Monday, November 27, 2006

Price change for some Websphere Products

I didn't have much time last week but there was one announcement letter I still want to mention : "Price Action on System z and zSeries Software Program Products". It concerns a price raise on mostly websphere products, more specific :
  • 5655-F81 IBM WS Application Server for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-L86 IBM WS Business Integration Server Foundation for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-P27 IBM WS Process Server for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-R16 IBM WS Enterprise Server Bus for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-K13 IBM WS Portal Enable for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-I19 IBM WS Message Broker for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-K58 IBM WS Event Broker for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-G98 IBM WS Message Broker with Rules & Formatter for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-P29 IBM WS Extended Deployment for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5698-S37 IBM Tivoli Business System Manager or z/OS (S&S)

The new prices are effective on April, 1 2007.
For Belgium it means a price increase of 4%.
You can check out the announcement letter for other countries.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DB2 V9 for z/OS : how close to announcement ?

I don't know how long it's already on the IBM DB2 Website but it indicates that 'DB2 Version 9.1 for z/OS' is "coming soon". There's definitely more and more information to be found about it. The beta program announcement was issued on May 9,2006. There's a 29-page document on this beta program that also sheds some light on the innovations you'll find in DB2 V9. The document focuses on three innovation types : "those which provide insight for the business, those which provide cost savings, and those which improve business resiliency."
The most striking feature IMHO is the "new hybrid data server support for both relational and pure XML storage, with the necessary services to support both data structures".

As was already the case in DB2 V9 for Linux, Unix and Windows, XML data can now be stored in their native format as they are handled as a new data type. Both XML and relational data are under control of the same DB2 engine.
There's a very good introductory article on DB2 V9 in the latest DB2 magazine by Craig S. Mullins, a renowned authority on DB2 for years : DB2 9 for z/OS Roars to Life. By the way, Craig S. Mullins has his own blog on DB2 : DB2PORTAL Blog and an own site with lots of earlier articles on DB2.

As far as preriquisites and migration path are concerned : "Migration to V9 will be only from DB2 for z/OS Version 8 and will prereq z/OS 1.7 Some items will require z/OS 1.8."

z/Journal New Edition

z/Journal has just released its new edition. I've subscribed to the digital edition some time ago (PDF - print only available in the USA). And I must say each time there are some interesting articles. Some examples :
  • "Top Ten Ways To Waste CPU Using DB2",
  • "Linux Worst Practices : What Not To Do"
  • "Understanding Workload Manager : Analyzing Velocity Goals"
  • "10 Ways To Improve RACF Performance
The main article is "Storage Wars, The Attack Of The Tapes" describing how mainframe backup solutions fit into an open enterprise. What are the technical evolutions ? What about protection against tape loss or loss of personal information ? And related to this : what about encryption ?. The opening sentence sets the tone for a nice article by Brandon Hoff : "With the rapid growth of Web commerce, enterprises are struggling to provide storage solutions that are continuously available, satisfy peak demands, and manage storage growth while protecting data from malicious attacks".
You can subscribe to the digital z/Journal edition over here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just recovering

I accidentally deleted my entire blog fooling around with a new blog. I thought I was deleting my test blog when I was in fact deleting this one. First there was the panic moment, of course. What have I done ? So I went looking for offline pages on my PC but I only found my last posts. But then I found them all back in the Firefox cache of my second PC. Thank God ! So, I'll be putting them all back online as soon as possible.
Well, this should be a fresh start as I see that the layout of new blogs has changed compared to the former ones.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SMF Reference Summary

Cheryl Watson is a well-known authority in the IBM mainframe world. Though I must admit that her "Cheryl Watson's TUNING Letter" is way too expensive for me. But still, I findit worthwile to check out her site once in a while. There's a nice Article section of which especially the presentations are worth a look. There's e.g. the "Hot Flashes" that always start off with some survey questions like who's running what version of z/OS, who's using a zAAP or a zIIP etc. The last issue is Hot Flashes #16 dating from August 18, 2006.
Coming back to the title of this post. There's a nice PDF on the site which gives a brief description of SMF records : "Cheryl Watson's SMF Reference Summary. A useful document, though I find the title page with picture and all a little over the top. Perhaps, we Europeans, have a little more down to earth approach on these matters.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Techdocs : IBM Technical Sales Library

