Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Another eventful year's gone and we're on the verge of a new one. I'm off for a couple of days now, but if you're eager for some lecture, my 2008 Year Review is still there.

We don't know what 2009 will bring us but I surely wish every one the best for 2009 : A Happy New Year and good health to you and your family.

New Year Graphics

Thanks to all my readers for stopping by so regularly, to other bloggers for linking to me and to all those who gave me great feedback during 2008.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some movies - Part 4

OK, here's the last one in the series. In fact it's a series of iSeries commercials, but specifically the first one reminds me of commercials I posted earlier : 'The Heist' and 'Taking back control with the mainframe'. It stays funny though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking back on 2008 - Year Review

Already my second year review. On the one hand it’s as though I only made the previous one yesterday. On the other hand, when I read it again, I realize how much of it I’d already completely forgotten. Or some things just fade away. I must admit I haven’t been on Second Life ever since.

In January the acquisition of Cognos becomes a fact. We'll see the realisation of this during the year with products like 'Cognos 8 Business Intelligence for Linux on System z'. There was also an interesting Share Market Review indicating that mainframe data and applications are not all that closely cooperating with distributed environments as we might sometimes tend to believe. I was also the month we saw the first z890 on eBay !

February brought us the Arcati Yearbook, but the main event was of course the announcement of the z10 EC, which we covered extensively over here and in the RealDolmen System z Newsletter. There's too much to summarize in a couple of words but there's e.g. the much faster processor, the introduction of the InfiniBand technology, the improved RAS . . . If you want to download the wallpaper I made for the occasion, it's over here.
At the same moment, there's a first announcement for the DS8000 as well with Extended Distance Ficon and Extended Address Volumes (EAV) which will be implemented with z/OS 1.10.
Another interesting announcement was that of Basic HyperSwap, you might say, the GDPS HyperSwap possibilities reduced to its essentials with a single site, IBM Storage and z/OS exclusive implementation.

For the first time in March, IBM announced a reduction in the price of z9 BC memory. We'll see that when the z10 BC is announced, there's even a further price reduction when the memory is bought in combination with a specialty engine.

In April IBM announces a new pricing metric for Websphere : 'Getting Started Sub-capacity Pricing'. It's intended for those who want to get started with small projects without immediately having to pay a lot. I must admit I haven't heard anything about it, since.

Some z10 EC elements only became available in May like e.g. OSA-Express3, the InfiniBand Coupling links and the Balanced Power Plan Ahead.
It was also in May that suddenly every one seemed to start focussing on specialty engines (especially the zIIP) and how to save money with them. I also made a list of ISVs supporting the zIIP at that moment. And I still think we've now reached some kind of turning point for many customers. So you really should start considering or re-considering whether specialty engines are also something for you.

In June DB2 turns 25. So it's older than many young people who are just starting out their careers on mainframe. Current version by now should be DB2 V8 as DB2 V7 is also going out of support this very month.

IBM took over PSI in July. Lots of people are quite unhappy with this as the 'mainframe emulation' territory seems to become a barren desert.
In July, we also saw the new TS1130 Tape Drive with faster throughput (160MB/sec) and larger tapes of up to 1GB (uncompressed).

In August there were quite a lot of announcements from IBM. The DS8000 is definitely here to stay for a while. We see the introduction of Raid-6, 450 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel Disk Drives, Variable LPARs ...
New Operating systems are announced : z/OS 1.10, z/VM 5.4 and z/VSE 4.2 and we first hear of IBM CICS Explorer, the new face of CICS.
And there's more, the TS3500 library gets new, driveless frames with at least 2,5 times the capacity of former frames due to a new tiered cell structure.

September started with a new challenge for my company as Dolmen and Real Software merged into NV RealDolmen.
There was also the pre-announcement of IMS V11. So don't tell us IMS isn't alive and kicking or as we read in the Mainframe Update blog : 'IMS - still life in the old dog !'.
For the DS8000 and DS6000, the 500GB FATA disks are put to rest, the replacement coming in 2009 with 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA disk drives.

In October, the main event was of course the announcement of the z10 BC (and z10 EC GA2). No announcements last year, two announcements this year. The z10 is "smart, cool and affordable". Again we have the faster processor. We also leave the 2-model approach of the z9 BC behind. Other new features are new OSA-Express3 cards and the zHPF feature - once again improving the FICON performance.
There are also some important tape storage announcements in October. The current Virtualization Engine (TS7740) can be upgraded with additional cache drawers going from 6TB to 9TB of cache. There are also new models which will have up to 14TB of cache. And, you no longer need a separate frame for the Library Manager. But there's more : there's also a new, disk-only Virtualization Engine (TS7720) that can have 70TB of uncompressed data.

November. Oh yes, there were wallpapers for the z10 BC, too. And we had a webcast on the new IBM CICS Explorer. 'The Master Terminal', a new blog since March 2008 from the Hursley people, gives us the links to the necessary SupportPacs.

For December, there's not that much to mention. In October CA announced support for the zIIP for IDMS and Datacom and there was a webcast on it this month. And if anything drew a lot of attention this year, it's definitely the specialty engines. The list of zIIP uses is growing and IBM itself put the IFL in the spotlight with its own Project Big Green. I think this, combined with the New Enterprise Data Center (NEDC) will surely be one of the spearpoints of IBM's strategy for 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Linux Installation Planning

I told you about the zJournal Spotlights before. They're extra editions focusing on specific subjects like CICS, DB2, z/OS, WebSphere etc. You can subscribe to them over here.
Well I just received the 'Linux on System z Spotlight' and I must say it publishes two excellent articles anyone taking up an interest on zLinux should definitely read.
The first one is 'Linux Installation Planning' by Mark Post and it gives a splendid introduction to anyone planning to install his/her first linux on System z. The topics covered :
  • First Things First
  • Pick the Right Architecture
  • Disk Storage Selection
  • Application Selection
  • Application Requirements
  • File System Selection
  • File System Layout
  • Backup and Restore
  • Network Requirements
  • Ongoing System Support
  • Management Tools
  • Data for Installation
The second one is 'Linux on z/VM: Configure for Performance' by Barton Robinson. Starting point is that people may have experience on performance tuning for z/OS or z/VM, but many 'rules of thumb' just don't apply to Linux on System z performance. So you have to reevaluate some of those. The article focuses on three areas : memory, Linux configuration and z/VM configuration. Some topics covered :
  • Configuring Storage
  • Memory Considerations
  • z/VM Storage Architecture Issues
  • Network Storage Impact
  • Minimizing Linux Storage
  • Linux Swap Options
  • How Many Virtual Processors?
As I always say : just check them out !

Friday, December 19, 2008

Some movies - Part 2 - Revenge of the mainframe

You must have noticed there's not that much news towards this year's end. Still, keep stopping by : I still have some nice videos coming up and I'm going to post my '2008 Year Review' next week.

Here's a video with another enthusiastic speaker : "remember we're back and we're ready to rule" !

