Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year

Well here's my last post for this year. I won't be posting for a couple of days, but my year review is still there for those in need of some extra reading material.

We don't know what the next year will bring us but I surely wish every one the best for 2011 : A Happy New Year and good health to you and your family.

Thanks to all my readers for stopping by so regularly, to all the people who linked to this blog and to every one who gave me great feedback during 2010.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Come Together

Here's a little video from youtube to close down the year. It's been there for a while already, but it was the first time I noticed it. Just have a look, it'll give you a good feeling to close the year . . . and start again in 2011 . . . with System z or zEnterprise ! ! !

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking back on 2010 - Year Review

Well, another year's gone by and it's time to take a last look back on 2010. To us mainframers, I guess the main event was the announcement of the new zEnterprise this summer as it introduces a whole new concept to the (not only) mainframe world. Still the year started out rather calmly as we did not really see any significant announcements or things happening in January. Or we could mention the ever continuing legal saga between Neon and IBM over Neon's zPrime (you can find a little update over here).

But February already makes up for lack of interesting news. First of all, DB2 10 goes beta and there's a preview announcement of z/OS 1.12 and also an enhanced z/OSMF 1.12. Then there's ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway, the virtual tape solution that emulates tape drives and writes the data to an attached disk array, which now comes available for System z as well. And, strangely enough I also pay some attention to the Power7 engine, allthough I didn't know then, it would become part of a new mainframe announcement, later on this year. Next to that, we see the first signs that the DS8100, DS8300 as well as the DS6000 will gently be replaced by the DS8700 in 2010.

If you want to read some more on ProtectTIER deduplication for mainframe, I payed some more attention to it in a March post. In that month there was also the creation of the new GSE Belux site, which is now used by almost every working group and contains lots of interesting information. We also see that z/OS 1.12 will no longer be available on 34xx tapes.

In April there are quite some storage announcements. In the year of its 10th anniversary, LTO comes with the fifth generation with 1.5TB of native capacity and up to 140 MB/sec native transfer rates. We also have a new DS8700 announcement with 600GB FC drives, 2TB SATA drives. But certainly the most important part of the announcement is Easy Tier with its automatic and manual modes. It takes care of automatic relocation of hot data to SSD drives and it also makes lots of volume migrations non-disruptive. Next to that ProtecTIER now offers many-to-one replication and XIV introduces 2TB SATA drives hereby doubling its capacity.

May shows us it's becoming a habit to add 2 years of extra (priced) support called Lifecycle Extension to the z/OS version that will go out of support in September, so this time for z/OS 1.9. It's also becoming clear that DS6800, DS8100 and DS8300 will be phased out. By the end of 2010 limited upgrades and disk types remain available. And as most of the customers are starting to pay (heavily) on maintenance by now, the message is clear, no ? We see a steady capacity growth of the TS7740 en TS7720 Virtualization Engines, too. BMC also did some catching up with the announcement that quite some additional products (focusing on DB2 utilities) will start using the zIIP from now on.

In June we learn about a new APAR (APAR PM12256) that should allow you to improve the redirection of DRDA workload over TCP/IP to the zIIP from some 45%-50% to about 60%. And you know what : it actually did ! Furthermore VTFM (Virtual Tape Facility for Mainframe Systems) is now also supporting zIIP for most of its workload. VTFM acts as a virtual tape library kind of like CA-VTape that already supported the zIIP pretty much from the beginning. IBM also announced the End of Marketing of their smaller TS3400 Tape Library without offering a replacement.

In July IBM managed to re-arrange my vacation plans by announcing the zEnterprise on July 22, 2010. A small offer for "A new dimension in computing". The zEnterprise did not only bring us a new mainframe (z196), it also introduced the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) and the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager. Together they form the zEnterprise System. For the moment the zBX contains Power7 Blades and/or the Smart Analytics Optimizer. The goal is to use the mainframe as a central system to manage the heterogeneous platforms which are connected to it. In the beginning we will be mainly talking about managing, setting up, monitoring and automating these systems. But in the end we should be talking about a common policy based Workload Management. This will be realized through the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager. Oh, and there was also a new MLC pricing especially for the z196 : AWLC (Advanced Workload License Charge). The larger the customer, the higher the benefit. There's no longer a so-called technology dividend.

