Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Short Takes

Here some short messages on publications, sites, events, podcasts . . .
  • : Mainframe Systems Programming
    I like to refer to some good or promising sites once in a while and this is one of them. This site wants to collect all kinds of information for the mainframe systems programmer. It has a very nice section on mainframe websites and blogs itself even with a small review on each site. The homepage is also interesting because the Something to read part intends to gather information from different sites so you have a central point referring to all kinds of new information which is mainframe related. It has my blog included and I hope others will follow.
  • When did IBM first open its offices in my town ?
    This is a nice FAQ I came across via the IBM-MAIN discussion list. It's from the IBM Archives site and there are other interesting, intriguing, funny questions like e.g. 'What is the origin of IBM’s “THINK” motto?' or 'What was the IBM type ...' starting from Type 1 up to Type 7656, What is the origin of the term “Big Blue?”. It also gives a historical overview of the mainframe.
  • Abis DB2 newsletter
    Recently, Guido Indesteege from ABIS (a Belgian Training & Consulting Company) drew my attention to their DB2 newsletter. This is a newsletter covering application programming, best practices, maintenance, new functionalities . . . Unfortunately for some readers : it only appears in Dutch !

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


COBOL has turned 50 on September 18, 2009. Though I spent quite some years programming COBOL myself, I didn't pay that much attention to it. But yesterday I came across this page on : '20 things you might not know about COBOL'. Nice. Worth mentioning ? Perhaps.

And then yesterday evening my eldest son came from school and told me he wrote his first COBOL program. Coincidence, synchronicity, how do you call that ? So of course I asked what he wrote and they did some simple calculations to start with. "Oh yeah, the compute statement, no ?". I just couldn't resist it. Had to play the smart ass (not a COBOL expression). But still, it's nice to see that some schools still see the relevance of teaching that old COBOL language. By the way, it's also one of those schools participating in the Academic initiative. So, they're also offering a mainframe education.

So that's why I'm posting the link after all. So my son and his co-students can perhaps pick up the relevance of COBOL through this little slide show. And if they want to challenge their teacher why they still have to study COBOL they might throw in this quote from Edsger Dijkstra : "The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence".

By the way : BCOOL is an acronym of COBOL.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A draft, a book and a technote

If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, then shame on you : three types of publications you find on the IBM Redbook site. The book is the final product while a draft is a publication that's not yet entirely finalized, but is already worth publishing on the site. A Technote is a short, usually very practical text, on one particular subject.

The book : 'DB2 9 for z/OS: Distributed Functions'
It consists of 4 parts
  • Distributed Database architecture and configurations : the authors "introduce the concepts and protocols of DRDA and describe the layout and the components of the possible configurations where DB2 for z/OS can play a client or server role"
  • Setup and Configuration : "a description of the steps needed for the installation of a distributed environment"
  • Distributed Applications : Application programming and data sharing
  • Performance and problem determination
The book also contains lots of samples.
And if you live in the Belgian region, you might want to go to the joint DB2-CICS-SOA GSE meeting next Thursday where there's also a session on 'Talking with DB2 for z/OS : today's distributed connectivity options'.

The Draft : 'Batch modernization on z/OS'
"As a large portion of the workload on z/OS is processed in a batch mode, it is not difficult to justify a dedicated publication on this matter.
These days there are many different technologies that can be put at work in a batch environment on z/OS. This Redbook demonstrates that batch on z/OS is not only COBOL, JCL and a job scheduler anymore. This book also demonstrates that z/OS offers a sophisticated environment for batch that you may not have implemented on z/OS yet.
(...) The book also includes a chapter on future developments in batch processing."

The Technote : 'Converting LPAR Weights to Logical Processor Allocation'
Plain and simple, but useful : "This Tip describes how to calculate the portion of a shared logical processor assigned to an LPAR."
--> Link seems to be no longer working. Workaround : you can Google for lpar weight redbooks. It gives you the non-working link to the document, but you can still find it via the 'in cache' link.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My third Blogoversary

Time flies . . . when you're having fun !

Three years already and it seems like yesterday that I was writing my first post. I just took a look at the number of posts I made and I see I'm living up to my promises. I'm still hitting an average of two posts per week.

The one thing I miss from time to time is some interactivity. Don't be shy to leave a comment or drop me a note or a mail. I might be having second thought about Twitter, but it sure has a lot more interactivity going on. On the other hand, I see Twitter more as a source of references to the real content that's still more often found in blogs.

So I'm just going to stop this with the same words I posted last year : thanks for stopping by from time to time and don't hesitate to leave some comments if you have any kind of remarks.

As Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (from The Simpsons) would say : "Thank you, Come again".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New initiative : Mainframe Linux Wiki

I think this is an initiative worth mentioning and I hope it'll be a successfull one. It was cross-posted by Mark Post on the Linux-390, IBMVM, and IBM-Main Discussion lists : "With the assistance of Marist College (and Velocity Software who owns the domain name), I've put up a Wiki at for people to contribute content". This should become a wiki for mainframe Linux an z/VM and it's now up to people like you and me who want to share their knowledge and experience with the rest of us.

Suggested topics so far include :
For the moment only the 'Technical Presentations' has content with already a nice collection of presentations from previous Share, WAVV, System z Expo ... meetings.

