Wednesday, April 18, 2007

IBM z9 EC and z9 BC - Delivering greater value for everyone

Out of the blue here's the GA3 announcement for the z9 EC and the GA2 announcement for the z9 BC. It's all put together in one announcement. There's a PDF version too, but as you might know, the PDF leaves out the technical details and prereqs of the full announcement. It also includes some very interesting previews and statements of direction concerning specialty engines. I'll give you a summary of the summary, highlighting what I think to be the most interesting novelties for all customers. I'm definitely not being exhaustive and will likely later come back on some of these issues. The enhancements are divided into several categories and I'll just follow them.

System z9 Enhancements
  • LPAR group capacity limit : Next to the individual capacity setting per LPAR, you can now group some LPARs and give them an additional group limit. In that way, the sum of the LPARs' utilization in that group will not exceed the group limit. This should further optimize the use of white space. It requires at least z/OS(.e) 1.8.
  • z/VM integrated systems management : this feature for the z9 HMC provides GUI-based management of z/VM guests. The guests are automatically detected by the HMC.
  • Enhanced driver maintenance utilization.
FCP enhancements
These are mainly performance enhancements by changing the FCP LIC (Licensed internal Code).

Networking enhancements
  • OSA-Express network Traffic Analyzer
  • QDIO Diagnostic Synchronization : this offers "the ability to coordinate and simultaneously capture both operating system and OSA-Express2 traces at the same instance".
Availablility Enhancements
  • System-initiated CHPID reconfiguration : this is designed to minimize operator interaction to configure shared channels off-line and on-line.
  • Multipath IPL : this allows that an alternate path is selected automatically when there are problems reaching the IPL device. It helps eliminate manual problem determination druing IPL.
Parallel sysplex enhancements
CFCC (Coupling Facility Control Code) level 15 is made available on z9 EC and BC. It includes an increase of the allowable tasks in the CF from 48 to 112.

Environmental enhancements
  • Power monitoring : with System z9 you can now monitor the power consumption and temperature of your system. The System Activity Display on the HMC displays the current total power consumption in Kilowatts, Btu/hour and input temperature
  • zPower estimation tool : this tool that you can find on Resource Link gives the estimated power requirements based on a given machine model, memory and I/O configuration.
What did I skip so far : some Security, HMC, Support Element and z/VM enhancements.

Exclusive to z9 BC
  • Enhancement to z9 BC Capacity Backup Upgrade (CBU) : "the z9 BC Model R07 will allow CBU to all S07 capacity settings" ! ! !
  • A new FICON Express4 SX card with 2 channels
  • A new Crypto Express2 card with 1 port
This is were the part of the specialty engines start. A preview is something that will be announced in the near future. It's stronger than a Statement of Direction that can still be recalled at any time. This preview plans the use of the zIIP for IPSec processing. "The new zIIP Assisted IPSec function is designed to move most of the IPSec processing from general-purpose processors to the zIIPs. In addition to performing eligible encryption processing, the zIIP will also handle cryptographic validation of message integrity, and IPSec header processing". This should be available in August. Mind you : only from z/OS 1.8 onwards.

Statements of Direction
  • Support for System Storage TS3400 Tape Library : "IBM plans to enhance the System Storage TS3400 Tape Library by adding autoloader support for the library with System z (...) . IBM plans to support system-managed encryption in a System z environment with the TS3400".
  • z/OS XML enablement for zIIP and zAAP : IBM introduced z/OS XML, a system-level XML parser as integrated part of the z/OS base in z/OS V1.8. IBM intends to enable the z/OS XML component to take advantage of the zIIP and the zAAP. There are slight differences. An example : z/OS XML parsing executing in TCB mode will be redirected to the zAAP.
    IBM also speaks of additional future enhancements for the zAAP extending zAAP exploitation to XML validating parsing as well.
Well, that's all for the moment. I'll surely come back with more details and (links to) additonal information on some of these items.


Rick Molera said...

Great stuff! Most technical "z" site I've seen - Very impressive, indeed. Thank you very much!

R. Molera
Senior zDB2 Engineer - U.S.A.

Marc W. said...

Thanks for your kind reply !