IBM acquires CSL International, simplifies mainframe management

Michael Anderson and Ed Scannell

IBM strives to keep mainframe management simple and took a step in that direction this week with its acquisition of virtualization management technology provider CSL International.

Israel-based CSL International's CSL-WAVE software management tool offers an easy-to-use interface with drag-and-drop functionality to instantly create and connect virtual servers to resources.

Combining CSL technologies with IBM's mainframe systems allows IT to manage all aspects of z/VM and Linux on System z virtualization, including CPU, memory, storage and network resources. The zEnterprise System enables clients to host the workloads of thousands of commodity servers on a single system for simplification, improved security and cost reduction.

"Over the past three or four years, IBM has been pursuing a pretty aggressive effort of simplifying mainframe management," said Charles King, president and principal analyst for Pund-IT Inc., based out of Hayward, Calif. "This is partly due to … highly virtualized environments and that you have a fully tricked out zEnterprise System that can support hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines."

In August of last year, IBM updated its zEnterprise mainframe for the private and hybrid cloud market with faster processing, lower prices and memory upgrades.

Over time, King expects the management software to be used in cloud environments, too.

King continued to say that figuring out easier and more automated management methodologies and tools makes those tasks involving management, maintenance and monitoring critical.

In addition, a change in mainframe management technology is necessary for the current generation of administrators.

"There's also a generational change going on with younger people coming up who are more used to dealing with graphical interfaces, rather than line commands that older [system administrators] are used too," King said.

Since IBM launched the first zEnterprise in 2010, it has acquired over 200 new clients. Many of them have exploited the platforms to do massive Linux consolidation, said Greg Lotko, IBM vice president and business line executive for System z.

"It makes it easier for those clients to adopt the technology on the mainframe and [have] an easier entry point while not having specific skills around System z," he said.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

IBM's acquisition of CSL International is one of several made by the computer giant in recent months. Most recently it acquired SoftLayer, a Dallas-based Infrastructure as a Service provider, in a deal reported to be worth $2 billion. Other recent acquisitions include Green Hat, Platform Computing and UrbanCode Inc.

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