Q: How can we most effectively address organizational issues?
A: Mainframe and X86 teams must agree on SLAs and decide who has rights for budgeting, provisioning, and security decisions. This is the biggest challenge when developing a unified virtualization strategy.
Q: What's our long-term OS outlook?
A: The core OS to focus on for mainframe virtualization is Linux, with Novell SUSE and Red Hat leading the pack. Linux has a nine-year track record on big iron and multiple options for deployment. I/O volume and integration between Linux and legacy mainframe apps are the two main considerations.
Q: What are realistic uptime requirements and options?
A: Enterprises look to mainframes for reliability. However, be aware that the ability to migrate virtual machines among hosts as conditions dictate or in the event of a failure isn't in z/VM; IBM touts the reliability stats of the mainframe as a reason for leaving this out.
Q: What tools are we going to use for monitoring and management?
A: Unfortunately, there's no single set of tools to cover both platforms or create the fabled single pane of glass. IT must carefully design a plan that combines tools from both platforms as part of a tight operational runbook.
Q: Do we need a training plan?
A: Yes. CA issued a survey last year that reported 72% of organizations have mainframe pros eligible for retirement. So how hard is it to migrate and retrain staff? We'd equate it to moving from Novell NetWare to Microsoft Active Directory.