Thursday, February 26, 2009

We won ! We won !

I know I have some catching up to do and I promise I'll definitely make a couple of posts next week, but it's been quite busy the last few weeks.
Still I definitely want to share this with you. You know I'm working as a presales consultant for a Belgian IBM Business Partner NV RealDolmen. Well, we just won an award. No not an Oscar, my acting talents aren't that good. But we did win the IBM "STG Winback of 2008", as we teamed up with IBM to realize the largest winback in Belgium for 2008.

Our customer Belgacom, a Belgian Telecom Operator, is running an IDMS database application on two Siemens BS2000 mainframes. After an intensive presales period of 2 years, Belgacom decided last year to migrate their application to an IBM platform. No, not just any platform : the IBM System z10, of course !

So, we're quite proud that we've been able to realize this winback and to illustrate this, here's a picture of me and my colleague Geert Maes who's our System z Solution Sales Manager. By the way, I'm on the left, but you might've already guessed that ;-)

Click to view larger picture in new window

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Linux on IBM System z Resources

I came across this document some time ago, but I couldn't find any link to it on the IBM zLinux page. But now it's there, or perhaps there again. If you look at the right hand side, there's an 'Information Resources' title with a link saying 'Check it out'. Well, just click on it. It gives you a wonderful .pdf document which gives you exactly what it says : "This paper provides an overview of the available information resources for Linux on System z, and the URLs for easy access to the information". Some items
  • Linux on IBM System z Web Pages
  • IBM and ISV Solutions
  • Customer References
  • Websphere, Cognos, SAP, Oracle
  • Linux on System z Distributors
  • Linux on System z Services & Support
  • Education
  • Performance information
  • Data sheets, White papers, FAQs
Quite an extensive list, no ?
So, just as I also use to say : just check it out !

Friday, February 13, 2009

DS8000 : The Fast, The Large and the Encrypted

I know, not really a dazzling pun, but here we are with, once again, new functionalities on the DS8000 box : 'IBM System Storage DS8000 series delivers new security, scalability, and business continuity capabilities (ZG09-0158)'. As I already stated in my 2008 review : the DS8000 remains thé strategic enterprise storage box for IBM and I don't think we have seen the end of it.
What about my title : The Fast for the introduction of Solid State Disks, The Large for the (already previewed) introduction of the 1TB SATA disks and the Encrypted for the use of Encryption Disks. Next to that there's also Intelligent Write Caching and Remote Pair FlashCopy.
Here's a summary of the new functionalities taken from the announcement :

Full Disk Encryption

Provides encryption support using Encrypting Disks and supported key manager software. Available capacities are 146 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel,300 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel and 450 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel.
Intermixing of drives is not supported, so the entire subsystem is either encrypted drives or intermixed devices of Fibre Channel, SATA, and SSD devices.

SATA drive support
Provides 1 TB 7,200 rpm SATA disk drives to support various fixed-content, data-archival, reference-data, and other applications that require large amounts of storage capacity at lower cost per MB.
Supported RAID configurations are RAID-6 and RAID-10.

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Provides support for solid state disks to support high-performance business-critical applications. Supported RAID configurations are RAID-5. Available capacities are 73 GB SSD Fibre Channel and 146 GB SSD Fibre Channel.
The announcement states they have a nominal speed of 150,000 rpm. Isn't that ten times . . . yes it is !

Intelligent Write Caching

Provides non-volatile storage (NVS) and cache management algorithm improvement designed to improve aggregate throughput and reduce aggregate response times.

Remote Pair FlashCopy

Provides management improvement to resiliency solutions. These improvements are designed to reduce configuration steps required in a redundant environment utilizing Point in Time Copy and Metro Mirror. (...) The IBM DS8000 provides the Remote Pair FlashCopy with the capability to allow a FlashCopy relationship where the FlashCopy target device is a Metro Mirror primary device. z/OS® support of Remote Pair FlashCopy will be available on z/OS V1.8, or later, using the name FlashCopy Preserve Mirror.

A couple of remarks.
  • As always there's a separate announcement for the original 2107 DS8000 box (ZG09-0157) but this time there's a difference : no SSDs nor Encryption disks on the 2107.
  • The Solid State Disks should be particularly interesting for performance critical DB2 workload. Though there's not much information to be found about this for the moment. On Tony Pearson's 'Inside System Storage' blog I read the following : "IBM has taken the work and worry out by having intelligence in DB2 to optimize what gets placed on SSD to get the most performance improvement". I'll definitely come back to this as soon as I can share more information about how this is done.
Not everything is available immediately and there are also restrictions as to what can be field installed. Here's an overview of planned availability dates :
March 6, 2009
Plant and field installation:
* 1 TB 7,200 rpm Serial ATA (SATA) drive sets
* Intelligent Write Caching
* Full Disk Encryption drive sets
Plant installation only:
* Full Disk Encryption drive set support (feature number 1751)

April 24, 2009
Plant and field installation:
* Remote Pair FlashCopy
Plant installation only:
* Solid State Drives (SSD)
Next to the DS8000 announcements, there were other important announcements too this week like e.g. 'IBM Tivoli Storage Manager V6.1 (ZP09-0004)', a preview of 'IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center family (ZA09-0007)', 'IBM Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager for z/OS V1.0 (ZP09-0022)' and a preview of 'IBM GDPS V3.6 (ZA09-0009)'.
I'll surely tell you more about some of these in my next posts.

Update : For more information on these Tivoli products, I would like to refer to Tony Pearson's post on his Inside System Storage Blog where he gives a very adequate description of these products.

Monday, February 9, 2009

BT : GSE Working Group events

For those not familiar with the blog. I use 'BT' for 'Belgian Topic' similar to e.g. 'OT' which is often used for 'Off Topic'.

As you can see on the logo Guide Share Europe (GSE) turns 50 in 2009. Or as we read on the GSE site
"In 1959, it was recognized by a small group of representatives from European companies using IBM equipment that the exchange of experiences and strategies, based on the various IBM uses, between members of similar business sectors, was of immeasurable advantage to the IBM user community.
The European organization of G.U.I.D.E. was formed and is still going strong 50 years later as GUIDE SHARE EUROPE (GSE)"
So I thought I might already give you an update on known dates for GSE Working Group Events. It's not a complete list yet, but the rest will follow in the agenda.

GSE z/OS Group : 18/03/2009, 17/06/2009, 16/09/2009 and 18/11/2009
GSE Storage Management Group : 12/03/2009 and 16/09/2009 (possible joint event with z/OS group)
GSE Enterprise Systems Security Group : 11/03/2009 (z/OS), 11/06/2009 (general), 11/09/2009 (z/OS) and 11/12/2009 (general)
GSE IMS and DB2 Group : 26/03/2009 (DB2), 24/09/2009 (DB2-SOA joint event), November 2009 (IMS)

And the 8th Regional Conference on "New Enterprise Data Center" is on April 23-24, 2009 in Spa.

Time to put your agendas up to date !

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sampling Techdocs : December 2008 - January 2009

Hello, here we go again for another round of interesting material from TechDocs.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The CICS Guy

I saw this entry at The Master Terminal a couple of months ago about a new CICS blog : The CICS Guy by Steve Baugh. Well, I must say Steve is doing a wonderful job and I really enjoy reading his posts. This CICS guy definitely knows what he's talking about and brings lots of useful information from the field. There's also information about events, webcasts and yesterday even an ISPF post I couldn't resist sharing with you. It's now possible with the ISPF editor to copy one line to multiple target lines in one operation. I recall using this in Xedit years ago (though it might have been a macro as far as memory serves). How it's done ? Well, just get over to the CICS Guy.