August and September were pretty calm after all the announcements in July. I even forgot to mention software announcements on z/OS 1.12, z/OSMF 1.12, z/VM 6.1, DS8700 (z/OS Distributed Data Backup) and PL/I for z/OS V4.1. Some of them were discussed in our latest Realdolmen System z e-zine which also came out in August. PL/I for example should now use less resources than its predecessor as it's using the new instructions on the z196. This seems to become a goal for IBM when launching new software : better performance without increased CPU usage. Which often used to be the opposite in the past.
The Total Solution event for System z organized at the IBM forum was a success and will surely be repeated in 2011.

October was also quite eventful this year. First there were some software announcements like z/VSE 4.3 and the IMS 12 Quality Partnership program (QPP). But the most important software announcement was of course the announcement of DB2 10. And here I continue the story I started with PL/I : "Just by REBINDing you should obtain out-of-the-box CPU savings ranging from 5% to 10% for traditional workloads up to 20% for some specific workloads". Read all the further details over here. Oh, and it's possible to migrate straight from DB2 V8.
On the hardware part there's more exciting news : the DS8800 is announced. I would summarize by saying : faster processor, faster connectivity and larger capacity on a smaller (hence more cost-efficient) footprint. But the message is clear : despite everything said and written, the DS8000 is here to stay for quite some time. Continuity prevails.
Less exciting news on the other hand : zBX will not become available for the z10.

Actually, November and December were rather quiet months. There was an announcement of a price increase for DB2 V8. Next to that there were also some updates on the status of the zPrime and TurboHercules cases, not that there was suddenly anything spectacular to mention.

Conclusion ?
Well, actually just some general remarks. First of all not only LTO had its 10th anniversary this year. Linux on z was also introduced ten years ago in 2000. And I think, when we see the zEnterprise today, that it's partially building on the success of the IFL and the other specialty engines. I'd say Smart Analytics Optimizer is the first System z specialty engine out of the box. So I can only fully support the direction IBM is taking with this zEnterprise. And of course the question raises : will we see a zEnteprise BC next year ? I guess so.

Second, what about cloud ? In your blog, not very present it is, Yoda would say. Well, it actually is, I think, I just don't like the term itself and I still have the feeling it's just a new name for things we've been doing for years (decennia). So I'd like to repeat a quote from James Governor's blog on this : "The next time someone tries to take you through 30 slides explaining the cloud you can just nod sagely, and say… “ohhhh. you mean servers, middleware and apps. Yeah I get it".”

And thirdly I would like to conclude with a trend I certainly like a lot. IBM has shown over the past year that it's thinking cross-brand and cross-product more than ever. Take e.g. StorWize : it introduces Easy Tier from the DS8000 and it takes the easy-to-use graphical interface of the XIV. Taking the strong points of one technology and not being afraid to use them in another product may continue to deliver some promising results in the future. Need I mention the zEnterprise in this context ?

Well, that's it for 2010. Looking forward to 2011 and I hope you will join me in the coming year too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

IBM Real-time compression

If I got this correctly this is how it went :
  • IBM develops a storage product, tries to find a name for it and finds out the name is already taken by another company
  • In the mean time IBM is interested in the compression technology of Storwize and takes over the company
  • Hey, Storwize was the name they had in mind from the beginning for their newly developped product. Now they can actually use this name
  • IBM launches StorWize V7000 and guess what, this has absolutely nothing to do with the former Storwize real-time compression.
  • What about the former Storwize realtime compression then ? Well, how about a new name for this one : IBM real-time compression. What do you think of that ? A new name for the product formerly known as Storwize (*) which has absolutley nothing to do with the new Storwize. Got it ?
So IBM has made two announcements lately on real-time compression : 'IBM Real-time Compression Appliance supports IBM Compression Software (ZG10-0406)' and 'IBM Compression Software provides Random Access Compression Engine (RACE) function for the IBM Real-time Compression Appliance (ZP10-0587)'.

