Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enhance your I/O performance with IBM System z

You're not a storage specialist ? You have absolutely no clue what IOS Queue Time (IOSQ), Pending Time (PEND) or Disconnect Time (DISC) means, but you hear these terms regularly when performance is being discussed. Then just go to the Hot Topics Site. There's a nice web article by Harry Yudenfriend "about the latest enhancements to I/O performance including FICON I/O operations and the IBM System Storage DS8000 solid state drive (SSD) technology". The article explains these terms and also indicates where new functionalities like zHPF, MIDAW . . . come into play.

As I always say, just check it out !

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Identifying the dynamic SQL statements which are causing a deadlock in DB2 for z/OS

I'm not always sure why or how things arrive in my mailbox. This seems to be some kind of newsletter from IBM Software Group called 'Best practices for System z software'. This (first ?) issue gives a very practical tip on identifying and avoiding deadlocks in DB2 for z/OS, making use of enhancements in DB2 V8. You can download this 7 page document by Richard Corrihons (PSSC - Montpellier) over here. You first have to fill out a form and there's some oddity about the country. I don't see any European countries mentioned. The conclusion sums up exactly what you can expect from this very useful document :
"In this document we described how to benefit from DB2 V8 for z/OS enhancements to identify the dynamic SQL statements involved in most deadlocks. We saw that the RECTRACE TRACE command allows us to retrieve the statement IDs of the SQLs, and that the EXPLAIN STMTCACHE ALL command allows us to retrieve the SQL statement texts that correspond to those statement IDs".

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Should I start using SSD drives ?

I just heard I've been writing about a tool that evaluates whether it might be useful to start using SSD (Solid State Dsik) drives. Well, that's a little too much credit, because I didn't even know such a tool existed.

First of all, if you're interested in SSD drives and their performance with DB2 for z/OS, there's a Redguide that appeared last week : 'Ready to Access DB2 for z/OS Data on Solid-State Drives'. It discusses the following topics :
  • Get to know the solid-state drives in z/OS environments
  • Compare performance when accessing DB2 for z/OS data. This elaborates on DB2 synchronous I/Os, DB2 sequential I/O, DB2 list prefetch, DB2 list prefetch with striping and DB2 synchronous I/O using one or two RAID ranks
  • Understand requirements and applicability
The Redguide also mentions the tool for identifying candidate volumes to move to SSD : "New z/OS SAS-based tooling analyzes the SMF 42-6 and SMF 74-5 records to produce a report that identifies data sets and volumes that can benefit from residing on SSD technology". You can download the tool from the Z/OS downloads web page.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ABCs of z/OS System Programming

The ABCs go back to 2000 when the 5-volume series of Redbooks called 'ABCs of OS/390 System Programming' was launched. This was later reworked to an 11-volume series called 'ABCs of z/OS System Programming'. But I see there's now already a draft of Volume 13 ? This one's entirely dedicated to JES3. I haven't seen any reference to Volume 12, but perhaps that one will be on JES2 ?

I still find this a wonderful initiative because you might be a specialist in one domain, but you can still fall back on these for a thorough introduction on domains you're not that specialized in. So I wouldn't mind seeing some statement from IBM that the Redbooks aren't going down the same road as the IBM Journals. Here's an overview :
Volume 1:Introduction to z/OS and storage concepts, TSO/E, ISPF, JCL, SDSF, and z/OS delivery and installation
Volume 2: z/OS implementation and daily maintenance, defining subsystems, JES2 and JES3, LPA, LNKLST, authorized libraries, and catalogs
Volume 3: Introduction to DFSMS, storage management
Volume 4: Communication Server, TCP/IP, and VTAM
Volume 5: Base and Parallel Sysplex, system logger, global resource serialization, z/OS system operations, and automatic restart management.
Volume 6: RACF, PKI, LDAP, cryptography, Kerberos and firewall technologies
Volume 7: Infoprint Server, Language Environment, and SMP/E
Volume 8: z/OS problem diagnosis
Volume 9: z/OS UNIX System Services
Volume 10: Introduction to z/Architecture, zSeries processor design, zSeries connectivity, LPAR concepts, HCD, and HMC
Volume 11: WLM, RMF, and performance management
Volume 12: Unknown
Volume 13: JES3

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The mainframe ? Expensive ? Not at all ! ! !

I'm attending the Belgian GSE Regional Conference today and tomorrow. And if there's one number that got stuck into my head it was 19%. Let me explain : one of the speakers today was Marcel den Hartog of CA. A great speaker, if you ask me, entertaining, tongue in cheek but always very informational. He told about a survey CA held in EMEA among a whole bunch of large companies. One point of the outcome : on average 50% of mission critical applications is running on the mainframe. But . . . the average percent of IT budget spent on the mainframe is 19%. Can you believe it ? Apparently at CA they couldn't either, as Mr. den Hartog told, so they contacted the companies again to confirm their answers and they DID ! But now you have to turn it around. What does that also mean ? The other 50% is running on what, on distributed systems ? I guess so ? And at what cost ? You don't need a mainframe to do the math on this one.

