Changing Observability in the Mainframe Ecosystem with OpenTelemetry

Changing Observability in the Mainframe Ecosystem with Open Telemetry

The News: At SHARE, the biannual mainframe user conference, in Orlando, Broadcom launched new functionality that will transform how mainframe clients run their operations. Read the full press release on the Broadcom website.

Changing Observability in the Mainframe Ecosystem with OpenTelemetry

Analyst Take: In recent years, the observability space has undergone a significant transformation, largely driven by the emergence of OpenTelemetry. This shift has facilitated a more open and connected mainframe environment, seamlessly integrating with hybrid cloud architectures. The Open Mainframe Project, alongside contributions from industry giants such as IBM and Broadcom, has been at the forefront of this revolution. These efforts have not only democratized access to mainframe data but also enhanced the agility and resilience of mainframe operations within the broader IT ecosystem. The move toward an OpenTelemetry framework underscores a transition towards more transparent, efficient, and interoperable IT operations which supports a new era of mainframe observability for modern digital transformation strategies.

WatchTower Announcement

On March 5, 2024, coinciding with the mainframe user event, SHARE, Broadcom’s mainframe software division made a significant announcement that promises to redefine the landscape of mainframe observability. The company unveiled the WatchTower Platform, a state-of-the-art, open observability solution designed to enhance business performance by streamlining the identification and resolution of high-priority incidents within mainframe environments. WatchTower distinguishes itself by improving visibility across IT silos, integrating and correlating a wide range of events, data flows, signals, and metrics. This integration facilitates more rational and coordinated workflows which provides operations teams the ability to focus on alerts crucial for continuous business operations. Leveraging the foundational strengths of existing mainframe AIOps solutions, WatchTower amplifies mainframe telemetry visibility within enterprise observability tools, creating a unified, user-friendly experience that caters to a diverse range of skill sets.

The advent of tools like WatchTower, coupled with the integration of OpenTelemetry, opens a new era for mainframe operations. The emphasis on tool unification and open observability frameworks provides a strong foundation for improving mainframe resilience and operational stability. By providing a seamless flow of insights across hybrid architectures, these innovations enable a proactive approach to mainframe management. Operations teams can now anticipate and mitigate issues before they escalate, shifting from reactive recovery to proactive avoidance.

The integration of mainframe operations into the broader observability ecosystem through OpenTelemetry ensures that mainframe data is no longer siloed but is a part of the end-to-end observability strategy. This not only enhances the visibility of mainframe contributions to business operations but also ensures that performance bottlenecks and issues are quickly identified and addressed leading to minimized impact on the business.

Furthermore, the ability to leverage open APIs for enterprise integration, as highlighted by WatchTower’s compatibility with Broadcom’s DX Application Performance Management (DX APM) and other AIOps solutions, ensures that organizations can easily adopt and integrate these advanced observability solutions into their existing IT infrastructure. This ease of integration, combined with the provision of WatchTower’s capabilities to existing customers of Broadcom’s mainframe solutions at no additional cost, represents a significant step forward in making advanced observability accessible to a wider range of enterprises.

Looking Ahead

The announcement of Broadcom’s WatchTower Platform promises evolution of mainframe observability. By using the power of OpenTelemetry and integrating it with a comprehensive suite of observability tools, Broadcom is not only enhancing the visibility and operability of mainframe environments but also setting the stage for a future where mainframe resilience and operational stability are central to enterprise IT strategies. The importance of such innovations cannot be overstated in this market. They offer a path to more efficient, responsive, and resilient IT operations, ensuring that mainframes remain a vital and vibrant part of the hybrid IT landscape.

Broadcom’s strategic post-acquisition trajectory, especially more than five years following the CA Technologies acquisition, showcases a deliberate and sustained commitment to enhancing its mainframe software offerings. This commitment is clear in Broadcom’s approach to delivering additional, non-chargeable value to its clients, a strategy that not only contrasts with the broader market dynamics, such as the market narrative observed in the VMware acquisition but also signifies the Mainframe Software Division’s momentum in introducing innovative functionalities. For instance, the integration of new features like CA-1 with cloud object storage connectivity—a capability often provided as a standalone solution by competitors—and the implementation of the Mainframe Vitality Program, exemplify Broadcom’s ongoing investment in ensuring its clients receive unparalleled value and support, thereby solidifying its position as a vanguard of mainframe software innovation.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.


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