This is some information you can find on the IBM Real-time compression Appliance STN6500 page :
"IBM Real-time Compression is a new storage efficiency solution for primary, active data

IBM Real-time Compression Appliances are the only storage compression solutions that can shrink primary, online data in real time, without performance degradation. By significantly reducing storage requirements, organizations can keep up to five times more information online for analytics, use the improved efficiency to reduce storage costs, or achieve a combination of greater capacity and reduced cost.

By transparently compressing primary data by up to 80 percent, IBM Real-time Compression helps control the growth of storage, reducing the amount of storage to be managed, powered and cooled".
You can find more information on the IBM Real-time compression page and (why not) on the former Storwize site. Or here's a nice introductory video, too :

(*) OK, for those not getting the reference : still remaining a Prince fan too. Prince refused to use his name for a couple of years due to troubles with record companies. So, people referred to him as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince or TAFKAP. Confusing ? Not at all !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No more SSDs on DS8100-DS8300

End of the year is always a busy period when you're in the IBM business. Allthough I guess it's everywhere pretty much the same. So I finally found the time to have a look at the December announcements from IBM and here's a first : 'Hardware withdrawal: Select IBM System Storage DS8000 series features and Licensed Machine Code 5.0 - Replacements available (ZG10-0400)'

Summarizing : all 73GB and 146GB Solid State Disk Drives are withdrawn from marketing. As of today, they can no longer be ordered on any DS8000 machine. On the DS8700 the drive sets and half drive sets will be replaced by the 600GB SSD drive sets. For the DS8100 and the DS8300 no replacements are offered. That means that on these machines the only drives you can still order are the 300GB and the 450GB Fiber Channel drive sets.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Redbooks, Redpapers, Redpieces, drafts, there's not just Redbooks, as you all know of course. But have you heard already about Redguides ? Perhaps not.
"IBM Redguides focus on the business view of technology that solves business issues, provides business value, or enables competitive advantage by applying existing technologies or exploring a roadmap for emerging technologies."
Redguides are more written from a business perspective and it's already indicated in the subtitle : 'for business leaders'. They also start each time with an 'executive summary'. Does that make them less valuable for the technical guys ? No, just the opposite as it puts everything into a broader business perspective. On the one hand, it takes a step back from the really technical aspects but on the other hand it gives you a good general introduction to the topic which is discussed. So, you can use them as introduction to fields you're not particularly familiar with or it might give you extra, non-technical arguments when you have to convince your management about a certain technology.

Is this all too theoretical for you ? I'll give you a couple of examples of Redguides.
  • Using IBM System z As the Foundation for Your Information Management Architecture
    I already mentioned this redguide when talking about the Smart Analytics Optimizer. Just take a look at the content and you'll know what I mean : Information management challenges, Strengths of IBM System z for information management, Exploring the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 for z/OS V1.1. As I said : less technical, good overview.
You want some more, then have a look at these ones : IBM Cognos Business Intelligence V10.1: Intelligence Unleashed, Ready to Access DB2 for z/OS Data on Solid-State Drives and IBM System Storage Business Continuity Solutions Overview.

As I always say : just check them out !

Friday, December 10, 2010

Interactive DB2 for z/OS Catalog Reference

In the days I was still a DBA, every DBA had one right behind his back up on the wall : the DB2 Catalog Poster. The last one I've seen was one for DB2 V8. But lately I came across some references to this interactive, online poster, apparantly from zSystems. So here are the links : DB2 catalog V8 and DB Catalog V9. You can swith from one to another if you want to compare certain catalog tables or columns. I guess, hope, there'll soon be a Version 10 too.

