Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy New Year

Just one final note for my last post of the year. 2006 turned out to be a good year for the mainframe. I found it hopefull to see that not only professional people start to value the mainframe again. It also gets more and more attention in the press - and especially positive attention. And whether we like it or not, they play a great role in forming the public opinion, only this time, it's in our favor.

I can only wish every one the best for 2007. Thanks to those who visit from time to time or put a link on their own page. And I hope to meet you again in January at my little blog space.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

IBM and Oracle initiatives

Last october, IBM and Oracle announced "a strategic initiative to collaborate on the sales and marketing of a series of enterprise business solutions with Oracle applications and technology for Linux on System z in order to target the business requirements of large and medium size enterprise customers and meet growing market demand."

On this IBM page the implications of the announcement are described as follows : "With today’s announcement, Oracle is extending the portfolio of products available on the IBM System z9 platform with a comprehensive set of both database and application solutions which Oracle intends to enable for Linux on System z. This could mean new opportunities for you to take advantage of the advanced functionality of Oracle applications on a premier Linux environment, benefiting from the core strengths of the IBM System z9 platform."

I'm not a specialist on Oracle applications but when I try to read between the lines, I have the impression that 'Oracle E-Business Suite' will be able to run on zLinux. "Will be" is the right phrase though, because up to now it's not possible.

There is however a nice redbook on this matter due to be published in February 2007. But ther's already a draft available : Experiences with Oracle 10gR2 Solutions on Linux for IBM System z. "This IBM Redbook describe experiences gained while installing and testing several Oracle solutions, such as:
- Single Instance of Oracle Database 10gR2,
- Including sharing ORACLE_HOME and Cloning Oracle databases,
- RAC Instance of Oracle Database 10gR2 using raw devices, block devices or OCFS2 files
- Oracle E-Business Suite with a split configuration database on Linux on System z Oracle AS10g"

Friday, December 22, 2006

IBM making movies

This is not really a comment on mainframe but still.
First of all I find that IBM is making very creative ads lately. I guess they have a whole department over there for this. I posted 'The Heist' earlier this year and I would like to add another one. As you see, not only creative, but sometimes funny too.

IBM didn't start yesterday with making movies. To illustrate this I found a movie from 1956 at the Prelinger Archives. Do we already find the precursor of parallel sysplex in 1956 on an IBM machine for military purposes ? The time frame was quite different then. So I surely won't be searching for any other parallels with current times. Or as one comment at the Prelinger Archives says : "(...) Ignore the usual patriotic stuff... or smile."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mainframe Growing Like It's 1979

As the year is closing down, surveys of the past year and predictions for the coming year are made everywhere. Of course, our interest mainly goes to commentaries on the mainframe, like this one at Enterprise Systems.

On the other hand, 2006 was a resurgent year for mainframe boosters. Big Iron enjoyed three strong quarters—including a Q3 in which it recorded 18 percent year-over-year growth in MIPS shipments—and helped IBM grow its server market share, thanks in large part to System z (see (

To be sure, there was a downturn of sorts—mainframe sales dipped in Q2—but that was also ahead of IBM’s z9 Business Class (BC) and z9 Enterprise Class (EC) system refresh. What’s more, IBM introduced a new dedicated processor engine (zSeries Integrated Information Processor, or zIIP) and announced a $100 million investment to simplify mainframe management and programming.

All in all, 2006 was a great year for mainframe pros. As you’ll see, 2007 might be even stronger.

All in all a great message to conclude the old year and start with the new one. I'm not sure whether I'll get to posting again for this year. But with the end of the year in sight and the mainframe "growing like it's 1979', I suggest we start 'partying like it's 1999'
(yes, Prince )

