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IBM updates mainframe software

Users cite better compilers, enhancements to Rational and Tivoli offerings .

IBM on Thursday released almost a dozen new mainframe software products, with users most interested in the improvements to compilers for Rational and Tivoli zSecure.

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"The one I found intriguing was the improved compilers," said Robert Rosen, CIO of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. "With all the research IBM and others have put into compilers over the years, it is amazing they can still find improvement in the executable code."

Rosen was referring to its improved Rational Compilers for C/C++, COBOL and PL/I, which can help mainframer developers on all their business applications.

Rosen added that improvements in zSecure -- IBM's security, compliance and auditing software for the System z mainframe -- "will be welcome as audit and compliance costs keep rising. Anything they can do to help customers improve the cost-benefit ratio is bound to be appreciated."

Scott Crawford, managing research director for Boulder, Colo.-based analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, recently spoke to SearchDataCenter about the current and future state of mainframe compliance.

The list of new and updated software includes IMS 11, WebSphere products such as Process Server and ILOG Business Rule Management Systems, Rational products including Rational Developer and compilers, and new versions of Tivoli products such as Asset Discovery, Netview and zSecure.

Robert Crawford, a lead mainframe systems programmer and columnist for SearchDataCenter, said most of the news was "pretty ho-hum."

"We've been seeing material about IMS 11 for a while now," he said. He later added that "Rational is already an expensive product and the money saved on the mainframe is hard to quantify. On the other hand, there's no doubt that using Rational would improve development productivity."

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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