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

IBM System Storage VTF Mainframe V3

The announcement of this product dates from a couple of weeks ago and the software was completely new to me, so it suprised me to see it was actually already on Version 3 : 'IBM System Storage VTF Mainframe V3 -- a z/OS software virtualization platform that delivers industry-unique functionality (ZP08-0605)'. Here's the overview of the announcement :
"IBM System Storage VTF Mainframe provides a virtual tape alternative for many System z® users. It is compatible with and integrates within existing IBM and IBM compatible System z tape environments, delivering a high performance yet low cost tape virtualization strategy.

By storing its virtual tapes on standard System z disk, VTF Mainframe (VTFM) adds device independence to batch tape processing and enhances disaster recovery by providing tape data with the same resiliency features as IBM System z disk products.

VTFM provides Parallel Access Tape (PAT) support. PAT enables multiple, simultaneous read accesses to virtual tape volumes. z/OS does not support multiple, simultaneous read accesses to a physical tape volume".
Am I not confusing with CA vTape now ? No. When you take a look at this spreadsheet, it becomes a lot clearer. IBM took over Diligent this year and of course most attention went to the de-duplication technology of that company. But, as you see, they also had this VTF Mainframe (Virtual Tape Facility for Mainframe Systems) in their portfolio. It's now commercialized as IBM IPLA software and it became available on December 5, 2008.

Some more information ? There's a User Guide over here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

IBM Systems Magazine - Digital Edition

I mentioned the IBM Systems Magazine before and now I've received a mail that there will be a free digital edition from January, 2009 onwards. When you subscribe, you'll see that American and Canadian readers can also obtain a printed version.

There will be six issues per year and you can view a sample over here. You can subscribe via the same page. I must add the sample is nothing more than that. It gives an idea of the layout, but the articles mentioned on the contents page are not even entirely published. Luckily you can find the complete versions of the articles on the site itself.

And I do hope we'll get a plain and simple .pdf version of it as I must admit I don't like this kind of flash animated, online editions. But there's a print button and there's software like the open source pdfcreator, that can help us out here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some movies - Part 1

Last year I gave you some funny Youtube movies at the closing of the year. They're still there if you want to have a look. My favourite is still the 'Helpdesk support in the Middle Ages'. By the way, there's also a Star Wars Helpdesk movie, but to me it's not as good.
Well, I thought I might take a different angle this year and give you one movie every Friday from now on. So, if you cannot access Youtube at work, you can take a look during the weekend. They don't necessarily have to be funny. I just came across them this year, but for some or other reason I just didn't come to posting them.
I'm starting off with a two year old one on disk innovation. You just have to love the enthusiasm of the speaker. Sometimes it's almost like poetry :
"So turn it up and play it loud
Meet the ground-breakers
The movers and shakers
The action takers
The innovators
Dedicated to bringing you another 50 years of
Mind-blowing innovation that matters . . . from IBM"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RMF The Latest and Greatest

I just came across this new presentation about RMF on the presentation page of the z/OS RMF web page : 'RMF - The Latest and the Greatest (z/OS v1.9 -z/OS v1.10)'. It gives a nice overview of recent enhancements. There's information on System z10 Support like e.g. HiperDispatch. There are some sample charts explaining how to analyze the possible benefits of HiperDispatch. There are also additional fields documenting CBU and OOCoD enhancements and Large Page Support.
Next to that, XCF reporting has been extended by the detection of bottlenecks on system and TC level and by the identification of path contention. There's also information on the reporting of System Locking Activities and on Blocked Workload Analysis.
If you want to have a graphical, front-end interface for all this, you might want to try the RMF Spreadsheet Reporter V5 for Windows. You can download it over here, and there's a presentation of it over here. A short description of the Spreadsheet Reporter :
"The RMF Spreadsheet Reporter serves as a front-end to the RMF postprocessor on your z/OS system. With its graphics capabilities, RMF Spreadsheet Reporter allows you to analyze z/OS performance data through powerful graphical charts — right from your workstation.
The new interface: resource oriented
Version 5 is a major revision of the RMF Spreadsheet Reporter, which was originally introduced in 1997. In Version 5, the task flow of the previous versions is replaced by an intuitive resource-oriented interface".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mainframe Talk

Every four months I'm also writing our RealDolmen System z Newsletter. It was on one of those occasions I realized again we really use some funny language. The person rewiewing my text asked what I meant by 'IPL-ing', pronouncing it as ipling (one word). So I told the person it was actually IPL-ing (eye pee el - ing) the system and it was like 'booting' the system. So the person asked me why I didn't use the term 'booting' so that every one would understand what I was talking about. Sounds logical, no ? I was shocked (ok, exaggerating a bit), you don't boot a mainframe, you IPL it.
I was reminded of this when I read a post by Reg Harbeck on the CA mainframe blog : 'How to talk like a mainframer'. Here's one example I really like : "Then there's DASD, pronounced "dazz dee" by mainframers, "disk" by non-mainframers". Just take a look, you'll like it. And is it really true the DFH of CICS (see eye see ess or kicks) stands for 'Don't Forget Hursley' ?
And talking about mainframe jargon, here's another page you should take a look at allthough I think most people already know it : 'You know you're a mainframer if ...'.
Have fun !

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Webcast : a VSE perspective of the System z10 BC

I know it's a bit short notice but here's another interesting webcast : 'Smart, Cool, Affordable - A VSE Perspective of the IBM System z10 Business Class'.
"This webcast will provide an overview of the new z10 BC announced October 21, 2008 for z/VSE users. It will highlight why this server is the affordable choice that delivers more value than previous midrange servers and new technology that is the smart choice. IBM's new mainframe aims to assist midsize companies to jumpstart new application development efforts; consolidate IT servers; and give organizations a platform to build the mainframe as the foundation of their new enterprise data center".
Date : Thursday, December 4, 2008.
Time: 16.00 UK, 17.00 CET (Brussels)
Duration: 75 Minutes

You can register via the VSE website. The session will be recorded and a replay will be available on December 6, 2008 on the same site.

CA IDMS r17 zIIP Feature Webcast

CA was one of the first ISVs to announce support for the zIIP. Now they also announced that IDMS R17 will support it. You can e.g. take a look over here. you'll see that also Datacom is mentioned.
If you want to be brought up to date, there's a webcast next week on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 11.00 EST or 17.00 in Brussels (CET).
"This webcast will explain how portions of all typical CA IDMS production workloads — including those generated by online transaction systems, batch processing jobs and distributed platform requests — can exploit zIIP capacity to offload processing to deliver greater capacity with lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)".
All details and registration over here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Trekkies or Trexxers ?

The site I want to draw your attention to is The title looked a bit confusing to me until I took a look at the site.

Of course, it's T-Rexxers. It's set up as a new community site for all mainframers : " is your source for information, inquiry and debate. This is not just a website. It’s an interactive community that thrives on the contributions of mainframers across the globe". There's lots of stuff : news, a library, links, a forum, an exhaustive calendar etc. If it's kept up to date regularly, this might become a new reference site for us.

