March 22, 2022 By IBM Instana Team 3 min read

Throughout 2021, IBM announced new support within the IBM Instana™ solution for key enterprise platforms and middleware, including the IBM® zSystems™ platform, to bring increased observability coverage from mobile to mainframe. This support is in addition to support for IBM middleware systems, which has been released incrementally over the past few months.

Applications running on the zSystems platform have widespread influence in many industries around the world. The goal of the IBM Instana platform on IBM z/OS® launch is to increase the effective time to identify and isolate issues and decrease mean time to resolution (MTTR) for hybrid cloud environments. This procedure is important because, when the mainframe forms the backbone of business-critical workloads at major enterprises across banks, airlines, retailers, insurers and telcos, any outage or missed service-level goals impacts the business directly. The zSystems platform acts as the system of record for how the world works today.

Yet, in many cases, observability of the mainframe is lacking within many industry-leading application performance monitoring (APM) solutions. This issue can result in disjointed IT operations, leading to extended time periods to detect problems affecting hybrid application performance and availability, isolation of the root cause issue and, finally, taking appropriate action to resolve.

By extending the transaction tracing capabilities of the IBM Instana solution through to the z/OS operating system, a complete end-to-end view is given, enabling application owners, site reliability engineers (SREs) and first-line IT operations the ability to detect and isolate potential problems from any part of the application.

The IBM Instana platform complements existing deep-dive monitoring solutions used today, such as the IBM OMEGAMON® solution, by providing application-centric observability pointing to where in the z/OS environment the issue affecting an observed hybrid application is occurring. This process enables the correct zSystems domain expert to be engaged promptly to address the root cause before it becomes a major issue or outage.

Further integration between the IBM Instana platform and the OMEGAMON solution is planned by making available resource metrics sourced directly from OMEGAMON monitoring agents directly within the IBM Instana solution. With the addition of key resource information, operations teams will have the ability to further triage hybrid application problems before needing to engage domain-specific experts. These insights can help identify and isolate potential problems and reduce the time to resolution, minimizing the impact on application performance and availability. You can read more about this development in this Statement of Direction.

This process is illustrated in the diagram that follows, which shows how the IBM Instana platform and IBM monitoring capabilities are merged together to provide greater depth and understanding for all stakeholders in the IT team. Business analysts, DevOps, and SREs all benefit from the increased visibility into the mainframe operational insight provided by the IBM Instana platform on the z/OS operating system. It enables them to speak with zSystems subject matter experts (SMEs) more precisely if they find that an issue is happening in the mainframe part of a transaction.

Conversely, zSystems SMEs benefit by being able to see what’s happening upstream from the mainframe to determine 1) if the issue is a mainframe issue or if it originates in the cloud, and so on upstream and 2) more precisely, which mainframe component may have an issue and where to begin triage using their mainframe tools. The overall benefit is a significantly improved MTTR for issues along the transaction path from mobile to mainframe.

As shown in the IBM technologies section of this chart, over 20 IBM technologies have become supported since the beginning of 2021. These technologies include key subsystems on the z/OS operating system, including IBM CICS® software, IBM Information Management System (IMS) and IBM z/OS Connect with IBM MQ middleware on the z/OS operating system to be added soon and further capabilities to be added in ongoing delivery updates.

In summary, these capabilities that extend z/OS visibility into the leading observability platform creates a high level of mean time to detection (MTTD), Mean to Notification, MTTR and mean time to prevention (MTTP) for all hybrid computing environments.

Beginning with the IBM Instana platform’s one-second metrics, complete end-to-end traces, and intelligent log management, and combining them with IBM’s proficient and powerful mainframe monitoring and problem management tools provides one of the industry’s most powerful mobile-to-mainframe observability solutions.

To learn more, view the on-demand IBM Instana on IBM z/OS webinar

This support matrix has now expanded from the original IBM i Series support announced in June 2021, to the expanded range of CICS and IMS support for the IBM Z® platform.

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