Last week Trevor Eddolls started me thinking with his blog post on 'Saving money on mainframes'. Mr. Eddolls wonders whether specialty engines (especially zIIP and zAAP) can save you money :
Basically, any workloads run on these specialty engines do not form part of an organization’s contracted mainframe processing capacity. So their use results in a reduction in that organization’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). As a consequence, not only do they get reduced software costs, they also get additional processing capacity – and that can be used to eliminate or delay the next upgrade.Saying that every workload which is redirected to zIIP or zAAP results in a reduction of your software cost is a bit too straight-forward. You still have to keep in mind that your monthly software cost (MLC) is based on a 4-hour rolling average. If you have your peaks at night running a heavy IMS batch workload, you won't see any direct savings on that side by adding a specialty engine. Still, I think the second part of his statement is correct. The real savings come from redirecting workload to the specialty engines and delaying a next upgrade. Delaying this upgrade may also mean delaying higher software costs. If not MLC software, then perhaps for softwares which are still based on the full GP engine capacity of your machine.
Mark Fonteccio comments on that with 'Mainframe specialty processors: Do they really save money?', making the same reflection as I did : "By taking workloads to those processors, you can free up room on the central processors. That’s what might matter the most".
But both have the impression that specialty engines might be the talk of the town, but people aren't convinced yet. I think we're reaching (or have reached) a turning point : companies are actually starting to buy them. Why, because there are more and more softwares using it. More than I was aware of and I'm sure I'm not alone.
So, I was glad to read the comments of Edward Jaffe (Phoenix Software) and Tom Harper (Neon Enterpirse Software) on this subject on the IBM-Main discussion list. Not only do they point out that according to IBM specialty engine sales are up 85% year-over-year, but they also indicate that both their companies have their softwares redirect workloads to the zIIP. So eventually I came up with more than just DB2 and IPSec redirecting workload to the zIIP. Here's a little list :
- Of course we have the DB2 and IPSec workload from IBM. And that's not the end : DB2 9 now includes support for native SQL stored procedures and most z/OS DFSMS SDM (System Data Mover) processing associated with zGM/XRC was also added.
- Phoenix software has (E)JES. A little quote : "(E)JES V4R5.0 makes a significant portion of execution resources eligible for redirection to zIIP processors, including all end-user interactive host client environments except CICS, all batch scripts running in the background or foreground under TSO/E, when calling the (E)JES API, and when running (E)JES as the Operating System Interface within the workstation component server."
- Neon Enterprise Software had an announcement on May 15, 2008 for their IMS Utilities suite : "The NEON Eclipse Reorganization Utilities include iUnload, iLoad, iBuild, iCheck, iSurvey, iExtract, iReorg and iCopy. Version 5.1 of these products includes the initial support for zIIP processors. With NEON Eclipse Reorganization Utilities, it is possible that a customer could experience capacity gains of more than 70 percent for some IMS database maintenance processing. NEON is planning a release in the second half of 2008 that will provide 97 percent zIIP processing support for all the NEON Eclipse Reorganization Utilities, including iCopy".
- CA was one of the first to announce support for the zIIP with a range of products including e.g. CA-Vtape Virtual Tape System and CA Tape Encryption. CA also put CA-IDMS and CA-DATACOM on the roadmap, but nothing really official has been announced so far.
- Syncsort for z/OS is another one that has been using the zIIP since January, 2008 : "SyncSort exploits the new MIDAW and System z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) facilities available on z9 processors. SyncSort's use of the MIDAW facility reduces CPU time and elapsed time. The zIIP facility allows many sorts to have a portion of their processing directed to the zIIP, thereby lowering the traditional CPU time cost associated with sorting. The zIIP exploitation also liberates conventional CPU cycles for use by other applications that do not exploit the zIIP facility".
- Who's missing so far ? BMC ? I saw some announcements with statements on zIIP support, but I don't know whether it's really having any products yet. If so, please do let me know!