As I always say : Just check it out !

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sampling Techdocs : October - November 2008

Hello, here we go again for another round of interesting material from TechDocs.
  • White Paper : Migrating to WebSphere z/OS V7
    Here's an 87-page document on migrating to WebSphere Application Server for z/OS Version 7. The document starts with the big picture and some Frequently Asked Questions on timing, common problems and gotchas etc. It further describes "the process involves planning the migration, customizing the migration jobs using the MMT tool, and submitting the jobs to perform the migration".

  • Technical Documents : WebSphere for z/OS - Version 7.0 Handouts for WBSR7 Wildfire Workshop
    Next to this, here's a collection of updated presentations and Hands-on labs on Websphere 7 for the wildfire workshops. Topics covered : Overview, Using the Spreadsheet and WCT to build a Deployment Manager, Adding a Managed Node, a Server and Clustering, Accessing Data (JDBC, JCA and Messaging) and New V7 Functionality -- the "zDiff" Items.

  • Technical Document : WLM Workload Analysis Using RMF
    "Even if you have been running in goal mode for a long period of time and everything has been executing well, there are many changes that may trigger a need for reviewing and modifying goals set in the policy". This document explains the use of RMF (RMF Monitor III and the RMF postprocessor) and what to look for when e.g. service class goals are not met.

  • Technical Document : z/OS 1.10 Installation Plan Checklist
    Betty Brody publishes this "z/OS 1.10 Installation Plan checklist for installing and migrating to z/OS 1.10 from a previous z/OS release. To be used as a supplement to existing product publications".

  • Technical Document : System z and zSeries I/O Feature Reference Table
    This is a really nice document : which connectivity (OSA-Express, Ficon, ISC) is used on which server ? I've immediately printed it out as this will surely come in handy !
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Alert : Potential outage on multiple z/OS LPARs when installing z10 Driver 73 MCL006

This Red Alert just arrived in my mail box.

"Potential outage on multiple z/OS LPARs when installing z10 Driver 73 MCL006 if fix for APAR OA23230 not installed. Outage may occur due to storage overlay on all z/OS LPARs when WLM Group Capacity is active and LPARS are dynamically added to the z10 processor".

You can read the entire description over here.

Recommended action
"z/OS 1.8 and z/OS 1.9 users with WLM Group Capacity active on z10 should apply the PTFs for HIPER APAR OA23230. PTFs UA39601 (R730) and UA39602 (R740) are available on RSU0803. This fix needs to be applied before dynamically adding any LPARs or installing MCL006. An alternative circumvention is to turn off group capacity until the PTF is installed".

Here's an Overview of all Red Alerts. You can also subscribe to the Red Alerts on the same page.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Enhanced Virtualization with z/VM

It's been a while since I put up some videos, but on the z/VM Listserv Discussion List Lionel B. Dyck and Bill Munson pointed out these two videos on z/VM and Virtualization.
Especially the reference story on the Marist College gives you great arguments on why z/VM really is the best platform for Virtualization. Just have a look at them !

Enhanced Virtualization

Marist College Client Reference

For those not able to reach Youtube due to company policies, you can find the Marist Video on IBM TV too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager Trial

Last week IBM announced a new release of IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager for Linux on System z V4.1, an IBM Systems Director plug-in (ZG08-0512). Here's the overview from the announcement :
"IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager V4.1 software, an IBM Systems Director plug-in, is available on Linux on Power, Linux on System x, Linux on System z, AIX, and Microsoft Windows to help you monitor and manage the power and thermal usage of your IT environment. AEM is a unique energy management software tool that can provide a single view of the actual power usage across systems in your infrastructure as opposed to the benchmarked power consumption.

The main new features in this release are:
  • Web-based user interface requiring only a browser
  • Soft power capping
  • Energy thresholding
  • Group capping
  • Integration with Emerson-Liebert's SiteScan management application
  • Additional power savings modes
  • Support for non-IBM hardware (PDU and UPS) as documented in the product library
  • Command-line interface support"
There's also a IBM web page on IBM Systems Director and one specific page on the Active Energy Manager. And now here's the interesting part of that page : it mentions a 60-day trial of Active Energy Manager.
"Take the opportunity to see for yourself for 60 days how this solution will enable you to identify, monitor, measure, and manage energy consumption across your organization, right down to the system, chassis, or rack level. Once the trial ends, you can continue to use the monitoring functions — such as power trending, thermal trending, and PDU+ support — at no charge. For continued use of the management functions beyond the 60-day trial, the offering must be purchased".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2009 Survey

I've already mentioned the Arcati Yearbook a couple of times, just because it's a great source of information for us, mainframers. The one item I'm always looking at first is the annual survey of the worldwide mainframe landscape.

To make this survey possible, Arcati needs to have as many input as possible from mainframe users. That's why they're asking you to fill out the user survey at the Arcati site. All company information is treated as confidential and is not shared with any third party. So why not fill it out ?
You'll then receive a copy of the Arcati Yearbook as soon as it gets out.

By the way, you can still download the Arcati 2008 yearbook over here.

If you want more information on the survey, you can go to the Arcati Survey page or look at the info on Trevor Eddoll's Mainframe Update blog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Webcast : IBM CICS Explorer - The new face of CICS

Update : the replay of the webcast is available over here. Just go via the 'Register here' link.

Just wanted to draw your attention to this webcast I mentioned some time ago.
What's it about ?

"For nearly 40 years, CICS has been a leader in transaction processing, and, in conjunction with z/OS® and DB2®, has delivered levels of performance, availability and security that are hard to match. To prepare for the future and address these modern challenges, CICS will be making yet another significant contribution: reducing the skills barrier to the development of CICS applications and the management of CICS systems.

Join us for this complimentary webcast to learn about a new user interface, the IBM CICS Explorer. It will give architects, developers, system programmers and administrators a common tooling environment, with integrated access to a wide range of data and control capabilities delivered by CICS Transaction Server, CICS Tools and CICS Connectors, plus other IBM and third-party software products."

You can register over here.
When : 11 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, 4:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time, 5:00 p.m. Brussels

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

z10 BC Wallpapers

I'm not going to bother our American friends too much today as they have other serious decisions to make. So here are some wallpapers from IBM on the z10 BC. There's each time one for 'normal' screens and one for widescreens. Just click on the picture to open the full size wallpaper in a new window.

