Live from SHARE 2017: Big Cloud – Leveraging Cloud Storage from the Mainframe

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mainframe rich client cloudWe’ve been hearing about the cloud for years now. Lower cost. Better flexibility. Software-as-a-Service. Platform-as-a-Service. On-demand software development and test environments. All of us are familiar with these concepts by now. But something we haven’t heard much about is how the cloud might help mainframers.

Have you considered how cloud storage might be a better option than traditional flash, DASD, or even tape? We used to think that storage was cheap, and that we could just keep buying more. Fast access meant high cost and slow access was lower cost. There was little, if any flexibility: We bought it, and we owned it, and we had to manage it. Times have changed, though, and there’s more data around than anyone could have thought possible. Storing that data has become a huge burden, both financially and organizationally. Thankfully, there are some solutions.

In the modern mainframe, the cloud allows you to virtualize your storage. Now you can pay for what you use, and not worry about what you don’t use. Your expenses transform from committed capital expenditures (CapEx)—with the associated labor, facilities, and management costs—to operational expenditures (OpEx). While previously you had to keep dedicated, skilled technicians on your payroll, now you can just let your managed cloud provider take care of everything.

An ideal application for the cloud is to move your backup and archive data to cloud. Consider your current disaster recovery scenario, where you might need to wait for archive tapes to arrive at your DR site. What if you could just retrieve your archive data from the cloud instead? All you need is a network connection, and no longer do you have to wait for delivery of your tapes.

Making copies of your sequential data is easy with IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS. With no JCL changes required, you can send your static, large, sequential files (like backups or old data) to the cloud. It’s inexpensive, easy to access, and it doesn’t consume storage space, electricity, A/C, or floor space. Best of all, there’s no management expertise required.

So, as you can see, the cloud can save mainframe organizations on data storage costs through a variety of ways. All mainframe customers should seek it out as a viable solution for storage of these kinds of mainframe data.

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Janet Sun is Director of Software Engineering for z/OS Storage
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