Sunday, 10 October 2010

Managing mainframes from your phone

William Data Systems has come up with a clever way of managing your mainframe network from an iPhone. Now as soon as you see the word iPhone, you probably think it’s an app and you’re going to have to get all your users synchronizing with iTunes before they can use it or update it. The truth is, it’s a much cleverer idea than that!

Let’s start at the beginning, WDS (William Data Systems) has a z/OS network management suite called ZEN, which has a number of really useful components that you can find out more about from their Web site ( Their customers wanted an easy way to keep up-to-date with what was happening with their networks. And one thing everyone has these days is a mobile (cell) phone – so why not come up with a way of monitoring the network from your phone?

What WDS did, was to utilize the browser on iPhones – Safari, the same one that comes as standard on Macs – and allow users to monitor and manage their mainframe networks from there.

Now because Safari is an integral part of the iPhone, the technology works for all iPhone users. As I said at the beginning, there’s no problem of resynchronizing every user by getting them to plug their phones into iTunes. There’s no fuss about accessing the App Store. It’s all there on the browser.

As more-and-more companies are asking for z/OS network monitoring and management to be done remotely when needed using a single mobile device that support people would be carrying with them, this solution seems to tick all the boxes. If a problem is found, then the techie can find a laptop and fix it, or use the phone to call the service centre and get someone there to fix it. Either way, the problem is solved, perhaps before users have begun to notice. Interestingly, the solution can be used from an iPad. In that case, the screen is big enough for a techie to actually use instead of a laptop – and solve the problem immediately.

What if your organization doesn’t use iPhones? What if you’ve rolled out Blackberrys? Well in that case, WDS has a solution available. If your organization uses Symbian or Android (or anything else), then WDS are developing a solution for your smart phone right now.

It may all seems like something from a 1990s sci fi film, but monitoring your z/OS network from your mobile phone is a solution that’s available now.

And finally, as a mainframe professional, I am hoping that you will be willing to complete the annual user survey at If the company you work for is a vendor, consultant, or service provider, then please ensure their information is included in the vendor information form at

No comments: