To keep its product development on track and stay ahead of the market, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GmbH needs to ensure that it can offer add-on solutions for the latest IBM® Db2® for z/OS® software. But how could the company develop and test new solutions on IBM Z® without limitations while maintaining tight control over operational costs?
To provide its clients with new features, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GmbH (SEG) requires mainframe servers that support the latest software, while having flexible access to the system and optimizing costs.
SEG worked with IBM Global Asset Recovery Services to deploy an IBM Certified Pre-owned IBM mainframe that offers ample capacity for smooth and flexible product development at the optimal price point.
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GmbH (SEG) delivers standard software tools and bespoke services that help its clients to run their mission-critical IBM Db2 for z/OS database instances efficiently, reliably and with optimal performance. To offer new product and features leveraging the latest database software, SEG needs flexible access to current mainframe server during testing and development.
Karl Henn, Senior Systems Programmer at SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GmbH, says: “For us, the situation is very simple – if we want to offer mainframe software solutions, then we need access to current mainframe servers to ensure that the solutions we build will work reliably on our clients’ systems. Pure software solutions like the IBM System z® Personal Development Tool, zPDT, did not offer all the functionality we needed. Our products are used in complex environments, and we need to ensure that we can always test and analyze a wide range of physical hardware configurations that we might encounter in clients' data centers. When a client calls, every second counts, and we have to set up an environment that matches the client's to be able to verify the configuration and provide solutions quickly and without delay.”
However, the cost of deploying a new IBM Z mainframe meeting the specifications needed to build, run and support enterprise software presented a major financial challenge to SEG. Knowing from experience the limitations of buying temporary capacity from external service providers, the company wanted to keep full control of the infrastructure, including advanced features like coupling facilities for data sharing groups, without needing to invest in a brand-new server.
Karl Henn confirms: “As a software development company, we have some sophisticated requirements regarding configuration, including the number of CPUs in the server. This makes it hard to find suitable solutions on the market that are within our budget. Shared host systems are also out of the question, as some situations and support cases might require system restarts, older operating system releases or other activities, that can be expensive and difficult to schedule on a shared host system.”
Given how crucial unrestricted access to its development environment is, SEG has a long history of investing in IBM Z mainframes. But only when there is a compelling business case for the company to buy a new server of the very latest generation. As a result, for many years the company has worked with IBM Global Asset Recovery Services to keep its infrastructure sufficiently up to date with IBM Certified Pre-owned servers at reasonable cost, ensuring that it has the infrastructure needed to build first-class software that also takes advantage of the latest IBM Db2 for z/OS database solution.
When working with IBM Certified Pre-owned Equipment, SEG knows it can get pre-owned IBM mainframes, features and spare parts for the server, and more importantly get the quality desired backed by IBM Certification. This is crucial, as the mainframe is the backbone of its development activities and prolonged downtime would prove costly for the business, in both financial and reputational terms.
Karl Henn adds: “We know the market and have worked with third-party suppliers who sell used equipment in the past. But we quickly realized that only IBM Global Asset Recovery Services can deliver the solution we need, when we need it, at a reasonable price. Being able to tailor the system to our requirements was essential to ensure that the certified, pre-owned server had enough performance and all the functionality needed to run our development and test workloads.”
The trademark stability of the IBM Z platform also extends to the compatibility of the hardware across server generations. Thanks to the forward-looking introduction of new functionality, which usually does not break downward compatibility up to two server generations back, SEG can use the most recent software on its remanufactured server.
In the latest upgrade, SEG worked closely with IBM Global Asset Recovery Services to deploy a Certified Pre-owned IBM zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12) server. The server is used to develop tools such as SQL PerformanceExpert, SQL WorkloadExpert, RealTime DBAExpert for Db2 z/OS, ContinuousDelivery DeploymentCheck for DB2 z/OS (CDDC) and WLX Audit for Db2 z/OS that help clients to fine-tune their applications for the best performance, make database administration easier, automate standard tasks, address the new challenges presented by Db2 12 continuous delivery and provide the possibility for complete compliance with little to no overhead. In addition, this modern server architecture serves a variety of Db2 z/OS Pocket Tools.
As a long-time partner of IBM, and with extensive experience on the IBM Z platform and participation in the IBM Db2 and CICS® Early Test Programs, SEG is a highly engaged member of the user community. Karl Henn elaborates: “We are committed to the IBM Z platform and the surrounding ecosystem. Our contribution to the platform and the whole environment goes beyond our standard software products. We enjoy being part of an active user community, and regularly share our insights with clients and partners through a broad range of presentations at various events. Being close to our clients is at the core of our business. Frequent and direct exchange on all levels allows us to evaluate which new features our clients need and which new developments we need to address with our product portfolio.”
Thanks to its cooperation with IBM Global Asset Recovery Services, SEG gets access to IBM Certified Pre-owned servers, which the company can customize to meet its exact business requirements. IBM puts the remanufactured servers through the same rigorous testing procedures as newly assembled systems, and has a comprehensive inventory of certified features and parts. This gives SEG the confidence that all components will work reliably, and that the company gets the quality and performance it pays for. Karl Henn remarks: “We value having full control over the infrastructure we use to develop our software. The fact that we can run any operating system release and software version we like at any time on our server helps us to fix issues, and deliver new products and features more quickly to our clients.”
Thanks to the cost-efficient availability of certified, remanufactured to original manufacturing specifications, fully tested servers from IBM, SEG was able to expand its offerings and sharpen its competitive edge, enabling the company to take advantage of new business opportunities and adjust to changing demands and practices. One example is the introduction of the continuous delivery of new capabilities and enhancements for IBM Db2 12 for z/OS, which allows clients to benefit from new functionality more quickly. This more agile delivery of new features also creates new challenges for clients. Karl Henn emphasizes: "In a world that is moving faster than ever before, software also needs to move faster. And while our clients are eager to exploit new functionality, they also want the assurance that enhancements in one area won’t have a negative impact on database performance in other areas. This is why we are currently working closely with our clients to launch a new product that will help minimize risk when embracing the continuous delivery approach of IBM DB2 for z/OS."
An added benefit of running a pre-owned server from IBM for SEG, is that the company is better able to protect its intellectual property. Since no code needs to be run on external systems for development or maintenance, SEG can be sure that no unauthorized people or companies can access the all-important information that SEG is built upon.
Karl Henn concludes: “Staying up to date with IBM Z mainframe is vital to our business, especially as we provide tools to support migrations to new IBM Db2 for z/OS features. Thanks to our close collaboration with outstanding IBM specialists around the world and the attractive certified pre-owned systems from IBM Global Asset Recovery Services, we can continue to develop and ship standard tools that help IBM Z clients push boundaries, maximizing reliability and performance.”
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GmbH provides individual software services and standard tools for IBM DB2 for z/OS. SEG helps companies in the banking, financial services and insurance sectors, amongst others, across Europe and North America to make the most of their IBM Z mainframes by optimizing performance and accelerating data processing. SEG is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany and has a branch office in Washington D.C., United States.
To learn more about the IBM Certified Pre-owned servers and storage solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/financing/pre-owned/ibm-certified-used-equipment
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