March 4, 2021

Using zIIP to optimize value from your IBM Z® investments

Walter Blood

Topic:   Analytics

Despite all the cloud press, IBM Z platform remains the gold computing standard for many big companies.

Consider a large travel technology business that’s a client of both IBM and IBM Business Partner ibi, a TIBCO company. Its business-to-business (B2B) travel commerce platform helps connect travel providers – including massive travel websites, travel agencies, and airlines – with buyers.

Because reservations and other travel elements can change at a moment’s notice, this company requires sub-second response time under heavy load conditions. It depends on multiple IBM Z platforms to run its operations. Since 2008, ibi has provided data access, analysis, and reporting capabilities. The company now uses both the ibi FOCUS and WebFOCUS products.

Of course, this client wants significant value from its investments on the IBM Z platform, and IBM and ibi want to provide it. That is why IBM Z Integrated Information Processors (zIIP) can be made available on every IBM Z platform. These special-purpose processors relieve IBM Z of specific central processing unit (CPU)-intensive workloads. These workloads include FOCUS and WebFOCUS, along with IBM DB2®, Java®, Syncsort and other applications and databases.

Taking advantage of the capabilities of the IBM Z platform such as zIIP leaves the mainframe’s CPU more power to perform its dedicated tasks of running the operating system, controlling user interactions with it, and handling input and output (I/O) interrupts and timer interrupts. zIIPs may also help improve overall system performance and enable client organizations to delay system upgrades.

Saving money with zIIPs

Of particular interest to the travel company, though, was zIIP’s ability to help reduce computing costs it would otherwise incur from both IBM and ibi.

IBM Z users pay a monthly fee to lease the z/OS operating system. This fee often varies with system usage. IBM does not charge this fee for workloads processed via zIIP.

While not all processes can be run on the zIIP—I/O and z/OS are zIIP-incompatible—the travel company used the zIIP for as many processes as possible, significantly lowering monthly fees.  

Running FOCUS and WebFOCUS applications on the zIIP also helped the company reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of those products. 

ibi developed FOCUS on and for the IBM Z platform, architecting our products to take advantage of the evolving nature of IBM Z. Working with IBM, ibi has tooled FOCUS and WebFOCUS so that some operations that would normally fall into the I/O category – such as FOCUS Database access – are now predominantly CPU activities. Clients can perform these operations, without fee, on the zIIP.

As a result, this travel company is able to offload about 80 percent of FOCUS workloads to the zIIP. Other ibi clients consistently find they can offload more than half of FOCUS work to the zIIP. ibi benchmarking indicates that typical offloads run from 30 to 80 percent.

In addition, FOCUS is the only business intelligence, reporting, and analytics platform that can intelligently switch processing between the IBM Z platform and the zIIP. FOCUS constantly monitors zIIP usage. When it detects that the cost of simply switching modes outstrips the expected savings of using the zIIP, FOCUS dynamically decides against using the zIIP for this task or command. 

ibi reporting and analytics software integrates with databases and applications including IBM DB2®, Adabas, IDMS, Millennium, Model 204, Oracle, and Teradata to provide clients with the business insights and reporting capabilities needed to find value in their data. Our patented in-document analytics combine data and interactive controls into a single, self-contained HTML file, delivering analytics capabilities in a completely portable environment. Robust Microsoft Excel support is included. ibi’s well-regarded advanced visualization capabilities make data more understandable for users at various organizational levels.

Could your organization benefit from reduced mainframe computing costs and improved insight? Learn more


About ibi

ibi, a TIBCO company, is a global data and analytics software company focusing on helping organizations transform data into business value. Our business intelligence solutions enable smarter decision-making, thereby driving growth. ibi offers world-class technical support and professional services designed to provide clients with the level of assistance needed for their data and analytics initiatives.


Walter BloodAbout the author

Walter Blood is the Senior Lead Support Engineer at ibi, a TIBCO company. With more than 30 years’ IT experience, he is now responsible for FOCUS products running on the IBM z Systems mainframe, along with the core FOCUS engine powering all ibi products. You can connect with Walter on LinkedIn.