Well, which one will you choose ?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V3.8

Yesterday, IBM announced PL/I V3.8 : 'IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V3.8 delivers performance improvements and usability enhancements (ZP08-0536)'. It will become available on October 31, 2008 and here's a summary of the new features :
  • Hardware exploitation including support for z10 architecture
  • Performance improvements
  • Support for XML System Services
  • Improved SQL support
  • Numerous new built-in functions
  • Numerous user requirements
However, I would like to draw your attention to something else : just like with Cobol V4 I talked about earlier, this is from now on a compiler only version. Formerly there was an 'alternate' compiler only version and a 'full' version including debugging facilities. I you still want to use the debugging capabilites that were in the full version, IBM suggests you order the 'Debug Tools for z/OS V 9.1 (ZP08-0421)'.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    October 2008 Announcements : Disk Storage

    Here's my last of four posts on the IBM announcements of last week. I've already discussed most of the really new stuff like e.g. zHPF (High Performance FICON for System z). So here's a summary.

    The DS6000 follows the DS8000 regarding old and new harddrives. The 73GB disks will be withdrawn from marketing as of March 27, 2009 (ZG08-0890). But, don't worry, just like on the DS8000, new 450GB 15k rpm disks are available on November 21, 2008 (ZG08-0911). But, what should be really nice about this, is that there seems to be no performance loss as compared to the 300GB disks, on the contrary. Tony Pearson mentions this on his 'Inside System Storage' blog. Just look at the graph he's including in this post. And, by the way, if you want to follow the IBM Storage scene closely, be sure to check out his blog regularly !

    On to the DS8000 : Here we have announcements for zHPF and RMZ resync (z/OS Metro/Global Mirror Incremental Resync). I would really want to refer once more to Tony Pearsons post as he really has a very intelligible description of the two features. To make things easy for those who want to read the announcements, there're four of them, two for each DS8000 machine type. For the 2107 : ZG08-0905 and ZG08-0907. For the 242x series : ZG08-0906 and ZG08-0908.

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    October 2008 Announcements : Tape Storage

    This week we also had our share of Storage Announcements. Some are in line with the expectations, others are completely new. I’ll start by giving you the information on the Tape Storage announcements in this post. They focus on the TS7700 Virtualization Engine.
    Here are the two announcements :
    The Virtualization Engine (TS7740) does no longer need the separate 3953 Tape Library frame with the Library Manager, the System Console and the switches to connect the Virtualization engine with the drives. There is now an ‘Integrated Library Manager’. It’s integrated into the TS7700 frame along with its associated components. You still need the 3953 Tape Library frame when you want to connect drives natively to the mainframe via a 3592-C06 controller.

    The current Virtualization Engine gets a cache expansion with 2 additional CX6 cache expansion drawers. You can now have one cache controller (CC6) and 5 cache drawers (CX6) of 1,5TB giving you a maximum capacity of 9TB. This will be available in 2009Q1.
    However when you order a new Virtualization Engine, it will come with new models of cache. The new cache controller (3956 Model CC7) and the new Cache Expansions (3956 Model CX7) have 16 300GB 15k rpm fiber channel Hard Drives. This gives us approximately 3.43TB usable capacity (after RAID and spares). For the moment you can have one controller and three expansions providing a maximum capacity of nearly 14TB. These new models cannot be intermixed with the current CC6 controller.

    The first announcement (ZG08-0851) also adds a completely new storage component to the IBM System Storage offerings. It’s the TS7720 Disk-Only Virtualization Engine for mainframe. The TS7720 Virtualization Engine gives you the same functionalities and benefits as the TS7740 Virtualization Engine, but without the attachment to physical tapes. The setup and configuration are the same as with the TS7740 and there’s support for z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE and z/TPF.
    As nothing is written to physical tape, this asks for a larger cache. So you can have 40TB or 70TB of usable, non-compressed capacity. The disks are 1TB Raid-6 SATA drives.

    Other features
    • Four 4Gbps FICON interfaces
    • 256 virtual tape devices
    • Maximum of 1.000.000 logical volumes
    • Logical volume sizes up to 4.000MB
    • Stand-alone or Grid configuration (two and three site configurations)
    • Intermix "of full TS7740s with TS7720s is not supported at this time".

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    z10 BC (part 2) and z10 EC GA2

    In my previous post I discussed the new functionalities for the System z10 BC. As part two of the z10 BC announcement I’m going to comment on some of the features that are announced simultaneously for the z10 BC (‘IBM System z10 Business Class - The smart choice for your business. z can do IT better (ZG08-0806)’) and the z10 EC (‘IBM System z10 Business Class - The smart choice for your business. z can do IT better (ZG08-0843)’. As you’ll notice on the picture below, there’s much more than what I can discuss in one post, so I guess I’ll talk about some of the other features in the near future.

    Click on image for larger version in new window

    With the z10 EC we saw the first announcement of one OSA-Express3 card (10GBe). The range of OSA-Express3 cards has now been largely extended. The cards also have twice as much ports as on the OSA-Express2 cards. This means less CHPIDs, less I/O slots and perhaps less I/O cages (z10 EC) or I/O drawers (z10 BC). An overview :
    • The z10 OSA-Express3 – 10 GbE card is either Long Range (LR) with single mode fiber or Short Range (SR) with multimode fiber. There are 2 ports per card.
    • The z10 OSA-Express3 GbE comes in a Long Wave (LX) and a Short Wave (SX) version. The cards have 4 ports and for the z10 BC there’s a Short Wave (SX) card with 2 ports.
    • The z10 OSA-Express3 1000Base-T card keeps the same functionalities as its predecessor (e.g. OSA Integrated Console Controller). The card has 4 ports and again there’s a 2 port version for the z10 BC.
    Z10 High Performance FICON for System z (zHPF)
    If you thought that the FICON performance wizards had pulled the last trick out of their sleeves with MIDAW, then think again. They now have come up with z10 High Performance FICON (zHPF) in order to substantially reduce channel overhead once again. It is mainly with small block sizes that the performance is largely improved, in other words mainly for online transaction processing.
    It’s only available on the z10 and you have to be at least on z/OS 1.8. There’s a ZHPF=YES/NO parameter in the IECIOSxx member in the SYS1.PARMLIB which has to be activated (default is NO). For the moment it will only work with the DS8000 with R4.1 as it’s the only Control Unit which support this feature for the moment. This DS8000 enhancement was also announced yesterday : IBM System Storage DS8000 series (Machine type 239x) function authorization for zHPF and RMZ resync (ZG08-0908).

    Click on image for larger version in new window

    Capacity on Demand
    ‘Capacity on Demand’ has had many enhancements over the last couple of years. The z10 BC offers the same possibilities as the z10 EC : Capacity Backup (CBU), Capacity for Planned Events (CPE) and On/Off Capacity on Demand (OOCoD). Still some new functionalities are introduced for both systems.

    There’s a whole Redbook describing every variation, but put simply you can order one or more records for each of these offerings. That way, you can have up to 200 records at your disposal on the Support Element. At that moment the records are said to be ‘staged’. In order to be able to actually use them, you have to install them. You can have a maximum of 8 installed records or tokens. This can e.g. be a combination of CBU tokens for CPs, CBU tokens for zIIPs and one token for On/Off CoD. This way of working was already introduced with the z10 EC, but the number of tokens is extended from 4 to 8.

