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CA Mainframe Software Manager [EOL] OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is CA Mainframe Software Manager [EOL]?

CA Mainframe Software Manager helps simplify and streamline your mainframe management tasks, increase staff productivity, and facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing so you can more effectively reduce the cost and complexity of managing mission-critical mainframe workloads well into the 21st century.

CA Mainframe Software Manager [EOL] was previously known as CA MSM, CA CSM, CA Chorus Software Manager.

Archived CA Mainframe Software Manager [EOL] Reviews (more than two years old)

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it_user558273
Systems Programmer at Erie insurance
Vendor
It ensures that we have all the fixes in place and that they can be applied over time.

What is most valuable?

It takes less time to install the product and to get maintenance. The users and our staff can implement those changes much quicker. It makes it a lot easier to install our products.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to spend a lot of time in getting fixes done and also in finding out that all the fixes are available. This product ensures that we have all the fixes in place and that they can be applied over time.

What needs improvement?

They are progressing in that direction. They are keeping track of our configuration changes. So, they will automatically move forward as we progress with our products.

Right now, one of the challenges that we still face is to keep track of our customizations so that I know the product is going in that direction. We don't have any of our products using this solution right now but we would like to start moving forward in that direction.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In regards to the scalability, we have all of our products in there. We have had no issues at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used the technical support. In my opinion, their technical support is one of the best ones for this product. They get right back to you. They give solutions and helps us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using any other solution before.

We just looked at our aging workforce and were trying to get people trained and get them up to speed because there is so much to learn in a short period of time. This has the possibility of helping them out.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. This product was implemented a few years back; the initial setup was not very straightforward. We needed CA to come out and help us install it. It was a very resource-intensive process. So, in the beginning there were a lot of challenges. However, I think we have it right now.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Basically CA was the only one that had a solution for us. They came in and presented it to us. The cost was free. For us, it basically manages all our CA products.

What other advice do I have?

You should take a look at it. You don't think that the processes can come out quicker with the way they are set up right now. However, this solution is so much more automated and everything is behind the scenes. For anybody coming into the business, it's very easy.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor is that the vendor must have the capability to solve our business solution. It has to be affordable, easy to
install, and not require a lot of resources.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user373494
Team Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Vendor
It aquires information about availability of hipers, current data about errors & retrieving the fixes, making it so that we're able to focus on the application of the changes

Valuable Features

For us, what I find is that we have a declining workforce where we have a very experienced staff who are retiring, moving on in their careers, and we have an influx of newer, younger generation who don't have all of the experience. Because we have a smaller workforce now, we're having to use tools to optimize what they spend their time on. I don't want my staff spending time on the logistics. I want them to spend their time on the critical thinking so they can truly apply their time and energies on those things that are really critical to what a systems programmer does, and MSM allows us to do that.

Improvements to My Organization

I would say that the process where MSM is gaining the technical information from CA about availability of hypers, availability of information, current data about errors in the system, and going and retrieving the actual fixes makes it so that we're able to focus on the actual application of those changes rather than the logistics of going and getting them, and dealing with the analysis. We can focus on just the important part of the job.

We've been involved with Mainframe Software Manager for a number of years through its introduction and development, so certainly we've seen our share of development changes, but what I continue to see is the team has been incredibly responsive to those challenges. We use it every day now. It's become a de facto part of how we conduct business.

Room for Improvement

Here at CA World, we've been talking with the directors directly about upcoming features, as they're in a real development of the product. They've gone from it simply being maintenance of products, to looking at more advanced features of analysis and reporting on product deployments, what products do or don't have hypers, or errors installed. What I'm seeing is a development into a direction with the product I wasn't expecting. I'm really excited to see the changes. I think that in the end, being able to have management have an independent way to look at deployments and see where things are or are not installed or staged, makes the analysis that much quicker. It makes it independent so you're not relying upon somebody who may or may not see exactly the same thing you're seeing. I'm very excited about where they're headed with it. It's just so odd because you don't really expect a product to develop in a specific way, and you get your own head pigeonholed around, "Where do I think this product goes?" Or, "What do I think it does? What should they be doing?" Then you see where they're headed and it's just an eye opener. It's a very exciting time.