As I have not much news for the moment I would like to draw your attention to a site I really visit regularly : the IBM Technical Sales Library, briefly Techdocs. Do not be misguided by the 'Sales' word, as you'll find lots of helpful technical information, white papers, tools etc. on this page. For example zPCR, the sizing tool when performing an upgrade can be downloaded from Techdocs. Lots of information on recent announcements can be found there. I already mentioned the 3584 slot calculator and a white paper on the zIIP in previous posts.
What I do is just get over there once a week and hit the 'Latest updates' button (right side of the screen). This week there's a technical presentation on the implementation of the new Server Time Protocol : STP z/OS considerations.
I'd say : just check it out !

Monday, November 6, 2006

Tape Cartridge Extended Models up to 700 MB

Another announcement last week was made for the 3592 tape cartridges. There are three new 'Extended Data' models with up to 700 GB rewritable native capacity. The models indicate whether the cartridges are labeled, initialized or not. There are three additional 'Extended Worm' types available. Once again some more capacity on a cartridge. So be it. But what I find interesting are some compatibility issues announced at the same time. On a previous occasion I mentioned one of the drawbacks of the TS7700 Virtualization engine : "The TS7700 connects to the TS1120 E05 but it has to run in emulation mode as a 3952 J1A. This also means you cannot fully use its speed nor the larger 500MB cartridges.". Well, that's been lifted now : "TS7700 will support 700GB using native TS1120 E05 drive support" and the 3592 J1A emulation mode is no longer needed. Apparently no such support will be implemented on the 3494 B10 en B20 Virtual Tape Systems.
Take a look at the software requirements too : z/OS 1.5 is needed for these new media. You will need z/VSE 3.1.2, z/VM 5.1.0 and z/TPF 5.1 for the other operating systems.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

IBM Announcements : DS8000

As I had a day off yesterday (All Saints' Day) I wasn't able to comment on the new storage announcements. I'm just focusing on the DS8000 in this topic. Last summer, more particularly on 22/08/2006 the new Turbo Models of the DS8000 were announced using the new POWER5+ processors. The announcement included also the new 500GB 7.2K FATA disks and 4Gb Fibre Channel and FICON host adapters. (By the way : the 500GB FATA disks were also announced on the DS6000). Last Tuesday 31/10/2006 additional announcements followed. One of the announcements is the withdrawal of these very models announced in august. The reason is that the DS8000 machine is no longer referred to as the 2107. It is replaced by the 2424 machine type. In addition three machine types are added : 2421, 2422 and 2423. The last digit indicates the warranty period. So this is a major change to the DS8000 : from now one the client can choose the warranty period for the DS8000 instead of having to take the 4-year warranty directly.
Another enhancement on the DS8000 is the HyperPAV feature "planned to be offered on z/OS 1.6 and later releases in November 2006. It "is designed to enable applications to achieve equal or better performance than with the original PAV feature alone while also using the same or fewer z/OS resources.""
What's the difference with dynamic PAV : PAV aliases are pre assigned and Workload manager in z/OS can then dynamically reassign addresses when needed if it sees that some devices need more and others need less. This is mostly reactive, and it takes z/OS cycles to do. With HyperPAV, the aliases are not pre-assigned. Aliases are in a pool and are assigned only when needed. It is done in a more on-demand way. It doesn't use z/OS cycles to reassign Aliases. It does not depend on Workload manager function. It minimizes the number of aliases assigned and therefore, the number of addresses used. The number of PAV-aliases needed may be reduced, taking fewer from the 64k device limitation which is important to large customers. The feature is exclusively offered by IBM and requires purchase of the billable HyperPAV feature and a PAV license on the DS8000 and it also requires z/OS V1.6 and later releases