Recently IBM announced the z Systems Workload Pricing for Cloud (zWPC) for z/OS pricing mechanism, which can minimize the impact of new Public Cloud workload transactions on Sub-Capacity license charges. Such benefits will be delivered where higher Public Cloud workload transaction volumes may cause a spike in machine utilization. Of course, if this looks familiar and you have that feeling of déjà vu, this is a very similar mechanism to Mobile Workload Pricing (MWP)…
Put simply, zWPC applies to any organization that has implemented Sub-Capacity pricing via the basic AWLC or AEWLC pricing mechanisms, for the usual MLC software suspects, namely z/OS, CICS, DB2, IMS, MQ and WebSphere Application Server (WAS). An eligible transaction is one classified as Public Cloud originated, connecting to a z/OS hosted transactional service and/or data source via a REST or SOAP web service. Public Cloud workloads are defined as transactions processed by named Public Cloud applications transactions identified as originating from a recognized Public Cloud offering, including but not limited to, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, et al.
As per MWP, SCRT calculates the R4HA for Public Cloud transaction GP MSU resource usage, subtracting 60% of those values from the traditional Sub-Capacity software eligible MSU metric, with LPAR granularity, for each and every reporting hour. The software program values for the same hour are aggregated for all Sub-Capacity eligible LPARs, deriving an adjusted Sub-Capacity value for each reporting hour. Therefore SCRT determines the billable MSU peak for a given MLC software program on a CPC using the adjusted MSU values. As per MWP, this will only be of benefit, if the Public Cloud originated transactions generate a spike in the current R4HA.
One of the major challenges for implementing MWP was identifying those transactions eligible for consideration. Very quickly IBM identified this challenge and offered a WorkLoad Manager (WLM) based solution, to simplify reporting for all concerned. This WLM SPE (OA47042), introduced a new transaction level attribute in WLM classification, allowing for identification of mobile transactions and associated processor consumption. These Reporting Attributes were classified as NONE, MOBILE, CATEGORYA and CATEGORYB. Obviously IBM made allowances for future workload classifications, hence it would seem Public Cloud will supplement Mobile transactions.
In a previous z/OS Workload Manager (WLM): Balancing Cost & Performance blog post, we considered the merits of WLM for optimizing z/OS software costs, while maintaining optimal performance. One must draw one’s own conclusions, but there seemed to be a strong case for WLM reporting to be included in the z/OS MLC Cost Manager toolkit. The introduction of zWPC, being analogous to MWP, where reporting can be simplified with supplied and supported WLM function, indicates that intelligent and proactive WLM reporting makes sense. Certainly for 3rd party Soft-Capping solutions, the ability to identify MWP and zWPC eligible transactions in real-time, proactively implementing MSU optimization activities seems mandatory.
The Workload X-Ray (WLXR) solution from zIT Consulting delivers this WLM reporting function, seamlessly integrating with their zDynaCap and zPrice Manager MSU optimization solutions. Of course, there is always the possibility to create your own bespoke reports to extract the relevant information from SMF records and subsystem diagnostic data, for input to the SCRT process. However, such a home-grown process will only work on a monthly reporting basis and not integrate with any Soft-Capping MSU management, which will ultimately control z/OS MLC costs.
In conclusion, from a big picture viewpoint, in the last 2 years or so, IBM have introduced several new Sub-Capacity pricing mechanisms to help System z Mainframe users optimize z/OS MLC costs, namely Mobile Workload Pricing (MWP), Country Multiplex Pricing (CMP) and now z Systems Workload Pricing for Cloud (zWPC). In theory, at least one of these new pricing mechanisms should deliver benefit to the committed System z user, deploying this server for strategic and Mission Critical workloads. With the undoubted strategic importance associated with Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud, DevOps, Mobile, Social, et al, the landscape for System z workloads is rapidly evolving and potentially impacting those sacrosanct legacy Mission Critical workloads. Seemingly the realm of possibility exists that Cloud and Mobile originated transactions will dominate access to System z Mainframe System Of Record (SOR) data repositories, which generates a requirement to optimize associated MLC costs accordingly. Of course, for some System z users, such Cloud and Mobile access might not be on today’s to-do list, but inevitably it’s on the horizon, and so why not implement the instrumentation ability ASAP!