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Home > Updates > COBOL V5 Analysis for SCRT and LCS (this page)

COBOL V5 Analysis for SCRT and LCS

Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 September, 2013

IBM announced COBOL V5, 5655-W32, (US Announcement 213-144) on April 23, 2013, as the "z/OS-based compiler that helps you create and maintain mission-critical, line-of-business COBOL applications to execute on your z/OS systems". One of the enhancements in COBOL V5 is the compiler now generates SMF89 records. COBOL V5 is no longer an SCRT NO89 product. SCRT can detect and report on COBOL V5 through use of the COBOL V5 SMF89 records. LCS will now detect and analyze COBOL V5 through SMF30 data and through SMF89 data. As with most new versions of IBM products COBOL V5 does have higher prices than COBOL V4 along with new feature and function. Iíll leave the marketing to IBM; you can read more in the COBOL V5 announcement letter. There has also been a long discussion thread on IBM-MAIN related to other technical issues, such as PDSe. You can also find some great information written by Tom Ross of IBM. Search the web with "COBOL V5 Tom Ross".

A Few of the COBOL V5 Technical Issues

I do want to point out a few technical issues from the Share Conference and Tom Ross's COBOL V5 Migration Paper that caught my eye. Depending on options and program size the compiler uses 5 to 15 times as much CPU. That is 5x to 15x; not 5% to 15%. IBM is doing continual improvement on the code being generated. Be sure to check for available COBOL V5 PTFs. You might think that is just the compiling process, it is the generated program that really matters. Also in the migration presentation: The performance may or may not improve. Again, IBM is shipping PTFs with performance improvements. Some application have shown more than 50% improvements. (This compiler is able to use the instructions of your current hardware. That capability may lead to big improvements.) Some applications have not improved, and many show improvement in the 5% to 10% range.

COBOL Billable MSUs

Using the site-specified NO89 parameters SCRT assumes that if z/OS is executing in an LPAR then any specified NO89 products in the LPAR are executing also. It is a somewhat reasonable assumption for products like Tivoli Workload Scheduler and Netview as those products typically run in all of a customer's LPARs and they usually run all the time. However the assumption is often not true with the compilers and some other tools. The peaks of some LPARs do not occur when developers are "compiling" COBOL, such as a night time batch peak. For this reason generating SMF89 records for NO89 products has long been a request of IBM’s customers. IBM has little incentive to do this, as using SMF89 records rather than NO89 parameters will lower a product's billable MSUs, or keep it the same. Lower billable MSUs lead to lower IBM software revenue. Generating SMF89 data cannot increase revenue (though it may catch some sites that are inadvertently running COBOL in LPARs that are not listed in their NO89 parameters).

Part of the value that LCS provides customers is the ability to detect when the COBOL compiler is truly being used in an LPAR. LCS licensees have been able to modify their SCRT reports since 2003 based on the true maximum simultaneous four-hour rolling average that LCS recommends. These LCS licensees have been reducing their COBOL and PL/I billable MSUs and software charges for years.

When a site licenses and starts using COBOL V5 they may see a decrease in their COBOL billable MSUs because the SMF89 data is a more accurate representation of the use of COBOL than the NO89 parameters. Some sites are using COBOL during their peak periods and will not see a decrease in billable MSUs.

COBOL V5 Pricing

The chart below show the AWLC Monthly License Charge (MLC) in US$s for COBOL V5, V4 and V3. The charts for other pricing metrics are similar. New feature and function delivered with a new version usually has a price increase. One way to look at the increase is by how much more is the MLC at various MSU levels. The average AWLC increase is 15%, though from 275 to 767 the increase is more than 16%.

COBOL V3, V4, V5 Pricing Curves

Another issue to consider regarding V5 is the trade off between having SMF89 data and the price increase. For the increased price of V5 you'll want to find your V4 (or V3 charges, and then move left horizontally to find the same charge on the V5 line. For example COBOL V4 is $10,004 per month at 695 MSUs. The higher COBOL V5 prices lead to COBOL V5 reaching $10,002 at 542 MSUs; 22% fewer MSUs. If the billable COBOL MSUs remain at 695, the V5 charges will increase by $1,627/month a 16% increase. Similarly V4 reaches $5,000 per month at 219 MSUs, and V5 reaches $5,000 at 159 MSUs; 27% few MSUs. If COBOL's billable MSUs remain at 219 the V5 cost will increase by $800/month a 16% increase.

Next Steps

This analysis has focused on the new SMF89 data and the pricing. It is the new feature and function that will lead sites to move to COBOL V5. Each site will have to decide individually when the feature and function is worth the increased charges.

You can license LCS to detect and report your true simultaneous four hour rolling average of your COBOL V4 and PL/I compilers as well as other NO89 products. Many sites achieve ROI for LCS in a few months. Besides reducing your billable MSUs for some NO89 products and auditing your SCRT reports LCS provides the analysis and reporting you need to audit your resultant IBM invoices for MLC and zIPLA products. LCS fully understands the current pricing metrics, zIPLA Value Units,and the current hardware. Reporting includes estimated IBM invoices including PricingPlexes, Transition Plans, and Single Version Charging.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 September, 2013

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