Friday, November 30, 2007

Sampling Techdocs : October - November

It's been a while since I had another look at Techdocs, so here we go again for October and November. You know it's just a sample of articles I personally find interesting. As you also know, there's much more over there.
  • Presentation : z/OS Communications Server IPSec (IP Security)
    I made a round-up of the specialty engines in the Dolmen System z newsletter a couple of weeks ago and of course the zIIP assisted IPSEC functions were covered too. This is an "introduction to z/OS Communications Server TCP/IP IPSec support. IPSec services include IP filtering, key exchange, and support for manual and dynamic Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels".
  • Presentation : IMS Version 10 Database and DBRC Enhancements
    "IMS Version 10 adds many enhancements for users of IMS databases and DBRC. This presentation explains the new capabilities. These include the integration of FlashCopy into the image copy process, the exploitation of larger processors by Fast Path systems, the use of XQuery with IMS databases to find data within XML documents, (...) and other extensions to IMS".
  • Presentation : IMS Version 10 Migration Planning
    I guess it's not so unusual to find more than one IMS document in Techdocs for the moment. And this is a nice and quite detailed presentation on migrating Version 8 or 9 systems to IMS version 10 covering Prerequisites and Coexistence, Installation and Migration Tasks, Migration Considerations, IMS Library . . .
  • White Paper : Overview of IBM® TS1120 Tape Controller Support for TS3400 Tape Library
    Since the 3592 Tape Drives were introduced, no autoloader functions had been available. This is one good reason for using the relatively small TS3400 library with its 18 cartridges and its two TS1120 tape drives. The "white paper describes the use of the TS3400 Tape Library to provide functions similar to 3590 Autoloaders in the System z environment". It's very readable with lots of examples of the GUI interface too.
As I always say : just check them out !

Friday, November 23, 2007

Life in the Data Center #3

I don't know how I missed this one earlier, but here's another Youtube movie on 'Life in the Data Center". It seems to be posted six months ago, but it has only 151 views at this moment : a tenth of the two other movies. So I guess it was added just recently and the date is wrong.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Storage Administration z/OS Pocket Reference 1.8

I got to know this Pocket Reference of DTS software from one of Cheryl Watsons 'Hot Flashes'. Every system engineer dealing with any aspect of Storage Administration will find this reference useful. It's amazing how many useful information you can stack in a 30-page document. Some of the aspects covered : DASD Device information, Volume Mounting and Usage, Blocksizes and Capacities, Dataset Limits, DFSMSdss and DFSMShsm information, useful Console Commands, RACF information, VSAM/IDCAMS information, SMS subsystem information, SYS1 Parmlib members and many more.
I know most of this stuff can easily be found on the internet as well, but I still can imagine some situations where this pocket reference might come in handy ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

IMS and VirtualIMS

IMS V10 was announced at the beginning of last month and I would like to share some resources connected to this announcement.

First of all there's VirtualIMS, an initiative of Trevor Eddolls from Mainframe Update who is setting up an IMS community virtual user group : "IMS is used at 95% of the Fortune 1000 companies and has been around for 40 years (...). There doesn't seem to be very much by way of resources for IMS people and I'm hoping this new site will fill in the gaps. It's going to be a virtual user group. I'm planning to organize webinars and an e-newsletter. There's a discussion forum and a place for jobs and resumes. I've also got links to news, articles, events, and other IMS-related resources". You can find all the details of this promising initiative at his blog or on the VirtualIMS site itself.

Also the new CCR2 Newsletter is paying attention the the new version of IMS with a special issue dedicated to it : "This special issue of CCR2™ focuses on IMS™ and the world of Information Technology, which has changed so dramatically since the first IMS-ready message for the Apollo Space program appeared almost 40 years ago. Today, IMS is everywhere, behind the scenes whether you are flipping a light switch or a train switch, tracking a package or moving an assembly line, using your ATM card or conducting international trades. Read on for the latest on IMS technology, firsthand from the experts". Some topics :
As always there's also a great interview clearly picturing the value of this new version.

Next on the list is a new Redbook (still a draft for the moment) : IMS Version 10 Implementation Guide A Technical Overview. Topics covered are : Overview of IMS Version 10 enhancements, System enhancements, Database enhancements, Transaction Manager enhancements, Manageability enhancements, Dynamic Resource Definition, DBRC enhancements, Connectivity enhancements, Integration enhancements, Installation and migration considerations and Tools support for IMS Version 10.

Next to that there surely will be (or have been) some webcasts and teleconferences on the subject.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

BT : Upcoming events Belgium

As you noticed in a previous post I'm using the 'BT' in the title to refer to an exclusive 'Belgian Topic' content. I would like to point out some interesting upcoming events towards the end of this year.

21/11/2007 GSE Working Group
GSE z/OS Working Group Meeting at Dolmen CA Huizingen
  • z/OS System REXX and REXX SDSF - by Jan Tits (IBM)
  • IBM consolidates 3900 servers to Mainframes - by Jean-Paul Goemaere (IBM)
  • IBM Tape recent updates - by Walter Casteels (IBM)
  • GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager at KBC - by Luc Martens & Paul Nys (KBC)

04-05/12/2007 Proof of Technology
Security Management with Tivoli zSecure at the Brussels IBM Forum
This is a two day Proof of Technology about the former Consul Suite now called Tivoli zSecure : " Security administrators face serious challenges in protecting the company’s sensitive data. IT staff are challenged to provide detailed audit and controls documentation (...) That’s where the IBM Tivoli® zSecure suite comes in. You will experience how this comprehensive suite can help enhance the security of mainframe systems by automating administration and audit processes —and ease the burden of compliance measures along the way". Topics covered are zSecure Alert, zSecure Audit, zSecure Admin, zSecure Command Verifier, zSecure Visual and zSecure CICSToolkit.