Curious to know whether there is still a paper version, I started googling about a bit and came across these pages.
  • CA Technologies still has a CA Catalog Poster for DB2 9 for z/OS page where you can order the poster for DB2 9.
  • BMC mails you a poster and a cd with a DB2 9 for z/OS Catalog Tables Interactive Guide. You can request them over here.
I haven't seen any references to DB2 10 posters yet, but I'll keep you informed as soon as I come across them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sampling Techdocs - October/November 2010

Here we are with some new documents from TechDocs I recently came across or found while browsing through the latest publications.
  • White paper : DS8000 FlashCopy usage in DFSMSdss
    This White Paper shows some usage examples for FlashCopy in a z/OS environment using DFSMSdss. It contains lots of illustrations and examples. Definitely worth a look.
  • Presentations : IBM® zEnterprise™ System Network Virtualization, Management, and Security (Parts 1 and 2 - Overview and Details)
    In fact I can be very short on this one : everything you always wanted to know about networking on the zEnterprise. Or as the abstract says : "Part 1 presents a high-level overview of the networking topics surrounding the new architecture. (...) Part 2 presents a more detailed view of the underlying architecture, its routing and security structures, and some of its software definitions. Part 2 is suitable for a technical audience that wants to understand more about the design, positioning, and implementation of the new architecture."
  • White paper : Beginners Guide to Coding Java Batch Jobs
    This white paper introduces you to programming Java Batch applications, it explains the differences with COBOL batch and gives you a step by step example for coding a 'Hello World' Java Batch application.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Status on zPrime and TurboHercules

Ok, I just mention this for people who are interested in these legal cases. Let's say I'm just watching this from a distance. Still, I start wondering, are some of you people actually using these products for the moment. Or, as one of the articles says, is time really on IBM's side ?

Here's the article on zPrime : 'Neon zPrime, IBM battle in Limbo'.
The article discusses the lawsuit in the States, the situation in the EC (which might be more favorable to Neon) and the fact that the genie is out of the box. The author indicates that even if Neon loses the battle with zPrime, others will follow and will eventually have a chance to be more successful.

Here's the TurboHercules article : 'Microsoft Quietly Invests in IBM Emulator TurboHercules'.
Well, the title says it all. As Microsoft earlier supported T3, it now also (financially) support TurboHercules. You can find all the details in the article itself.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fellow bloggers

It's easy to follow blogs when you subscribe to their feeds and follow them via Google Reader or Outlook or a desktop application like FeedDemon. Over the last couple of months I added some to my list and I just wanted to tell you about a couple of them, because I think they give some really good information on the subjects they're writing about. I must say most of them are storage-related and not all of them focus on mainframe or mainframe related storage. But hey, we've got to keep an open mind, no ?
  • DancingDinosaur - Mainframe computing in the 21st century
    This is a blog by "Alan Radding (...) a 20-year IT industry analyst and journalist covering mainframe, midrange, PC, web, and cloud computing". The latest posts are mainly about the z196. Don't expect any technical posts (hey, that's why I'm here for) but Alan writes about new workloads, Linux on mainframe, IBM's strategy concerning mainframe ...
  • The Storage Buddhist
    "Philosophical ramblings on storage by a guy who would really rather be sailing. Jim Kelly is a storage architect currently working for IBM New Zealand, in the mighty Pacific Ocean". Don't get this wrong : here are some very good posts with recent subjects like where and when to use SSDs, StorWize, Easy Tier, Quality of Service on StorWize and SVC ...
  • Anthony's Blog: Using System Storage - The view from down under
    "Anthony Vandewerdt works for IBM Australia as a Storage Solutions Specialist. His goal is to share his knowledge and experience of using IBM Storage solutions and learn more along the way"
    I like this one, along with the next one, a lot ! Anthony writes about his own experiences and this definitely includes quite some posts on (installing) XIV. Another nice feature is that we regularly get updates from the IBM support site on every kind of storage.
  • Storage CH Blog - an (IBM) Storage-related Blog
    This blog is by Roger Luethy, Storage Specialist at IBM Switzerland. The focus is mainly on providing information on anything storage related. It has a very wide coverage on redbooks, installations, announcements, other interesting blog posts, competition ... Roger is quite prolific following everything very closely.
So, as I always say : do check them out !

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smart Analytics Optimizer : some documentation

In my last post I already mentioned a presentation on the Smart Analytics Optimizer. As it has become available as of November 19, 2010, I thought I might as well gather some more information on the topic.