Monday, December 11, 2006

z/OS 1.8 Installation Planning Checklist

I've been browsing through Techdocs again and came across this z/OS 1.8 Installation Planning Checklist. This is an interesting document which is "to be used as a supplement to existing product publications". For those who are preparing a migration towards z/OS 1.8, the list was last updated at the end of November.
This reminds me of another lesser known source of information for people upgrading to a new version of z/OS : the ‘zSeries Platform Test site'. This is a site where a team of IBM people write down their experiences at migrating to a next z/OS release. They work in a parallel sysplex environment and bring you a detailed report of their migrations : planning, migration, problems during migration, interaction with other products (DB2, IMS, Websphere, CICS . . . ). They also offer some sample configuration files . . . Unfortunately there's no publication on z/OS 1.8 yet. I'll keep you informed when it turns up. The last one is 'z/OS V1R7.0 zSeries Platform Test Report for z/OS and Linux Virtual Servers'. A list of earlier publications can be found here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

IBM to acquire Consul

On the Consul site we read that "On December 5, 2006, IBM and Consul entered into a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire Consul". On the IBM site, you can find the entire press release.
Consul is a leading provider of compliance and security audit software that helps clients track, report and investigate non-compliant behavior, such as unauthorized activity by information technology administrators or other users.
I know them best for their mainframe products like Consul/RACF but apparantly it's their cross site coverage that makes this company an asset to the IBM products. Or as we find on their site :
"Consul's 20 year history as the leader in audit and compliance software means you can rely on us for the most comprehensive solution available on the market. With the first and only solution for log management, privileged user monitoring and audit (PUMA™), and security audit and compliance reporting across the enterprise, from perimeter to network devices, to applications, databases, operating systems, and the mainframe, the Consul InSight Suite meets your needs to track, report on, and investigate non-compliant behavior.
Consul offers two distinct industry acclaimed product suites:"

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

IBM Archives

As I was making a presentation on tape storage I came acrosse this page called the 'IBM Archives' on the outskirts of the IBM website. There's some great historical material in those archives. You can find the history of the IBM logo (from globes to stripes). This one was used from 1924 till 1946.

There were only three others since resulting in the current one with eight bars from 1972 onwards. As we see e.g. here on a System/370 :

My first recollection of a mainframe was the 4381 :

This is just one picture in a row of many in the Mainframe Photo Album.
But there's lots and lots more on the site. There's an Antique Attic, a history on cards and tapes etc. There are also some audio fragments of famous speeches, such as a recording of Thomas Watson in 1915 commenting on the "THINK" motto :

"And we must study through reading, listening, discussing, observing and thinking. We must not neglect any one of those ways of study. The trouble with most of us is that we fall down on the latter -- thinking -- because it's hard work for people to think, And, as Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler said recently, 'all of the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think.' "
In other words : the place to be for those of us who are getting nostalgic from time to time.

Friday, December 1, 2006

IBM Redbooks

Today I'm stating the obvious of course. Every one knows the IBM Redbooks. But I just added the URL to my links because there were a couple of interesting redbooks this week. People tend to forget soon, but I still find the Redbooks a great initiative as compared to the former manuals we were always cursing because they were unreadable. You can subscribe to the Redbooks Newsletter over here, indicating your interest areas. So, you'll get an update on the site every Monday. Or you can even get real-time updates with the RSS-feeds nowadays.
The first redbook I would like to mention is still a draft : z/OS Version 1 Release 8 Implementation. But the draft is already worth mentioning. The content is too exhaustive to cover entirely here, but here's a foretaste :
This redbook describes the functional enhancements to z/OS® for Version 1 Release 8, (z/OS V1R8). These enhancements that are described are designed to help installations install, tailor, migrate, and configure z/OS V1R8.
This redbook describes the new enhancements as follows:
z/OS Version 1 Release 8 Overview
Installation and migration to z/OS V1R8
Console restructure
CFRM performance enhancements
RMF enhancements
WLM enhancements
The second one is ICF Catalog Backup and Recovery: Catalog RecoveryPlus Update. This Redpaper tells us about IBM Integrated Catalog Forward Recovery Utility (ICFRU) and Mainstar Catalog RecoveryPlus, two tool for ICF catalog backup and recovery. It "provides information and practical examples on how to use the Mainstar Catalog RecoveryPlus product in a catalog recovery situation. It also provides useful recommendations for storage administrators in implementing a catalog backup and recovery plan.
This redbook also provides a variety of practical tests to help you with the
different error scenarios you may find in your daily production activities."