/12/2007 GSE Working Group
GSE IMS/DB2 Working Group Meeting at KBC Leuven

  • Introduction
  • Replacement of SMU security @ KBC (Johan Vanermen, KBC group)
  • Business Integration of your IMS assets (Hélène Lyon, IBM )
  • Presentation given by BMC Software (more info later)
I already mentioned the following last two events in my previous post.
But now there's a link to register for the z/OS University.

26-30/11/2007 z/OS University
z/OS University at the Brussels IBM Forum
The z/OS University in Brussels (free of charge) is a great opportunity to introduce young people or people with no experience on the mainframe to the z/OS platform. The 5-day course is based on the 'Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics'.

03-07/12/2007 ITSO Workshops
ITSO workshops at the Brussels IBM Forum

These workshops are given by the top specialists for each subject. It's each time a one day workshop with the following subjects : z/OS 1.9, Parallel Sysplex, System z Hardware, System z Security and System z Networking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DB2 server for VSE an VM V7.5

I don't know why because I should know better by now but I still feel disappointed by this announcement ... again. DB2 has evolved enormously the last couple of years, that is DB2 for Windows, Linux, Unix and z/OS. Not so for DB2 for VSE and VM. I don't know whether I have many readers who are familiar with the z/OS ànd the VM/VSE versions of DB2. I know this is arguable but regarding functionality I tend to compare DB2 V7 for VM/VSE with DB2 V3 for z/OS. As far as I remember, DB2 V3 for z/OS was not a very favourable version as many customers went straight from V2.3 (via V3) to V4. Unfortunately V7 for VM/VSE is the latest version with (as we see now) no immediate improvement in sight. To show you what I mean here's the 'At a Glance' section from both the V7.4 announcement :

IBM DB2 Server for VSE and VM V7.4 delivers a solid base on which businesses can build on demand solutions.

  • Newly designed Data Propagator Q Capture function delivers powerful relational database that enables business intelligence solutions
  • Two-tier and three-tier solutions available
  • Scalable and highly available for demanding 24 x 7 environment
  • Member of DB2 family of products, which is available on all major platforms in the industry

Planned availability date: September 17, 2004

and the V7.5 announcement :

IBM DB2 Server for VSE and VM V7.5 delivers a solid base on which businesses can build on demand solutions. New in V7.5:

  • Newly designed client only feature enables you to buy just the Client Edition of the product.
  • Two-tier and three-tier solutions available.
  • Scalable and very available for demanding 24 x 7 environment.
  • Member of DB2 family of products, which is available on all major platforms in the industry.

Planned availability date: November 30, 2007

Not that many new features for a new release after more than 3 years !
As far as I can see the only significant new feature for this release is the new DB2 Runtime only Client editions for VM and VSE features. With these "you can purchase and use only the DB2 client, without having to pay for the database server. The Client Edition comes with some enhanced features such as bind file support and reduced Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) code path length, that will help them connect to data servers with greater ease and better performance". I think this message is loud and clear : move away from DB2 server for VM/VSE towards "data servers with greater ease and better performance" (mainly pointing towards DB2 for zLinux) and just run a client version on VM/VSE to preserve your previous investments on the platform.
Correct me if I'm wrong !

IBM to acquire Cognos

When I google on 'IBM to acquire Cognos', the first link I get dates from July 17, 2006. It's an article in IT-Week from James Murray : 'Will IBM acquire Cognos ?' saying "IBM has a gaping hole in its portfolio that is crying out to be filled by a business intelligence specialist". According to him not SAS, Business Objects or Hyperion but "an IBM-Cognos merger could make a lot of sense".
Well, things have indeed been moving since. Oracle took over Hyperion Solutions in March and SAP acquired Business Objects last month. Now IBM and Cognos made the following announcement : 'IBM to Acquire Cognos to Accelerate Information on Demand Business Initiative'. A quote from the announcement :
"Cognos provides the only complete BI and performance management platform, fully integrated on an open-standards-based service oriented architecture (SOA), and has a strong history of supporting heterogeneous application environments, consistent with IBM’s approach. With Cognos, customers can turn data into actionable insight for coordinated, information-driven decision-making to improve overall performance. Cognos will also extend IBM’s reach further into the CFO office with powerful financial planning and consolidation capabilities.
Together, IBM and Cognos will expand IBM’s ability to provide customers with the right information they need when they need it, to optimize operational performance, and to quickly respond to changing market demands. The combination of IBM’s information management technology and Cognos will also help organizations discover new ways to use trusted information spread across their enterprises to identify new business opportunities and significantly reduce the expense and time required to address industry-specific business challenges".
There's a FAQ on the acquisition on the IBM page. More information on the Cognos products can be found on the Cognos products overview page.

Friday, November 2, 2007

No posts for a couple of days

Well, I'm taking a break. Yesterday was All Saints' Day, today I'm making the bridge and I'm taking some extra days next week. So my next post won't be before Monday November 12, 2007.

You've already noticed I don't leave you stranded entirely when I'm off for a couple of days. This time no movies from Youtube, but this little game that was conceived by some CA people (I guess) : the Mainframe Guru. You've tested your IQ . . . and your EQ now it's time to test your MQ (Mainframe Quotient). Try to outwit your colleagues and feel free to drop in a comment with your scores. Mine was 1200 the first time I played it, but the high-score is over 3000 !?

I have to thank Marcel den Hartog (CA) for referring to this little game in his very nice presentation he gave at a combined CICS/DB2 GSE meeting. You can find his presentation '10 reasons to fall in Love with the Mainframe' over here, along with some other nice presentations and customer stories on the topic of rethinking the role of the mainframe. More holiday reading !
Just check them out !