You can always start with the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer page, the announcement and its brochure.

Here are a couple of presentations on the subject
There are no specific Redbooks for the moment on Smart Analytics Optimizer (correct me if I'm wrong), but here's a Redguide with a comprehensive overview of the Smart Analytics Optimizer : 'Using IBM System z As the Foundation for Your Information Management Architecture', starting at page 37.

I also found some manuals at the Publication Center
As this is the first optimizer for the zBX, I'm really curious how it will be received by our customers. Any comments are welcome of course !

Friday, November 26, 2010

GSE z/OS Working Group Presentations and ITSO

Last week we had our last GSE z/OS Working Group meeting for 2010 at RealDolmen. You can now download the .pdfs of the presentations
Also mentioned during the meeting were the upcoming ITSO sessions in December.
06/12/2010 - ITSOZ4BE
IBM zEnterprise System Technical Update
07/12/2010 - ITSOZ3BE
IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager Overview
08/12/2010 - ITSOZ1BE
z/OS Version 1 Release 12 Technical Update
09/12/2010 - ITSOZ2BE
Parallel Sysplex Update and High Availability Topics
10/12/2010 - ITSOZ5BE
z/OS Networking Technologies Update

Thursday, November 25, 2010

IBM Announcement : Price Changes on IBM DB2 UDB for z/OS V8

This week there was an announcement about price changes (read : increases) for DB2 UDB for z/OS V8 and related products. The title of the announcement sums up all the products : 'Price Changes on IBM DB2 UDB for z/OS V8, IBM DB2 UDB for z/OS-QMF Distributed Edition V8, IBM DB2 UDB for z/OS-Net Search Extender V8 and IBM DB2 for z/OS Value Unit Edition Software Program Products (ZA10-1062)'

The reason for the price increase (and I summarize) is mainly that DB2 V8 has been around now for more than 8 years and that prices haven't significantly changed during that period allthough lots of functionalities (hence cost reductions) have been added. And "(...) providing the highest quality support on an old version drives additional service costs".

As of April 1, 2011 people still on DB2 V8 will see a price increase with a maximum of 10% for DB2 V8, QMF Distributed edition and DB2 Net Search Extender in all European countries. IBM DB2 UDB for z/OS V8 VUE S&S will have an even higher increase.

I know there's still some time but customers still on DB2 V8 should consider upgrading to DB2 9 or DB2 10 (skip-level migration possible) as DB2 V8 will be end-of-service on April 30, 2012.

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers !

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mainframe Executive November/December issue

It's been roughly four months since the announcement of the zEnterprise and Mainframe Executive (Nov/Dec issue) is putting it into perspective with some articles which are worth your attention. First of all there's 'Behind the Scenes: The Making of IBM’s New Mainframe/Blade Hybrid' where IBM Fellow Jeff Frey gives us a an insight of how the idea for zEnterprise came to life and how people within and outside of IBM needed to be convinced about it.

Next there's 'zEnterprise’s zManager-Tivoli Combination Presents a Fresh Approach to Resource Optimization' elaborating on the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager and how it relates to the already existing IBM Systems Director.

Another article 'IBM’s zEnterprise Delivers Game-Changing Pricing' focuses not only on software pricing (AWLC, remember) but also on hardware pricing. Mind you, the prices are US prices and may vary in other countries. But I think the overall message remains the same.

You see, reasons enough to have a look at this issue of Mainframe Executive. By the way, you can download to .pdf version over here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DS8700 : z/OS Distributed Data Backup Redpaper

A couple of months ago I wrote about z/OS Distributed Data Backup (DDB). As an addition to that, there's now a redpaper on the subject : 'IBM System Storage DS8000: z/OS Distributed Data Backup'.

It describes z/OS DDB and FDRSOS (which, by the way, stands for 'Saveguard Open Storage) and how FB logical volumes can be accessed from within z/OS :
"When the zDDB LIC feature key is installed and enabled and a volume group type specifies either FICON or ESCON interfaces, this volume group has implicit access to all FB logical volumes that are configured in addition to all CKD volumes specified in the volume group. Then, using the appropriate software, a z/OS host can perform backup and restore functions for FB logical volumes configured on a storage facility image for open systems hosts".
It also explains how you have to configure such FBA volumes in HCD and further steps to execute in order to use z/OS DDB and FDRSOS. The authors also give some own experiences on using this solution.