As I said, I hope this becomes a success story !

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sampling Techdocs : July - August 2009

Here we are again with some new and interesting reading material from TechDocs. I've mentioned the first two before, but hey, it was holiday season back then and they are really valuable documents.
  • Presentation : z/OS System Initialization Logic (IPL)
    "This presentation describes general processing involved initializing z/OS System from the IPL process until the system is ready to start JES2 or JES3." The major steps described are : the hardware process of loading z/OS, the loading and initialization of the nucleus, the initialization of general system resources, Master Scheduler Initialization. All I can say about this one : veeeeerrrrrrryyyyyyy nice !

  • Technical Document : OSA-ICC experiences. Usage guide for z/OS and z/VM
    This is a very nice document for any one who wants to install the OSA-Express Integrated Console Controller (OSA-ICC) support of the 1000BASE-T card. It really takes you by the hand through chapters like OSA-ICC definitions on HMC, OSA-ICC VTAM Definition on z/OS, Implementing an OSA-ICC connection for z/VM and Connect to TSO using PCOMM & OSA-ICC. If you're still a first time OSA-ICC installer, this is the document to start with.

  • Technical Document : Restore Server Time Protocol configuration information across a Power on Reset
    One can now save an "STP configuration across PORs and power failures for a single server and a two server STP-only CTN". This 2-page document outlines "the prerequisites, set up required, and steps needed to enable this functionality".
  • Flash : Withdrawal of z/OS Function Beginning with z/OS Release 5 Through Current z/OS Release
    "This flash lists those items IBM has announced intention for removal in a specific z/OS release. These items have already been announced in previous IBM z/OS announcement letters. This is a collection of those items being removed. Consideration should be given to this list when planning your migration to a z/OS release". The Flash has been updated for z/OS 1.11
  • White Paper : IBM Encrypted Storage Overview and Customer Requirements
    "This document is intended to contain critical information that you will need to know in order to manage IBM encrypted storage and to comply with IBM requirements for using IBM encrypted storage". It's the Word document you need. It contains chapters on Encryption Concepts, TKLM (Tivoli Key Lifecycle Management), DS8000 Disk Encryption, Tape encryption, Best Practices for Encrypting Storage Environments, IBM Guidelines and Requirements for Encrypting Storage Installations and IBM Guidelines and Requirements for Key Server Management.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Upcoming Events (Belgium) and Webcasts

You know I keep an agenda up to date on this blog, but those reading the blog via RSS (or other) feeds might never see it. So, since I see some really interesting events coming up, I thought I'd mention them here too.

If I have to put some in the spotlights, I think the CICS Web Services Webcasts will be interesting. Oh, by the way, I stumbled across these through @IBM_CICS on Twitter. So Twitter might prove usefully after all ;-). I see some very interesting agendas for the joint GSE meetings on September 23 and 24. And I'm following the three day PoT on zVM and zLinux.

September 11, 2009
GSE Security Group Meeting on z/OS Security

Information and registration

September 22, 2009
Webcast: CICS Web services Part 1 - Development

Information and registration

September 23, 2009
Joint GSE z/OS and GSE Storage Working Group Meeting at IBM Forum Brussels

Information and registration

September 24, 2009
Combined GSE DB2, CICS and SOA Working Group Meeting at IBM Forum Brussels

Information and registration

Webcast: CICS Web services Part 2 - Deployment

Information and registration

September 29, 2009
PoT - Introducing Web 2.0 in Your Company at IBM Forum Brussels

Information and registration

October 9, 2009
PoT - COBOL - PL/I Application Development for IMS at IBM Forum Brussels

Information and registration

October 5-8, 2009
IDUG Europe in Rome

Information and registration

October 14-16, 2009
PoT - Introduction to zLinux & zVM at IBM Forum Brussels
Information and registration

Monday, September 7, 2009

FICON Express8 Performance

In a previous post I pointed out the announcement of the new FICON Express8 cards. Now there's already a white paper on the performance. Here's a graph taken from that study :

You can find the entire white paper over here : 'IBM System z10 FICON Express8 Channel Performance Version 1'.

Thanks to Jan Tits from IBM Belgium for pointing this out to me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Red Hat Webinars : Get the Hype on System z

Yesterday I attended the joint IBM - Red Hat - RealDolmen event on Red Hat on System z. There were some really nice presentations. If you couldn't attend the session, I'll give you the links as soon as they're available on the web.

Red Hat really has a very dynamic Benelux team and I guess it's no different elsewhere. They have dedicated people focusing on System z and if you still think zLinux and Suse are synonyms, then think again. In a couple of years they now have gained a share of almost 40% of the Linux on System z market.

If you want to learn more about it or for that matter about Linux on System z in general, you should really have a look at the three webinars they are giving on Red Hat on System z. I just watched the playback of the first one : 'What's all the Hype about System z?' and I must say it's really worth spending an hour's time on it. It's also a great presentation for people not involved into mainframe up to now. It gives e.g. some explanations on 'mainframe-speak' and it elaborates on things we use to take for granted. And that are exactly the arguments you'll need to convince non-mainframers of the value of the mainframe. Ok, you got the message : check it out !

There are two more webinars coming up :