CA Launches Chorus To Make Mainframes Cool

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

CA’s Chorus is intended to give mainframes the kind of tools that younger staff need

As part of its “Mainframe 2.0” initiative, CA Technologies has launched Mainframe Chorus, a workspace designed to help manage systems, starting with IBM’s DB2 database.

CA Technologies is adding to its 18-month-old Mainframe 2.0 initiative with a new set of tools to simplify the management of the massive systems, designed to ease a younger generation of programmers onto the mainframe, announced at the CA World 2010 show in Las Vegas.

Could Chorus make young staff like mainframes?

Mainframe Chorus is a role-based workspace with a more intuitive design and greater embedded intelligence, said CA officials, adding that  it will make it easier for current mainframe administrators to manage the systems, as well as making the environment more appealing to newer staff members.

For example, Mainframe Chorus brings a more intuitive graphical user interface, online collaboration capabilities and point-and-click features, tools that the younger generation of programmers have come to expect, according to Dayton Semerjian, corporate senior vice president and general manager of CA’s Mainframe Business Unit.

“It’s like nothing that’s been seen on the mainframe before,” Semerjian said in an interview.

Despite many predictions of a decade ago, the mainframe market has continued to survive, thanks in large part to IBM’s efforts to expand the workloads that can run on the systems and to offer more modestly priced models (efforts which other companies have criticised).

“It’s a powerful platform,” Semerjian said. “It has undergone a renaissance, but there still are challenges.”

A key challenge is the aging mainframe workforce. As they retire, they take knowledge with them. IBM, CA and other vendors have been working to attract a younger generation to the mainframe space.

A problem is that, in many ways, the mainframe environment doesn’t have the same features and tools that younger programmers are used to. That’s an issue that CA is looking to correct with Mainframe Chorus, Semerjian said.

The offering will increase efficiency and productivity, which also will help with any shortage of mainframe skills, he said.

CA will start with the database with the first role for the workspace. The beta version of Mainframe Chorus for DB2 Database Management is open now. It will leverage several of CA’s mainframe database management products, including Detector for DB2 for z/OS, Insight Performance Monitor for DB2 for z/OS, Plan Analyzer for DB2 for z/OS, and Subsystem Analyzer for DB2 for z/OS.

More roles for the Mainframe Chorus will follow, Semerjian said.

In a move which possibly undermines claims that the mainframe world is actually exciting, CA changed its hame this week, to CA Technologies.