Monday, November 30, 2009

GSE, z/OS and zPrime

About a week ago I attended the GSE z/OS working group meeting here in Belgium. The presentations are now available at the download page of the GSE z/OS website. This time the 'crowd-puller' definitely was P. Viebrock from Neon Software on zPrime. It was Pauls last presentation before returning to the States as he had been touring through Europe to present zPrime. It was my first real presentation I had on zPrime and it also shed some light on how it works. No explicit details, though. You can find that presentation as well on the GSE z/OS site, so I won't go into any details.

Are there any new evolutions on zPrime ? Apparantly customers are going into production with it and they actually seem to pay less. Here's a recent update on IBMs reaction to a customer using zPrime who ordered additional specialty engines. Of course it's up to every individual customer to decide whether to proceed with this or not.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Arcati Mainframe User Survey 2010

No need to introduce the Arcati Yearbook I suppose ? If you haven't picked up your 2009 edition, you can still find it over here. People reading this blog know I like this yearbook . . . a lot. That's why I would like to invite you to fill out the Mainframe User Survey for the 2010 edition.

That's it ? No, not exactly. I must admit that last year I was a bit disappointed by the number of participants : only 76, while the document gets downloaded by at least 10,000 people. As Trevor Eddolls also indicated on his blog : "The more users who fill it in, the more accurate and therefore useful the survey report will be". So, just don't think the others will fill it out. If you've seen the Series Lost, you should know by now how hard it is to track down the others, so you'd better do it yourselves.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

System z9 : withdrawal from marketing June 2010

Here's the EMEA announcement letter for the withdrawal from marketing of the z9 BC and the z9 EC : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System z9 - Replacements available (ZG09-0421)'.
"Effective June 30, 2010, IBM® will withdraw from marketing the IBM System z9® Business Class (z9™ BC) and System z9 Enterprise Class (z9 EC), all models, features, and upgrades. This includes all upgrades from IBM eServer™ zSeries® 800 (z800), or IBM eServer zSeries 890 (z890), to z9 BC and IBM eServer zSeries 900 (z900), or IBM eServer zSeries 990 (z990) to z9 EC."
So if you want to do any upgrades on your z9 systems, do it before June, 2010.
Replacements are of course the z10 models.
Mind you, withdrawal from marketing has no impact on the support of the z9 machines.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

IBM Systems Magazine November/December issue

There's a new issue of IBM Systems Magazine. As usual there's an online version and a .pdf version. And I must say, there's a lot of content in this issue. Topics covered are :
  • Features for the next release of DB2 (DB2 X)
  • Security features of DB2 9
  • IBM's Solution Editions
  • Managing BI with IBM Workload Manager
  • Active Energy Manager (focus on using external metering devices in order to monitor more than just IBM servers in your data center)
  • RMF Magic V5

But there's more. I know there's always lots of information to be found on new releases of z/OS, but here's a nice focus on DFSMS talking about performance enhancements (cf. multitrack support of FICON), support of SSD (new policies "to help direct new data'set allocations to SSD volumes", tooling to help identify existing data that might be moved to SSD volumes) and dynamic volume-expansion (DVE).

I'd also like to draw your attention to the article on IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer which promises to reinvent the Data Warehouse. It's a very interesting article indeed presenting quite a new approach to data warehousing. I think this still has to be announced but it sure seems to offer us a first view of the hybrid System z future IBM showed us in the various announcements of their Dynamic Infrastructure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Migrating to Linux on System z extra reading material

Just last week I gave you some reading material (mainly Redbooks) for people considering a migration to Linux on System z. And here's already an update on that post. I think this only indicates it is really getting a Hot Topic generating lots of interest from all sides.

The article I want to add to this series is 'Linux Installation Planning' by Mark Post published on the z/Journal z/VM & Linux on System z Spotlight. Here's the introduction to the article :
"For many mainframe systems programmers, trying to figure out how to install Linux, whether on the mainframe or midrange hardware, can be an extremely frustrating experience. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before. This article offers insight on Linux installation considerations and provides the general information you’ll need for a successful installation as well as what groups you’ll need to get involved. You won’t receive any “answers” from this article because each shop is too different for anything generic to fit well with your environment. This article will provide you with enough insight to ask the right questions. If you get all the answers, the job of installing Linux should be fairly straightforward."
Topics covered are : work together with network, storage and security people, the right architecture, disk storage selection, application selection and requirements, file system selection, backup and restore, network requirements, management tools . . .