    The major change has to do with the way you are charged for your ‘capacity on demand’. There is no change for CBU and CPE : there’s a hardware charge but no additional software charge. For On/Off CoD you still have hardware as well assoftware charges. So what’s the big difference now ? Well, until now when OOCoD was activated, the charges were calculated according to the number of days it was used. In the new system, this is called ‘Post Paid OOCoD’. Completely new is that you can now also order ‘Pre Paid records’. You buy OOCoD records for a certain capacity in advance e.g. at the same time you order your new z10 BC. When you activate these records afterwards, there’s no payment to be done any more. It’s quite obvious (as opposed to the post-paid records) that these records have no expiration date.

    There’s one other new feature I only come across in the z10 BC announcement : you are entitled to one (1) On/Off CoD Test per server with a maximum duration of 24 hours.

    From now on you can order Plan Ahead Memory. It means that you order more memory than you’ll be needing at this very moment. You pay immediately for the memory that you are actually using and you partially pay for the ‘plan ahead memory’, which you’re not yet using. When this memory is activated, in one or more steps, afterwards, you pay the rest of the charges for it. This can help you plan for nondisruptive memory upgrades.

    The use of PSIFB (Parallel Sysplex using InFiniBand) has also been extended. From now on InfiniBand can also be used as a replacement for ISC-3 links. For the moment it’s exclusively available on the z10 with an unrepeated distance of 10km. Unlike the ISC-3 links, it does not use an I/O slot in the I/O drawer.

    The HiperDispatch feature should have little or no impact with the z10 BC.

    And there’s one other little sentence I’d like to mention that might perhaps slip your attention when browsing through the announcement. Just like on the z10 BC there's a “62% price reduction on memory for z10 EC when purchased after October 21, 2008, and with a specialty engine for new workloads (…) limited to 16GB per specialty engine".

    Availability dates
    October 28, 2008 : z10 EC New Features and functions, STP enhancements on z10 EC
    January 28, 2009 : STP enhancements on z9 EC and z9 BC
    January 28, 2009 : OSA-Express3 1000BASE-T and 10 GbE SR on z10 EC
    January 28, 2009 : HCA2-O LR fanout card for Long Reach 1x InfiniBand on z10 EC
    First Half 2009 : HMC feature #0090 on z10 EC, z9 EC, z9 BC

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    z10 BC : Smart, Cool, Affordable : z Can Do IT

    Today IBM announced the z10 BC : ‘IBM System z10 Business Class - The smart choice for your business. z can do IT better (ZG08-0806)’. Usually there’s a gap of about a year between the announcement of the high-end model (EC) and the midrange model (BC). But everyone seems to know the drill by now. So, as people seemed to be waiting for the z10 BC, it was announced somewhat earlier this time. At the same time there is the GA2 announcement of the z10 EC : ‘IBM System z10 Business Class - The smart choice for your business. z can do IT better (ZG08-0843)’. So, I’ll split my comments into two blog entries. In the first one, I’m going to walk you through the new functionalities and features specific to the z10 BC. In a second blog entry, I’ll talk about the new features that the z10 BC and the z10 EC GA2 haven in common like zHPF, OSA-Express3, new Capacity on Demand features, Plan Ahead memory ...

    Here’s an overview of the new functionalities on the z10 BC :

    Click on images for larger view in new window

    Technical specifications
    The z10 BC is machine type 2098. The BC is just as it’s predecessors a one frame box which is air-cooled. Unlike the z9 BC (with the R07 and S07) there is only one model : the E10. It has 12 PUs of which two are standard SAPs. This leaves us with 10 configurable PUs which can be defined as CP, IFL, ICF, zAAP, zIIP and optionally as additional SAP. When all 10 PUs are configured, there are no spare processors left.
    The minimum requirement for memory of 8GB on the z9 BC has been reduced to 4GB on the z10 BC - 'affordable' remember. This 4GB, however, stands entirely at the disposal of the customer. Just like with the z10 EC, there’s a fixed reserved 8GB of memory for the HSA. The maximum of memory for the customer is 120GB. Halfway 2009 this will be raised to 248GB.
    The processor is a quad-core processor with 3 active cores. The uni-processor reaches 3.5GHz which is 150% faster than its predecessor.
    Upgrades are possible from any z890 or z9 BC. Just beware that upgrades from the z9 BC are only available from November 30, 2008 onwards. You can upgrade from a z890 as of October 28, 2008. When upgrading, do keep in mind that the z10 BC is somewhat higher (7cm) and somewhat deeper (23cm) than the z9 BC.

    From here on, I’m just going to pick out some of the really new elements. I’m not going to come back on the elements which were already introduced with the z10 EC like Hardware Decimal Floating Point, the use of the InfiniBand Technology as replacement for the STIs or as Coupling Links or for the STP, the reserved memory for the HSA... You can read about that in my introduction to the z10 EC.

    One model with larger granularity
    The introduction of two models on the z9 BC seemed a somewhat artificial division. Initially it also had some harsh repercussions on the CBU pricing. As this was changed afterwards, there really was no need for splitting up the machine into two models. So with the z10 BC, we’re back to one model, the z10 BC E10.
    As stated, the z10 BC has 10 configurable PUs of which 5 can be defined as traditional CPs. Every engine has 26 capacity settings, the letters of the alphabet in fact. This brings us to a total of 130 capacity settings ranging from A01 to Z05. The ‘A01’ has one engine with the lowest capacity setting (A), the ‘Z05’ has 5 engines with the highest capacity setting (Z).

    Under the covers : Hot-pluggable I/O drawers and SCM vs MCM

    From the outside you might get the impression that the z10 BC is a copy of the A-frame of the z10 EC. However, under the covers we find a significantly changed design that, for the first time, breaks with the traditional CEC and I/O cages that had not changed since the announcement of the z900 in 2000. We are now talking about hot-pluggable SCMs (vs. MCMs) and hot-pluggable I/O drawers (instead of cages). You really need a picture to get a good view of the differences :

    As you can see, the I/O cage has been replaced by 1 to 4 I/O drawers. Each one contains 8 I/O cards (4 in the front and 4 in the back) and is horizontally placed instead of the former vertical placement. The drawers are hot-pluggable and even concurrent replacement is possible when other cards can take over the I/O load.
    Also the CEC with its book structure has disappeared and is replaced by a processor drawer. Cooling seems to be one of the main reasons to come up with this new design. The processor has become much faster but IBM still wants this machine to be air-cooled. Therefore, the main difference with the z9 BC is that IBM switches from the traditional MCM (Multi-Chip Module) to an SCM (Single Chip Module).

    The PU and SC (System Controller) modules are no longer together on an MCM (as you can see above) but each single chip module is assembled into a heat sink, as you can see below :

    That explains the top sight of the CPC drawer you see in the overall picture with 4 PU SCMs and 2 SC SCMS.

    I you want to take the machine further apart, virtually of course, then there's an online demo over here : just click on the 'Product Demo' tab.

    As we find the other new z10 BC features to a large extent also back in the z10 EC GA2 annoncement, I’ll discuss those in my next post.

    More good news : Some pricing issues
    Just to close up, here are some nice pricing issues :
    • there’s typically still no cost for taking along specialty engines from the z890 or z9 to the z10 BC allthough the engines are once again far more powerfull.
    • the mips-mus ratio (for software pricing) has again been lowered by 10%. Coming from a z890 this gives you a 19% dividend.
    • The maintenance prices have been brought down again.
    • I quote : “50% price reduction on Specialty Engines for System z”10 BC”
    • Quoting again : “62% price reduction on Memory for System z10 BC or EC when purchased after October 21, 2008, and with a Specialty Engine1 for new workloads”
    • Just one more : MSU for the smallest model (z10 BC A01) goes down from 4 to 3 MSU.

    System z10 BC : availability dates
    Z10 BC E10 Announcement : October 21, 2008
    Z10 BC E10 availability : October 28, 2008
    Z10 BC E10 model capacity conversions : January 28, 2009
    Z890 upgrades to z10 BC : October 28, 2008
    Z9 BC upgrades to z10 BC : November 30, 2008
    Z10 BC MES features : January 28, 2009
    Upgrade from z10 BC to z10 EC Model E12 : January 28, 2009
    Memory size maximum up to 248GB: planned for June 30, 2009

    Next posts coming up :
    I'll have another post on z10 BC and z10 EC on their combined new features.
    I'll have a post on the new storage announcements about the TS7720
    As soon as all documentation is available, I'll try to put everything together.

    So thanks for reading my posts and I hope to see you back soon !

    IBM Press Room : Next-Generation Mainframe (z10 BC) and Storage Offerings

    Starting with the press releases IBM is announcing new storage offerings (IBM Unveils Next-Generation Storage Offerings To Help Mainframe Clients) and of course the new z10 BC (IBM Launches Next-Generation Mainframe for Midsize Customers).

    Regarding the storage : highlights according to the press release are first some enhancements to the DS8000 like High Performance FICON for System z and z/OS Metro/Global Mirror Incremental Resync. But the second is perhaps even more interesting : the new TS7720 Virtualization engine. "The TS7720 provides the benefits of the TS7700 Virtualization Engine with the additional flexabilbity of storing up to 70 Terabytes (TB) of data on a disk".

    And then there's of course the z10 BC. There's not much technical detail in the Press Announcement, but don't worry, you'll get plenty of them as soon as the announcements come out. Accents are on server consolidation, performance, energy costs, security ...

    Here's a picture of the new z10 BC from the IBM Press Room :

    In my next posts I'll come back with a lot more details on all announcements that are made today.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008


    zFavorites is a really nice place to start looking for information on System z. You can find many starting pages for hardware and software, product documentation and manuals for any z/OS release, download pages, Redbooks, Linux information etc. Since I was looking for some FAQs I thought I'd take a look over there, but no, only one FAQ on zLinux. So, where can I find them, apart from googling for them ?

    FAQs about mainframe servers and related products
    Here you can find the FAQs about the System z and zSeries hardware (from z890 to z10), the specialty engines, Server Time Protocol, Operating Systems (z/VM 5.4, but also already including one on Lifecycle Extension for z/OS V1.7 FAQ) etc.

    Techdocs FAQs
    Techdocs has a specific FAQs section with lots of specific technical issues on e.g. FICON Directors, the Communications Controller for Linux, TSM and many more.

    Some other FAQs
    Here are some other FAQs spread across the IBM site

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    z/OS Hot Topics Website

    Hey, isn't Hot Topics news an item for February and August, when the Hot Topics Newsletter comes out ? Not any more because now, there's a z/OS Hot Topics Website.

    Here's the comment from the z/OS Hot Topics Newsletter Team :
    Starting now there's no need for you to wait for the next issue to satisfy your craving for z/OS Hot Topics! We've expanded z/OS Hot Topics Online to offer exclusive new articles available only on our Web site! See the Hot Spotlight section for the latest thoughts and musings on z/OS from our magazine's top contributors.

    Right now check out two great articles in the spotlight: Dave Raften's z-the Difference: Sysplex availability and TJ Morrissey's Please DO touch that dial: zFS performance tuning.

    And don't forget to peruse the list of past z/OS Hot Topics newsletters that are full of useful information for the system programmer. We hope you like our new look .
    I wish the Hot Topics Team lots of success with this initiative and hope te read lots of interesting articles with the same high quality standard as the Hot Topics Newsletter itself.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    Webcast : Introducing Smart, Cool, Affordable Technology for the Data Center

    I qoute from the invitation :
    Attend This Webcast And Find Out How This New Technology From IBM Can Take Your Data Center To The Next Level

    There is new technology on the horizon that could change the way your organization thinks about IT. Technology that delivers the granular scalability, flexibility, and resiliancy required for any organization that wants to ramp up innovation, boost efficiencies, and lower costs - pretty much any organization, any size, any location. Technology for a new kind of data center - resiliant, responsive, energy efficient - a New Enterprise Data Center.

    Find out what the buzz is all about and how it can rewrite the rules and deliver new freedoms for your organization. Whether you want to deploy new applications quickly, grow your organization without growing IT costs or consolidate your infrastructure for reduced complexity, we invite you to attend this webcast and find out how.

    Are You Ready For What The Future Holds?
    I guess it's pretty obvious what this is about, no ?

    Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2008
    Time: 8am PT (San Francisco Time), 11am ET (New York Time), 5pm CEST (Paris and Brussels Time)
    Duration: 60 minutes

    Registration :

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    BT : Upcoming events Belgium

    For those who missed some previous posts. I use 'BT' to indicate this is a specific 'Belgian Topic' (in analogy to 'OT'). There are lots of events coming up this fall, when you take a look at the IBM Events page for Belgium. One of them, however, might already be a nice indication of when we may be expecting some new technology .

    14-16/10/2008 Proof of Technology - Introduction to zLinux and zVM at the IBM Forum Brussels
    This is a three day workshop that "will explain the basics of z/VM and z/Linux. Technical workshop with lectures and hands-on about installation, configuration, customization and setup of z/VM, Linux and Middleware for Linux on IBM System z. You will have the opportunity to install, or to see, DB2, WAS 6.1, Cognos, RMFPMS and Omegamon on z/Linux".

    28/10/2008 Event - System z announcement event at Dolce La Hulpe
    "Shortly the IBM System z10 family will be extended with even more new technology. Technology designed specifically as a midrange mainframe for companies requiring a little less capacity but still looking for extensive flexibility for sustained growth, workload consolidation and excellent price/performance". On the agenda : The Future Runs on System z, System z announcement overview, Storage for System z, Customer story ...

    3-4/11/2008 Proof of Technology - Building the WebSphere Foundation with WAS v7 at the IBM Forum Brussels
    This is a two day Proof of Technology on Websphere Application Server V7 (cf. announcement ZP08-0402). On the agenda : Technical Overview, Packaging, Installation and Migration, Lab: Network Deployment installation and Configuration, System Administration + lab, application management, WebSphere Security, WebSphere and Web Services, WebSphere Workload Management etc.

    Other events are the various GSE working group events which are listed in the agenda on the right hand side of my blog.

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    Sampling Techdocs : June - September 2008

    Hello, here we go again for another round of interesting material from TechDocs.
    • Tool : Slot Calculator for TS3100, TS3200, TS3310, TS3400 and TS3500(3584)
      I've mentioned the Slot Calculator a couple of times before but now it also includes some other libraries. It already includes the Gen3 cartridges and the new HD tape frames (s24 and s54) too.

    • White Paper : z/OS: Planning Considerations for HiperDispatch Mode
      One of the new functionalities introduced with the z10 EC : with HiperDispatch mode, the intention is to manage work across fewer logical processors. It's important to have some notice of this functionality because all LSPR benchmarks are performed with HiperDispatch mode on. This document describes the functionality, some processing benefits and WLM Policy considerations.

    • Technical Document : Capacity Planning for zAAP and zIIP Specialty Engines
      zIIPs seem to be the talk of the town for the moment. I've just read some nice comments on the DB2-List and the IBM-Main List about zIIP eligibility, on which I hope to come back later. If you want to find out whether the zIIP is something for you, take a look at this and do check if all requirements for getting results are fulfilled at your site.

    • FAQ : Migration from an old version of COBOL to Enterprise COBOL on Z/OS
      I've programmed in COBOL for about 8 years and I can honestly say I still fluently 'speak' COBOL. So when a document like this one shows up, it definitely catches my attention. The question here is : "What is involved in COBOL Migration from an old version of COBOL to Enterprise COBOL on Z/OS?".

    • Flash : Withdrawal of z/OS Function
    • Technical Document : z/OS Positioning Software for the z10 EC Server
    • Presentation : Open Systems Adapter (OSA) Feature Code History
      Three reference documents that contain lots of useful information. Everyone should check out the first two once in a while and certainly when you upgrade your operating system or your hardware model.

    • Technical Document : IBM HyperSwap Technology - z/OS Systems
      I've mentioned other documents about this subject and discussed it in the (then) Dolmen System z Newsletter. This paper gives you an overview of the three variations : GDPS with HyperSwap (the full function), GDPS HyperSwap Manager and z/OS Basic HyperSwap. It describes their distinct functionalities, the prerequisites and it helps you decide which flavour is fit for your environment.

    • Presentation : Monitoring and Managing z/VM and Linux for System z
      How to monitor the architecture, monitor the virtual Linux Performance, performance scenarios and possible solutions, Automated operations requirements, Automated operations scenarios . . .
    Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    ChannelDB2 and DB2 Online Community Action Day

    Hi, if you've been wondering where I've been the last couple of weeks, well I've caught the flu last week. We call it 'stomach flu' but apparently the right expression is 'gastroenteritis'. I didn't get out of bed for about a week and lost some 5 kilos. I'll get them back, don't worry, allthough my wife likes to think otherwise.
    As a matter of fact, I'm just in time back to announce the first DB2 'Online Community Action Day' tomorrow on October 1, 2008. It's related to the new 'ChannelDB2' community : "ChannelDB2 is a social network for the DB2 community. It features content such as DB2 related videos, podcasts, blogs, photos, resources, etc. for Linux, UNIX, Windows, System z, and System i". You can subscribe to the community, but Adam Gartenberg asks you to go one step further and "to take just one simple action to demonstrate your participation in the broader community. Just one". Some examples of what you can do :
    Some other people commenting on this event are Willie Favero, Susan Visser and Peggy Zagelow.

    Just take a look, if you're into DB2, this will defenitely become an interesting community.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    DS8000-DS6000 : EOM of 500GB FATA drives

    I was a bit surprised to read these announcements last Tuesday about 'Hardware withdrawals of selected features ' for the DS6000 (ZG08-0837) and the DS8000 (ZG08-0836).The announcements are quite short : the 500GB 7.200rpm FATA drives are withdrawn from marketing and are no longer available as of October 17, 2008. But what I still find more suprising is the replacement section : 'None'.
    But then it occurred to me that there had been a 'preview' of a 1TB 7.200 rpm SATA disk in the latest DS8000 announcement (ZG08-0394) : "IBM intends to enhance the configuration options of the DS8000 series with support for 1 TB 7,200 RPM SATA disk drives, doubling the raw capacity of existing models up to 1024 TB for DS8300 Turbo Models and up to 384 TB for DS8100 Turbo Models. IBM intends to provide this capability in early 2009". So most likely FATA will be out of the picture but it's a bit strange that the 500GB drives disappear some months before the 1TB drives are likely to be marketed ?

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    2 year blogoversary

    I didn't even know there was a word for this, but then again, I should have known that some one would come up with a word for it : 'blogoversary'. I even checked whether it shouldn't be 'blogaversary' or 'blogiversary'. Hey, I'm a linguist !

    Well, I'm blogging for two years now and I still like it. Surely because I don't have the feeling I'm only writing this for myself. I've had some great responses from people of this little community I really respect. And I'm linked to from some great blogs I like to check out regularly.

    So, thanks for stopping by from time to time and don't hesitate to leave some comments if you have any kind of remarks.

    As Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (from The Simpsons) would say : "Thank you, Come again".

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    IBM announces IMS V11

    It looked like only a couple of months ago to me, but it's been almost a year since I wrote about the announcement of IMS V10. Still, here's already the announcement of IMS V11 (ZP08-0416) : 'IBM IMS V11 Database and Transaction Servers (QPP) deliver unsurpassed application and data serving'. Or perhaps I'd better call it pre-announcement. It only becomes available January 19,2009 for the "Quality Partnership Program (QPP) (...). IBM plans to ship IMS V11 to customers already selected as participants in the QPP process". So, next to the announcement, there's not much information to be found for the moment. But the announcement itself already gives plenty of details. Here are some of the highlights :

    IMStm V11 Database Manager enhancements

    • IMS Open Database support offers direct distributed TCP/IP access to IMS data, providing cost efficiency, enabling application growth, and improving resilience.
    • Broadened Javatm and XML tooling eases development and access of IMS data.
    • IMS Fast Path Buffer Manager, Application Control Block library, and Local System Queue Area storage reduction utilize 64-bit storage to improve availability and overall system performance.
    • Enhanced commands and user exits simplify operations and improve availability.

