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4-Hour Rolling Average

The 4-hour rolling average plays a significant role in determining your mainframe operating costs. It’s just a metric, but a crucially important one. IBM uses it to determine your company’s software monthly license charges. So, when you find a way to lower your 4-hour rolling average (4HRA) you can help your IT department directly save money.

This sounds simple enough, but improving this metric without reducing your workload capacity is easier said than done. However, once you take the time to understand how the 4-hour rolling average works, how it’s calculated, and how it can save money, being 4HRA sensitive can revolutionize your company’s monthly software expenses.

How Software Pricing Works

Generally, software monthly license charge (MLC) is priced based on peak MSU (millions of service units) usage per month, not on actual machine capacity. To provide a fair pricing model, IBM supports the use of sub-capacity licensing and bases its price on the 4-hour rolling average of your mainframe’s MSU consumption. Basically, the tech giant looks at the average MSU used for all 4-hour periods within a month and uses the peak 4HRA to determine your monthly license charges. Where you may be losing out, is if your peak utilization per hour is particularly high during some hours due to running jobs while your mainframe is heavily used for high priority workloads.

IBM allows you to implement soft capping. This technique allows you to set a capacity limit for your system. Then, you are charged based on whatever is lower, your peak 4HRA or your defined capacity. Soft capping combined with active capacity management can lead to significant IT cost reduction.

Managing Your Resources

While workload does impact the 4-hour rolling average, how a system is tuned will also contribute to this metric. The quality of your code, system parameters, and data structures will all impact the 4HRA.

When a developer goes in and looks at what are the quiet hours for the LPARs – the logical partition of your mainframe into sets of resources – it is then possible to fine-tune your workloads to run during these times. Code should be written so the jobs, which can be moved, will run during these lean periods, not during peak processing hours. It’s also possible to make improvements by streamlining these workloads.

This will force your mainframe to consume only MSUs that are essential for the necessary workloads, rather than overconsuming in some periods. Even something as simple as moving a job by half an hour can reduce the peak 4HRA.

Getting the Right Insights for Accurate Tuning

It’s essential to adjust the right workloads to reduce costs. Modeling technology can be used to get a clear picture into your mainframe’s resource consumption and how it changes over time. Your IT team can get the necessary insight to identify the best options for tuning your workloads.

Lowering your software MLC bill can make a dramatic difference to your company’s bottom line. By simply tuning your workloads and actively managing your MSU consumption, it is possible to see a significant expense reduction.

Ready to learn about other options to lower your company’s 4-hour rolling average and see how much you can save? We’ll introduce you to a unique technology innovation that helps lower your 4HRA. Contact us today:

IT Solutions

April 26th, 2017

If you are like me, you would feel misinformed. This article does not talk about soda but about the consumption of mainframe MIPS (millions of instructions per second) required to move data around the enterprise. Practically every IT budget places a priority on how many Mainframe MIPS are being consumed. If there’s a disconnect, between what is planned for and what is used, then enterprises may find themselves with unanticipated costs.

According to The Hidden Cost of TCP/IP on Z/OS, a White Paper prepared by Bill Yeager, Chief Technical Officer at Alebra Technologies, many mainframe systems use TCP/IP to move data to and from the Mainframe. In addition, he states that it is natural to expect that as the volume of transfers increases so will the expenses of using the resulting processors. However, what did surprise Mr. Yeager was that customers had indicated to him that the system usage reported under their job accounting did not match what they were seeing as far resource consumption.

He set out to see if he could explain this phenomenon, so he set up benchmark runs using standalone processor environments with no other workloads present. What he found is the job accounting for the FTP clients captured only 50% of what was being consumed. He believes that the differential is significant enough that either or both of the following should be considered:

􀂃 A charge-back system should be put in place to account for this time.
􀂃 Alternative methods should be considered

Want to see just how much this may be impacting your business costs? Contact us today:

April 21st, 2017