Systems management aims at controlling an IT infrastructure in order to meet given business objectives. This chapter outlines in more detail what we mean by systems management in the context of this book. It discusses the main strategies and principles of systems management and how you might get additional value from Linux on the mainframe.
With today's environments, which are growing both in complexity and in the number of systems to be managed, systems management becomes increasingly challenging. Accordingly, systems management takes a greater share of the TCO of IT infrastructures. Also, because system administration skill is sometimes difficult to find, overworked IT staff is a common phenomenon.
Most operating systems are designed to run alone, on dedicated hardware. Thus, the scope of management functions that come with them tends to be a single system. On the other hand, mainframes with their virtualization technology have been running multiple operating system images concurrently for decades. Consequently, tools for multi-system administration have been growing around the mainframe operating systems for a long time.
In recognition of the difficulties that systems managers encounter today, IBM announced that it would further develop its existing management functions. Through IBM's Autonomic Computing initiative, the vision is to deliver self-managing technologies across the entire IBM product line, including the IBM eServer zSeries platform. Autonomic technologies are self-optimizing, self-configuring, self-protecting, and self-healing. Once set up, they are envisaged to run with little to no human intervention while still managing work according to business-level objectives. All operating systems that run on IBM eServer machines benefit, including Linux on the mainframe. For more information on autonomic computing visit: http://www.research.ibm.com/autonomic/index_nf.html.
In this and the following chapters, we will look at how to manage IT infrastructures that include Linux on the mainframe to meet given business objectives. We will see how policies, procedures, and tools define the orderly scheme of how people and tools work together to achieve system availability. In this chapter, we will explore: