Wednesday, February 27, 2008

z/OS Hot Topics Newsletter #18

I thought the new Hot Topics Newsletter was put on hold until after the z10 announcement because some articles would be about the System z10. But no, the z10 isn't even mentioned in the newsletter. But don't panic, there's plenty of other, interesting stuff to read : the recurring theme of this issue is RAS : it talks e.g. about stand-alone dumps ('A SAD movie with a happy ending', got it ?). But really there's too much to sum it all up : migration to z/OS 1.9, 'z/OS on a green machine' on the benchmark performance of System z servers running Java Workloads, coupling facility basics in "Easy as A-B-CF" (got that one ?), enhancements to HCD and HCM, IMS, some HowTo's, an overview of the new reusable online JCL collection etc. etc.

As I always say : just check it out !

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

IBM System z10 EC Announcements - A summary

After lots of speculation, the z10 was finally announced today : 'IBM System z10 Enterprise Class - The forward-thinking mainframe for the twenty-first century'. As usual IBM first launches the high-end model of its new generation. Just look at the new design on the picture and the nice green accent. I’ll try to walk you through some of the features that are listed below as I interpret them for the moment.

Click on image to view larger picture in new window

Update #1 : added paragraph on 'software impact'
Update #2 : all documentation references up to date

Allthough under the covers it has a similar build as the z9 with its 2 frames, its 3 I/O cages and its 4-book CEC, it is however slightly higher and it takes some more floorspace. This might ask for some physical planning when replacing a z9 EC.

The z10 EC (machine type : 2097) comes just as its predecessor, the z9 EC, with 5 models : the E12, E26, E40, E56 and the largest model the E64. The digits indicate the number of CPs at the customer's disposal. Each MCM has 17 processors (20 on the E64) but some are reserved : 2 spares and 11 SAPS per System z10. The distribution across the four books accounts for the odd numbers of the several models.
The z10 EC has a minimum of 16GB memory and a maximum of 1,5TB. Each book has 384GB, but as we will see further, not all of it is always available to the client.
Exit STI, enter InfiniBand : this results in an increased throughput from 2,7 to 6GB towards the I/O cages.

HSA = 0 ?! and preplanning
Recent announcements always had the same message : watch out, the HSA has grown. Now, IBM has changed strategy : it now always reserves 16GB for the HSA. This 16GB falls outside the memory the customer buys for his own use. The HSA reserves space for 4 CSSs, 15 LPs in each CSS and per CSS Subchannel set-0 and Subchannel set-1 MAXDEVICES are set to maximum. How is it implemented ? The customer orders e.g. 112GB of memory, pays for 112GB, has 112GB at his disposal, but the z10 is shipped with 128GB (112GB + 16GB for the HSA).
This is not the only way availability has improved significantly. Also other preplanning requirements are brought down to a minimum so you can "seamlessly create logical partitions (LPARs), include logical subsystems, change logical processor definitions in an LPAR (...) without a power-on reset".

Expanded scalability
The 1-book model (E12) enlarges its scalability with more subcapacity models next to the 12 full capacity settings (701 tot 712). It has 36 subcapacity settings (401 tot 612) which makes smaller upgrades possible in the lower ranges. The 400 series has approximately 24% of the capacity of the full engine series. For the 500 series it’s situated around 52% and for the 600 series at about 70%. An example : the 402 (subcapacity model with 2 engines) has 51 MSU which is almost 24% of the 702 with its 215 MSU. MSU ratings can be found over here : just scroll down to the end of the page.

The following question has already been raised many times : “Does System z get the same Power6 processor as System p and System i ?” The answer is very clear : NO. The processor has been partially designed by the same team but it still answers higher requirements concerning reliability, cache utilisation etc. But this was not really news, as we already knew the last year presentation of Charles Webb (IBM fellow) : IBM z6 –The Next-Generation Mainframe Microprocessor. The z6 processor (z10 in the meantime) is a 4-core processor which supports 1MB page frames (in addition to the usual 4K) and Hardware Decimal Floating Point.
We had our reasons for never much talking about processing speed on the mainframe. But it now more than doubles its 1,7GHz on the z9 EC to 4,4GHz on the z10 EC. With its 4,4GHz the mainframe is now also capable of running CPU-intensive workload. I’m thinking about WebSphere, Java workload, Linux consolidation … These are workloads that get maximum profit of the full processing power of the specialty engines.

HiperDispatch (and LSPR)
This is a completely new function that’s only available on the z10. It isn't described at large in the announcement, so here's only what I can make of the information I got so far on this feature : it’s a combination of firmware and z/OS software that provides an optimalization of the CPU usage. Starting point is the fact that CPUs can have different distance to memory attributes. Memory accesses can take a number of cycles depending upon cache level / local or remote repository accesssed. PR/SM exchanges this topology information with z/OS. z/OS uses this to construct its dispatching queues. The entire z10 EC hardware/firmware/OS stack now tightly collaborates to obtain the hardware’s full potential. The function can be dynamically turned on. By default it’s turned off. But beware : on the z10 the LSPR Multi-Image for z/OS 1.8 Mixed Workload estimates are run with HiperDispatch = ON.

InfiniBand architecture
The z10 introduces a new kind of connectivity for the mainframe : InfiniBand. The InfiniBand Trade Association was already founded in 1999 with steering members IBM, QLogic, SUN, CISCO … Key requirements were high-bandwidth and low latency. If you want to find out more about the technical details here’s the InfiniBand site.
This connectivity knows 2 implementations on the z10. Exclusively for the z10, there’s the InfiniBand I/O bus. De STIs of the z9 with a throughput of 2,7GB/s are replaced by the IFB I/O bus with a throughput of 6GB/s. The second implementation is called PSIFB : Parallel Sysplex using InfiniBand. This will introduce InfiniBand Coupling links in Q2. These new coupling links bridge a distance of 150 meters with a throughput of 6GB/s in each direction. This connectivity is realised with 50 micron cables with new MPO connectors. It is defined with a new CHPID : CIB (Coupling using InfiniBand). Using 2 physical ports you can define 16 CHPIDs : this allows using the same physical Coupling Links for multiple sysplexes.
Connectivity towards the z9 is only possible to a dedicated Coupling Facility z9. Throughput is reduced to 3GB/s. PSIFB coupling links towards non-dedicated z9 EC and BC is till a Statement of Direction.

Upgrade paths and operating systems
You can upgrade to a z10 from any z990 and z9 EC. As on the z9, Token Ring is no longer supported. Only HMCs with FC 0079, 0081 and 0084 are supported. Only the HMC with FC 0084 can be ordered with a new z10.
Take into account that some other features are no longer supported : the first generation of OSA-Express cards and ICB-3 links. IBM also intends for System z10 to be the last server to support ICB-4 links.
The z10 requires minimally z/OS 1.7. But if you want to use all functionalities, you have to run on z/OS 1.9. For the other operating systems : z/VM 5.2 and z/VSE 3.1. For Linux on System z you can run Novell Suse SLES9 and SLES10 or Red Hat RHEL4 en RHEL5.

On Demand Flexibility
Capacity On Demand has a couple of improvements and novelties. Up to now it was not possible to do a permanent upgrade while a temporary On Demand solution was active. CBU and On/Off Capacity on Demand could not be activacted simultaneously. These restrictions have now been lifted.
On/Off Capacity on Demand (OOCoD) and Capacity Back-Up (CBU) are two forms of temporary upgrades we already know. But some things have changed.
For CBU you can now order several options and more than one offering can be activated simultaneously. You can also choose now how many tests you want to order : 5, 10 or 15 as opposed to 5 on the z9. CBU contracts, again as opposed to before, now have a specific expiration date "specified through ordering quantities of CBU years".
With OOCoD as for all other temporary upgrades, no access to IBM/Retain is needed to activate it. All records are on the z10 itself. This must also be the reason why you can no longer do administrative tests for OOCoD. You are however entitled to one no-charge test with a maximum duration of 24 hours.
One kind of temporary upgrade that was missing up to now was a CBU-like offering for planned outages. CBU was exclusively for non-planned outages. This sometimes lead to creative interpretations of the CBU activation. IBM has now introduced Capacity for Planned Events (CPE). This can e.g. be used for planned Data Center relocations, planned Power Outages … CPE is purchased for a one-time activation of three days. After that you have to buy a new CPE record. You can activate all resources on the system : rules concerning e.g. number of zIIPs in relation to number of CPs do not apply. After three days the CPE activity is automatically terminated when possible.

OSA Express3 10GbE card
A new OSA Express3 10GbE card is announced for Q2 exclusive to z10. Main differences with its predecessor : improved throughput, reduced latency and the number of ports on this card goes from 1 to 2. "The connector is new; it is now the small form factor, LC Duplex Connector".

Software impact
It wasn't in the original announcement but I just found it in the FAQ : by adapting the MIPS-MSU rate once again, IBM offers an attractive upgrade path to the customer. As with the z9, in many cases, you can stay technologically up to date and still save costs by upgrading to the z10. This is definitely the case when you are still running on a z990. Paying for 100 MSU on a z990 results in paying for 90 MSU on a z9 and for 81 MSU on a z10.

The Future Runs on System z (Announcement information page)
System z10 EC web page
IBM System z10 EC Data sheet
IBM System z10 EC Reference Guide
IBM System z10 EC FAQ
Redbook z10 EC Technical Introduction (SG24-7515-00)
Redbook z10 EC Technical Guide (SG24-7516-00)
Slides from Tuesday's presentation : 'The Future Runs on ?????? ?'
The manuals can already be downloaded from IBM Resource Link.

Key dates
Z10 EC Announcement + availability : February 26, 2008
Model upgrades within the z10 EC : May 26, 2008
Feature upgrades within the z10 EC : May 26, 2008
Upgrades form z990, z9 EC to z10 EC : February 26, 2008
OSA Express 3 10 GbE LR : Planned 2Q08
InfiniBand Coupling Links for z10 EC, z9 EC and z9 BC : Planned 2Q08
Redbook Z10 EC Technical Introduction : February 26, 2008
Redbook Z10 EC Technical Guide : February 26, 2008
Redbook z10 EC Capacity on Demand : March 2008
Redbook Getting started with infiniBand on z10 EC : May 2008
zPCR available for customers : Planned end of March 2008

I'm aware I didn't cover everything (e.g. cryptography, HiperSockets, HMC, FICON enhancements, energy efficiency) and there was also a topic that isn't mentioned in the announcement allthough it has been in the past : I find no reference to the Cell Processor ? Bob Hoey mentioned it in the Webcast tonight but I'm not sure when or how it will be introduced. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

I'll surely post some more on some aspects, Statements of Direction, publications and other related announcements. Here's a summary of all announcements made today.

Enjoy the reading !

IBM System z10 EC - The forward-thinking mainframe for the 21st century

IBM just published the European Announcement of the System z10 Enterprise Class. I'll come back to this later with some of its highlights. Here's already a picture of the new (green) machine :I'm making a summary of the announcement but I think the webcast of this evening (Europe) will give some more insight on some topics I'd like to talk about. So I'm waiting to post until after the webcast.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Future Runs on ?????? ?

Click on image to enlarge in new window

Registration over here :
For People in Belgium this means at 8:00 PM.
I'm still trying to figure out how to replace the question marks on the registration page : 'ZyZtem s' perhaps ?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2008

When I first came across the Arcati yearbook, I was surprised to find so many information in one document. There’s the center piece with the annual user survey, but of course you can find a lot more in this Yearbook. There are some articles on various subjects, such as (obviously) ‘Driving energy efficiency : the big green dinosaur’, ' Modernizing mainframe systems: Extend versus Migrate' and ' Integrating WebSphere Service Registry and Repository with WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus'.
The vendor directory listing vendors, consultants and service providers in the mainframe environment is a compact guide to a lot of companies. There's also a media guide for IBM mainframers listing useful links and information sources, even a few blogs and what do you know I’m getting a reference too. Thanks, guys !
It concludes with a glossary, the history of the operating systems, a 1952-2007 mainframe timeline and z9 tables including MSUs, MIPS and MSU/MIPS ratio.

Costs for legacy software seems to be a recurring issue in the user survey for sub-500 MIPS companies. As Mark Lillycrop puts it : “This is a particular problem at the lower end of the scale, where competition from other platforms is very intense and users lack the clout to negotiate the discounts that larger sites enjoy”. As George Orwell would say "All animals are equal, but . . ."

As usual : another great effort by Arcati and a great reference for 2008.

Small note : There seems to be a little problem with the publication of the yearbook on the Arcati website. So for the moment, I'm taking over the links of yearbook editor Trevor Eddolls from his Mainframe Update blog.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Enterprise Cobol for z/OS V4 : correction

I talked about IBM Enterprise Cobol V4 some time ago and I mentioned there was an IPLA alternative for the Debugging Functions that can no longer be found in Cobol V4 which is compiler only.
In fact there are two alternatives. I forgot to mention the first and most obvious one. It's also MLC software en it just replaces the debugging functions that were up to now in the full function edition : IBM Debug Tool for z/OS V8.1 (5655-S17). On the other hand you have the IPLA software I mentioned before : Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions V8.1 (5655-S16 – S&S 5655-J19). It's part of the Problem Determination Tools suite but it can be ordered separately. It also has some extra functionalities : CICS-related enhancements, automonitor enhancements, 64-bit register support for Assembler applications . . .
Take a good look at the price before ordering one of them. Even if you don't want the extra functionalities and there's a higher One Time Cost for the IPLA software, in the long run it might turn out to be more cost efficient (read : cheaper).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

zJournal spotlights

zJournal is not just a magazine. It regularly launches new ideas (e.g.buyers guide, mainframe community), the one sometimes more successful than the other. Here's another one that's given its final form : the zJournal Spotlights. I mentioned them before as they have already been sent out for some time, focusing on specific subjects like CICS, z/OS, WebSphere, Linux on System z etc.

As of last week you can now explicitely subscribe to them. I suggest you do so, because I had to re-subscribe to most of those I've been receiving in the past. The newest spotlight is on Storage Connectivity with e.g. a detailed article on ‘FICON Channel Path Metrics’ and ‘Eight Tips for the New Mainframe Storage Manager’.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sampling Techdocs : Januari 2008 - December 2007

Here we go for another round of Techdocs documents. I don’t see that many interesting stuff to me in Januari, but that’s most likely because I tend to focus on operating systems, hardware, storage and some db2. If I’d have to make one good intention for 2008, I’ll try to get some more grip on the Websphere, Tivoli and Rational products. Don’t hold this against me if you haven’t seen much change by the end of the year. Or perhaps : just do !

  • Technical Document : Guide for Upgrading z/VM from one version to another
    If you read it it’s plain and simple. What are the steps ? "Install the new z/VM operating system at 2nd level. Separate the userids on the current system which will be discarded, versus those that will be kept. Identify system configuration changes implemented on the current system. Merge userids into new system directory, merge changes from current system into new system. TEST NEW SYSTEM at 2nd Level. Shutdown current system, then IPL new system".

  • Presentation : Installation of OMEGAMON XE on z/VM and Linux PowerPoint Presentation
    More and more people are turning to z/VM for the first time because they start to implement Linux on the mainframe. I’m also sure more and more people will start to love this platform. This document shows how to install OMEGAMON XE on z/VM and Linux because there’s a need for monitoring these systems. It’s kind of a step by step instruction set and it also refers to some other resources on this topic.

  • White Paper : DS8000 HyperPAV UCB and Alias Analysis Case Study
    HyperPAV has been around since 2006 but I must say it’s not the easiest of things to get to grips with. Here’s a white paper which starts off with a clear explanation on IO queueing, PAV and HyperPAV functionality. It explains the requirements, implementation and migration towards HyperPAV. The main part of the document is a case study explaining the analysis methodology from data collection to analysis output with lots of examples and graphs.

  • Flash : IBM System Storage DS8000 FlashCopy SE Implementation Considerations and Recommendations
    Here’s another document on a long-awaited new functionality on the DS8000 box : Space Efficient FlashCopy. It allows for the first time the target capacity to be smaller than the full capacity of the source volumes. The 8 p. flash gives a good description of FlashCopy SE, where to use it, recommendations on how to implement and configure it and for some of those who already figured everything out for themselves some recommendations on how not to configure it.

  • Technical Document : Installing Oracle 10g on SLES10 Linux on System z
    This document walks you through everything you need to know for this installation giving examples and screenshots of an actual installation. Topics are Overview, Base System Requirements, RPM Package Requirements, Memory Requirements, Kernel parameter activation, Userid and group accounts, Shell Limits, Security Issues, Profile settings, Installing the Oracle 10g binaries, Install of Patches and Instance Database build.

  • White Paper : TS7700 Copy Export V1.1
    More new storage functions with the Copy Export Function on the Virtualization Engine. “For customers that do not require the recovery times that can be obtained in a Grid configuration, a new function called Copy Export is being introduced for the TS7700. With Copy Export, logical volumes written to a TS7700 can be removed from the TS7700 and taken to an offsite location to be used for disaster recovery”. This document gives a great overview of this function with all steps of the implementation, management and processing on both sides with examples of definitions, commands, error messages . . .

As I always say : just check them out !

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Red Alert when IPLing a z/OS 1.9 member in a JES2 MAS

Last Saturday there was a new Red Alert :
“Users may experience data loss from JES2 spool volumes when IPLing a z/OS 1.9 member in a JES2 MAS while any spool volumes are in a draining status (…)JES2 DISASTROUS ERRORS (DISTERRs) such as CBIMPL4 and CBIMPL12 DISTERRs will occur as JES2 processes jobs on the affected volumes; these jobs and their data will be lost”.
For the moment the recommended action is not to perform this action and to install “the ++APAR or the PTF once it becomes available shortly”. So you’ll have to check for updates until it becomes available.
It’s APAR OA23615.