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 The 73GB disks will be withdrawn from marketing as of March 27, 2009 (ZG08-0890).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 !