If you want to read more : Marcel den Hartog put this result also on the CA EXEC I/O Mainframe blog. So, as I always say, just check it out ! It's a great read with more information on this topic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Webcast April 28 : Dynamic Infrastructure in Action

Dynamic Infrastructure was introduced in February of this year. You can read a summary of the introduction on the IBM Mainframe Blog or you can go directly to the IBM Dynamic Infrastructure page. Key elements are Improve Service, Reduce Cost and Manage Risk.

On April 28, 2009 IBM will make further announcements with a webcast called 'Dynamic Infrastructure in Action: Reducing Costs While Increasing Value!' It's announcing "new server, storage and software solutions and services designed to help reduce costs and deliver real business results today while investing for tomorrow". You will also learn about:
  • Creating a dynamic Infrastructure today
  • Preparing for cloud computing
  • Maximizing energy efficiency & utilization
  • Leveraging system flexibility to reduce costs
  • Versatility for large & mid-sized businesses
Speakers will be Jim Stallings, General Manager IBM Systems & Technology Group and Al Zollar, General Manager IBM Tivoli software.

Here's a small picture of the invitation. Click on it to have a larger view.

Time and date : Tuesday April 28, 2009 / 11.00am ET, 4.00pm London, 5.00pm Brussels
Duration : 45 minutes
Click here for registration.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sampling Techdocs : February - March 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, April 7, 2009

Price changes : System z Features

It's not every day I can quote almost an entire announcement in one post : 'Price changes: IBM System z selected features (ZA09-1030)'. There will be some price increases on the z9 BC and the z10 BC on some cards : crypto, OSA-Express, ESCON and FICON. Here's the list (2096 = z9 BC, 2098 = z10 BC) :

Crypto Express2 2096 863
Crypto Express2 - 1P 2096 870
Escon Channel Port 2096 2324
FICON Express4-2C SX 2096 3318
OSA Express2 GbEN LX 2096 3364
OSA Express2 GbEN SX 2096 3365
OSA Express2 1000Base-T E 2096 3366
Crypto Express2 2098 863
Crypto Express2 1P 2098 870
Escon Channel Port 2098 2324
FICON Express4 2C SX 2098 3318
OSA Express3 GbE LX 2098 3362
OSA Express3 GbE SX 2098 3363
OSA Express2 GbE LX 2098 3364
OSA Express2 GbE SX 2098 3365
OSA Express2 1000BASE T 2098 3366
OSA Express3 1000BASE T 2098 3367
OSA Express3 2P 1000BASE T 2098 3369

Effective date : April 28, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

CA Mainframe Newsletter & Webcasts

Last wednesday I received the 10th issue of 'CA Advisor Mainframe Newsletter'. There's an online version of it and you can subscribe to it over here. If you want to read previous issues you can take a look at the archive. In this issue there are articles on mainframe's renaissance, workload automation but I would like to focus on what they are calling their CA May Mainframe Madness.
It involves several aspects with a CA Mainframe Infinity Tour 2009 and lots of webcasts in the month of May :
"The May Mainframe webcast series will teach you the major components of CA’s Mainframe 2.0 strategy and how it will transform mainframe management at your organization. (...) Join CA in May Mainframe Madness to learn how to tap the potential business value of CA software so that you can respond quickly and cost-effectively to new challenges, and take advantage of Mainframe 2.0 for your CA solutions".
Here are a couple of titles :
Mainframe 2.0: The Mainframe Transformation
Mainframe 2.0: Priorities and Plans for CA Mainframe Database Management
Mainframe 2.0: CA OPS/MVS® and CA MIM® – Today and Beyond
Mainframe 2.0: What's New in CA Endevor® Software Change Manager
Mainframe 2.0: CA Mainframe Storage Management
Mainframe 2.0: CA Mainframe Security
Mainframe 2.0: Preparing for a New Generation on the Mainframe
Mainframe 2.0: Making IT Operational
Mainframe 2.0 What's New in CA Spool™ 11.5
Mainframe 2.0: Expanding on CA IDMS™ Usability
Mainframe 2.0: What's New with CA Workload Automation
Mainframe 2.0: CA Easytrieve® Just Got Easier
Mainframe 2.0: New CA Datacom® Deliverables
You can find the entire list over here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

IBM Introduces PC-DOS for System z

Well, Timothy Sipples really has the scoop on this one. I quote : "Today IBM introduces an innovative, new mainframe operating system: PC-DOS for System z". Timothy tells us how a pre-release was already successfully tested at Marist College. The new OS will be generally available on April 26, 2009 and of course there will be a new pricing mechanism attached to it : HCQLC.

But I don't want to spoil his scoop, so as I always say : do check it out. it's over here.