Deployment Issues

When I'm looking at new solutions for our environment, I'm constantly looking for ease of implementation, ease of use, and whether or not the solution reduces the complexity of how we do business. There's the analysis, there's the logistics of getting maintenance, and whatnot. I'm looking for solutions that make it so my staff can focus on their job, focus on the critical thinking, and not spend an inordinate amount of time at configuration, or trying to teach other people how to use it, or having to learn how to use it themselves. Simplicity in execution, and stability.

Scalability Issues

We've been very pleased with that. Currently it just manages products from CA. As we've expanded, what we've done is more and more of the products are supported by MSM, and have taken on the CA recommended service maintenance lifecycle. In that aspect, they have continued to change the product to support more of the internal products at CA. For our standpoint, we're really not expanding its use as much as we continue to expand the number of products that we're doing it for, but it's so easy to do that it doesn't feel like it's a scalability issue. It doesn't feel like we're taking on great hordes of work because it is so simple.

Customer Service and Technical Support

A+. I've been very responsive. I think because of the industry that we're in, very high security, a lot of concerns about privileged access, recently we had some internal challenges with the product because of how our company does business, and CA was very responsive.

Initial Setup

Our team has been involved in all of the sprints, and all of the developing the betas as it comes out, so we've had direct feedback with the development of the product. I would say it's been very easy. Every time we've come up with an issue it seems like the person on the other end says, "Yeah. We saw that too. Yeah, we recognize that's a deficiency too. We're working on it. It's in the next release." We've been very happy with how quickly they've adopted changes to the product, and how responsive they've been to our issues.

Other Advice

From my experience with other vendors and their solutions in this sort of software management, I would have to rate CA MSM as a 10.

The advice that I would give a counterpart when they're considering CA Mainframe Software Manager as a solution is to really consider, "What do you pay your technicians to do?" When I have a high end systems programmer, and I need them to do this job, I need you to apply maintenance, I need you to maintain these products, I need you to run Error Sysmod Reports, I need you to see the health of the system. I want them to focus on those tasks. It's not, "Did you go to that website? Did you download that cumulative maintenance? Did you unzip it?" Whatever the logistics are, I don't need you to be doing FTP, and be on your PC, and uploading, and downloading data. I want my staff to focus on the actual parts of the job that are about systems programming. The critical thinking. What does it take to apply or back off this fix?

If my staff are spending so much time in all of the logistics, then the amount of time, and energy, and focus they have left at the end now to look at, "Okay, well does this fit our environment? What do we need to do to back it off?" Now they've spent too much time here. I would say to my counterparts, "Look at where you want your staff spending their time. Look at where you want them to apply their critical thought process, and their problem skills, their analytics. If they're doing it up front in logistics, they're not doing their job. They're doing a logistical job. You want them to focus over here." Having a tool like CA Mainframe Software Manager that allows you to channel your staff's direction into the actual work, it's priceless. That's what I would say.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user350628
Information Security Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It needs a more enterprise view of multiple instances and better management of those instances, although it presents the information from the compliance manager in a more contemporary way.

Valuable Features

I think that the real value of this solution is that it's eye candy; it’s pretty. It pretties up the security/event investigation dashboard. This is helpful because it allows people to look at it and think they’re getting something. It presents the information from the compliance manager in a more contemporary way.

Improvements to My Organization

It doesn’t provide benefits to the organization yet, in my opinion. It’s just eye candy. And we’re still in the process of installing it after three years.

Room for Improvement

It needs a more enterprise view of multiple instances and better management of those instances. We have systems all over the US and when I push a policy, I need to make sure they’re all running the policy. Therefore, I need an enterprise view of all enterprise instances of Chorus.

I have some systems where I can’t run full Chorus because their required configurations don’t meet some of the requirements of full Chorus. Some systems can’t run System Logger because those systems are meant for only replication and emergency switching. They have minimal products and features to provide reliability to manage migration should disasters occur.

Stability Issues

Stability is still a challange. It’s better, but there’s work.

Scalability Issues

We don't know yet whether it will scale cause we're still installing it and performing debugging.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We have working sessions with technical support a couple of days a week. They’re attentive, but are themselves challenged in the complexity of the solution.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was very complex.

Other Advice

It has potential. It’ll take another five years to mature for it to be useful. It was brought to market too early. It’s not right for a big enterprise like my employer.

Wait for the product to mature, but it depends on your environment. It may be fine for someone pressured by a regulator and is a small shop. But we as a large enterprise try to exploit it and break it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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