    IMS V11 Transaction Manager enhancements

    • IMS Connect (the TCP/IP gateway to IMS transactions, operations, and now data) enhancements offer improved IMS flexibility, availability, resilience, and security.
    • Broadened Java and XML tooling eases IMS application development and connectivity, and enhances IMS Web services to assist developers with business transformation.
    • Enhanced commands and user exits simplify operations and improve availability.
    • IMS Application Control Block library and Local System Queue Area reduction utilize 64-bit storage to improve availability and system performance
    When the actual availability date and more information become available, I'm definitely going to come back on this.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    PAV vs. HyperPAV

    I'm not taking any credit for this post, but if you want a simple and clear explanation of the differences between Static PAV, Dynamic PAV and HyperPAV, just head over to the IBM-Main Discussion list. Bill Fairchild of Rocket Software explains it all in a couple of sentences. I hope he doesn't mind quoting him and if you want some more detail, just get to the thread itself.
    "First came static PAVs. You decide where the PAVs are inside each LCU (Logical Control Unit), a collection of up to 256 devices. If you want to change any of them, you have to redo your configuration. Lots of work. Error-prone PITA. Hard to change. You must know your hot devices in advance.

    Next came dynamic PAV. The WLM decides within one LCU what should be PAVed for the next WLM interval in order to deliver your requested goals, WLM issues control I/O commands to the controller, PAV array is reset inside the controller, and the new PAV configuration is fixed in concrete (static) until the end of the next WLM interval, maybe 10 minutes later?

    Next came HyperPAV. IOS decides on an I/O by I/O basis if a PAV is needed for the next I/O, finds one from a pool of available PAV UCBs, directs the new I/O to a PAVed UCB which the controller knows how to send to the proper device, then IOS returns the PAV UCB to the pool of available PAV UCBs when the I/O ends. You don't have to reconfig. You don't wait until the end of the WLM interval. IOS does no control I/O to tell the controller a new PAV configuration. Instantaneously dynamic as opposed to quasi-static as opposed to seriously static". (Bill Fairchild of Rocket Software)

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Some z/VM news

    z/VM 5.4 was announced (ZP08-0349) last month and for those who want to have some information on this new release there has been a webcast a couple of weeks ago. You can still find the replay of it on the Live Virtual Classes page. The presentation charts are still available too.

    The webcast also gave some more information on how to install the evaluation version of z/VM 5.3. As a matter of fact, this is a free trial version of z/VM 5.3, not z/VM 5.4 - though only for z10 customers. It's normally limited to a 90-day trial. As it's not meant for production workload, it comes without support. You can read all about it on the special 'Z/VM 5.3 Evaluation Edition' page. There's an interesting FAQ and there's also a download link.

    And it's not only this free version you can download : since January, 2008 "the z/VM base operating system and base options are available for Internet delivery for orders placed using ShopzSeries in countries where it is available". This includes z/VM 5.3 and z/VM 5.4. If you haven't used ShopzSeries before or you're not sure how to do this, there's a specific page : 'How specify Internet Delivery for your z/VM order on ShopzSeries', which gives you step by step instructions.

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    Full Free Air Cooling

    I've never heard about this concept before and since the Green Data Center is at the centre of many people's attention, I thought I might mention this. The news item where I picked this up is in Dutch and you find it over here. It's a cooperation of Belgacom (Belgium's largest Telecom Operator), Sun Microsystems and Cisco. The purpose is to set up a Data Center without the traditional Air Cooling installation in order to obtain large energy savings. "The concept is based on the experience of several European Telecom Operators (eg Swisscom, BT, Belgacom) using Full Free Air cooling to substantially reduce the energy consumption in the Telecom Network". This was put into practice with a small scale data center at the Sun Solution Center in Schotland. Here's a representation of how it works :

    You can find more information over here : Free Air Cooling Proof of Concept. There's also a FAQ and you can login to the system where the measurement equipment and the results are accessible. Just follow the instructions.

    An interesting concept I'd say. The conclusions from the participants ?
    • Applying Full Free Air Cooling in the data-center is realistic !
    • Compared to an industry average PUE of 2, the potential overall data-center energy saving is 47%

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    NV RealDolmen

    As of today, I'm no longer working for Dolmen CA but for NV RealDolmen. RealDolmen is a merger of two major ICT companies in Belgium : Real Software and Dolmen CA. Here's an extract from the press release that was issued yesterday September 1, 2008.

    "RealDolmen becomes the reference partner in the local market for its customers, providing integrated ICT-solutionsand supporting the full ICT-lifecycle for its customers with a plan-build-operate approach. RealDolmen’s mission isto enable its clients to achieve their objectives by optimizing their business processes through innovative, effectiveand reliable ICT solutions.

    Its single source offering is provided through three complementary solutions portfolios, making it possible to deliverfully integrated ICT-solutions.
    • Business Solutions: these are the ICT-solutions built with own software or on top of 3rd partyplatforms. In this area RealDolmen will sell both services and products.
    • Professional Services: encompasses software development and ICT-infrastructure related services aswell as products such as courseware, development and project management methodologies,reusable software modules and development frameworks.
    • Infrastructure Products: Hardware products and software licensesRealDolmen’s ‘plan-build-operate’ approach allows scalable support for its customers, during any faze of their ICTprojects.
    With sites in Huizingen, Kontich, Houthalen, Turnhout, De Pinte, Namur, Zaventem, Brussels, Harelbeke,Luxemburg, Paris and Lille, this combined geographical coverage, spread over the BeLux and France, willsignificantly increase the amount of service points for customers and will give them a partner who speaks both their local as well as their business language. This is an important first step in the RealDolmen Customer Focus Strategy.

    With more than 1,900 professionals and partnerships with leading ICT companies such as IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, HP, Cisco, VMware, Cognos, Siebel, NEC Philips, JBoss and Citrix - the ‘Rock-Solid Passion for ICT’ of RealDolmen will put them in an important position in the ICT-market in the BeLux and France, offering its customers the best guarantees for the future

    RealDolmen is listed on Euronext Brussels with ticker “REA”. The Gores Technology Group and the Colruyt family remain with 32 % and 16 % respectively the two most important shareholders of the company."

    More information :

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Saving money with the zIIP - a sequel

    Some time ago I tried to give a summary of ISVs using zIIPs and/or zAAPs in my post 'Saving money with the zIIP'. The ones I found at that moment were : Phoenix Software, Neon Enterprise Software, Computer Associates and Syncsort for z/OS. Follow the links, some are different than the ones before and give interesting additional information.

    Why the sequel ? Well I told you I thought there would be more out there. So I was contacted by Greg Stasko of Datadirect Technologies who pointed out to me they too “have begun providing zIIP and zAAP support in the Shadow RTE product”. here's an introduction to the DataDirect Shadow/z products : DataDirect : A single Unified Mainframe Integration Architecture. A little quote : "Shadow 7 opens the zIIP to additional workloads beyond DB2, including mainframe data queries to IMS, VSAM, Adabas and IDMS, as well as SOAP/XML parsing for the transformation of business logic and screen logic (CICS, IMS, Natural, IDMS) into Web services".

    Cheryl Watson also intends to make up a list of ISVs using zIIPs and zAAPs. I'll keep you informed when it's published.