rule (most of it) was sending a notification to the BMC BEM portal. The customer had a very complex and delicate way of sending notifications to the BMC BEM portal because each notification was combined with many required attributes like system name, message ID, severity, who must be informed (which business group) and how (by email, SMS, phone).
To achieve this level of complexity we used integration of NetView and System Automation. From System Automation we used INGALERT utility and from IBM Z NetView side we used NetView E/AS (Event/Automation Service). All notifications were submitted to the BMC BEM portal in the form of the EIF (Event Integration Facility) event and that the EIF event is processed further by the BMC BEM portal.
How does this work? The message is displayed on system log or NetView log, IBM Z System Automation or IBM Z NetView (with automation table) capture the message and react on it, utility INGALERT is submitted and INGALERT sends EIF event to NetView E/AS which sends alert through NetView to BMC BEM portal for further processing.

The project proved that the ISMSZ solution can help mainframe customers build a highly automated and optimized z/OS environment using the combination of IBM Z NetView, System Automation and Omegamon on Z products. You just need to have the right skillset to get the maximum out of it.

Mainframe experts in CROZ have it and are willing to help!

Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

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