We all like free stuff and we all like saving money. I’m a big fan of any free-to-use tools that help identify cost saving opportunities. I regularly dip into online cost comparison sites for stuff I buy at home, such as house and car insurance. These sites are easy and quick to use and often highlight the savings I’ll make by swapping from one provider to another. And we all like to save money, whether it’s at home or at work.

One big cost item for IBM mainframe users is software costs; they consume a significant proportion of enterprise IT budgets and the biggest single item is usually IBM’s Monthly License Charges (MLCs). These often consume a third or even more of a mainframe software budget. In a cash-strapped world, where budgets are under pressure, it’s therefore no surprise to see IT sourcing professionals regularly challenged with finding ways to cut the MLC bill.

Last year, I wrote about some options for reducing IBM mainframe software costs in a Forrester Research paper entitled ‘How to reduce IBM System z Mainframe Software Costs’. Even so I still get asked by clients ‘what else can I do?’, and ‘are there any tools that can help me identify ways to save money?’

So I am always on the hunt for new ideas and cost saving opportunities.

One item that caught my eye this week was a new tool that BMC has just launched – it’s an MLC Savings Calculator and it offers guidance and ideas on how to reduce MLC costs. It’s free, easy to use and it lets you try various cost-saving scenarios that could result in reducing your MLC costs – and it also estimates just how much you might save too. You can read more about MLC Cost Reduction and get access to BMC’s free MLC Savings Calculator tool on their Mainframe Cost Optimization web pages.

Tools like BMC’s or zDynaCap from zIT Consulting can be really useful ways to start your mainframe software cost savings analysis. As well as looking at software consolidation opportunities, these tools can identify ideas on how to better manage workloads via moving, throttling, tuning and capping workloads. But one word of caution; you will need to include your IT colleagues in reviewing the results as there may be some mitigating circumstances whereby you can’t make the changes the tool suggests.

If you like free stuff and saving money too, then making use of such tools might just help you reduce your IBM software costs.