By the way, you know you can still get the free evaluation version of z/VM 5.3 and that you can get evaluation versions of SLES or RHEL or free versions of e.g. Fedora ?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IBM Announcement : Crypto-Express2 withdrawal on z10

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago while talking about the z10 EC GA3 - z10 BC GA2, there was a statement of direction on the withdrawal of the Crypto-Express2 card on both z10s. This has now been officially announced : 'Hardware withdrawal: Crypto Express2 and Crypto Express2-1P features (ZG09-0946)'.

Effective December 31, 2009 Crypto Express2 with two ports (FC 0863) and Crypto Express2-1P with one port for the z10 BC (FC 0870) will be withdrawn from marketing. They will be replace by the Crypto-Express3 (FC 0864) and the Crypto-Express3 1 port card (FC 0871). As you know, the one-port card is only available on the z10 BC.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

RealDolmen System z e-zine N° 14

The 14th issue of our RealDolmen System z Newsletter for our Belgian customers was just released today. As we target the Belgian market, those who read Dutch or French can find this issue and previous ones on the RealDolmen Website : Dutch versions and French Versions.

As there were a lot of announcements on October 20, 2009 we focus on these various announcements including z10 EC GA3, z10 BC GA2, z/VM 6.1, z/OS 1.11, z/OSMF, DS8700, TS7700 and TS3500 enhancements. Furthermore we also have some Hints and Tips, EOS dates for software and operating systems . . . and lots of other interesting stuff.

Enjoy the reading !

ABCs of z/OS System Programming Volume 12 : WLM

Last time I mentioned this series, there was still one gap in the thirteen part series : 'Volume 12: Unknown'. This has changed now as there's a draft available of this redbook which you can find over here. Here's a brief summary of what's being discussed in the four chapters of the book.
  • Chapter 1. Workload manager with an introduction on WLM, workloads, service policies, service classes, service class goals, subsystems supported by WLM . . .
  • Chapter 2. WLM ISPF application on using the application for the creation of service definitions, policies and classes . . .
  • Chapter 3. WLM goal management on WLM functions, performance index (PI), PI calculation, CPU delays, I/O priority management, IRD, (Hyper)PAV . . .
  • Chapter 4. WLM miscellaneous on dynamic load balancing, (resource group) capping . . .
Of course there's a lot more than what I just mentioned, but I hope you're interested enough by now to go and take a look. And as I always say : just check it out !

Monday, November 2, 2009

Migrating to Linux on System z reading material

The picture I used last week came from the redbook : 'Practical Migration to Linux on System z' which was published a couple of weeks ago. This is a well-written publication on migrating/consolidating workloads to Linux on System z. It gives you a high-level tchnical overview on how to tackle such a migration project. Or as the authors state it : "(...) we attempt to present an end-to-end view of the technical challenges and methods necessary to complete a successful migration to Linux on System z". I particularly like the part on the migration analysis starting with z/vm and Linux on system z technical aspects (not too technical) and further focusing on Network analysis, Storage analysis, Application analysis, Database analysis, Backup analysis, Security analysis, Operational analysis and Disaster Recovery and Availability analysis. There are also some example cases.

So for some one who's (even only remotely) considering this kind of migration, this is definitely worth a read.

If you want to go a bit further down this path, you might also be interested in one or more of the following publications :
  • The manual Getting Started with Linux on System z (SC24-6194-00). I really want to quote the titles of most of the chapters of this manual as it gives you a wealth of technical information on the topic : About z/VM, Planning for Linux Virtual Servers, Changing the System Configuration, Configuring the Directory Maintenance Facility, Configuring TCP/IP, Restarting z/VM and checking the system, Creating your first Linux virtual Machine and installing linux, Cloning Linux Virtual servers . . .
  • Redbook z/VM and Linux Operations for z/OS System Programmers. I guess the abstract of this book really sums up accurately what it's about : "Although other books have been written about many of these topics, this book gives enough information about each topic to describe z/VM and Linux on IBM System z operations to somebody who is new to both environments. This book is intended for z/OS programmers and system programmers who are transitioning to the z/VM and Linux on System z environments and who want a translation guide for assistance." You can take this translating very literally. Very often z/VM concepts are compared to the z/OS ones in order to make clear how they are similar to or different from z/OS.
So, if you're about to start with Linux on System z, you have (to my opinion) some nice starting material gathered here, no matter whether or not you're already familiar with z/VM or Linux (on System z).