If you need more information, you can find a Share (Boston) presentation on FDRSOS over here.

One last remark : it's no coincidence that the title of this post still indicates DS8700. For the moment DS8800 is not yet supporting z/OS Distributed Data Backup.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More presentations and webcasts on software and software pricing

Interested in software presentations from the last two years about Tivoli, Omegamon, DB2, Websphere, IMS . . . ? Here's a link for you : IBM software for System z - Teleconferences and Webcasts. Normally you will have to register first, but it's really worh your while as most presentations also come with the audio recording.

Still, not enough ? Well @craigmullins (yes, twitter again) pointed me to these two vWLC presentations about AutoSoftCapping (wmv, pdf) and SoftCapping to reduce your monthly software bill (wmv, pdf). Well actually they both start with some explanation on vWLC pricing and then continue with an explanation of AutoSoftCapping. This is a commercial product by a company called softwareonz. I have absolutely no relation to this company whatsoever but still, some of you might be interested in the product. More info and a FAQ can be found over here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recent z/VSE presentations

If you're interested in z/VSE and you want to stay tuned about new presentations, announcements or other interesting items, you might want to follow z/VSE on Twitter. That's how I came across these presentations. As it's very hard to follow everything you're interested in, you might as well carefully choose some sources that will give you this information. That's what I do with Tweetdeck and FeedDemon, two desktop applications. The first one gathers all the tweets (or a selection of tweets) I'm following, the other one collects all feeds of blogs I'm following. No more looking around at several places, it's all there without even having to start up your browser. But of course you all know that by know, or else, you should.

But back to our Topic. In October there was a Technical University in Boston and all z/VSE presentations are gathered at the Technical Conference page of the z/VSE documentation pages.

Some of the presentations :

z/VSE Trends and Directions - incl. Software Pricing and zEnterprise System (1.8MB) - Klaus Goebel, IBM
z/VSE Performance Update (1.2MB)
Ingo Franzki, IBM
z/VSE Tools Overview and Update (3.6MB)
Ingo Franzki, IBM
10 Years for the most successful partnership: z/VSE and Linux on System z (8.7MB) - Wilhelm Mild, IBM
Linux on System z - the Enterprise hub (6.3MB)
Wilhelm Mild, IBM
z/VSE Applications accessing DB2 on Linux on System z (4.8MB)
Wilhelm Mild, IBM
Disaster Scenarios and Backup procedures for z/VSE, z/VM and Linux on System z (3.7MB) - Wilhelm Mild, IBM
WebSphere MQ for z/VSE (2.8MB)
Wilhelm Mild, IBM
Workshop: Rational Developer for System z for z/VSE Development (1.6MB)
Ingo Franzki,IBM and Wilhelm Mild, IBM

And if you page down a bit, there's also some presentations from an earlier Technical University at Berlin in May 2010.

As I always say : do check them out !

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some z/OS 1.12 documentation

As people are starting to migrate to z/OS 1.12 or are just curious about the new functionalities, I thought I might gather some references here to z/OS 1.12 material. Here we go (in no particular order).
  • z/OS Statements of Direction
    Always interesting to check whether there are some Statements of Direction that might have an impact on your shop in the future.
  • z/OS and z/OSMF articles
    Check out the latest z/OS Hot Topics Newsletter for various articles on z/OS, z/OS migration and z/OSMF. There's more on z/OSMF in this IBM Systems Magazine article by Gita Grube Berg and Anuja Deedwaniya, also highlighting the new functionalities in V1R12.
  • IBM Platform Test
    I just want to mention this site again as it's publishing a test report of every z/OS migration simulating a real-life sysplex environment. It's written from the perspective of the system engineer. They "describe the cross-product and integrated testing that we do" and "share our experiences. In short, if any of our experiences turn out to be painful,
    we tell you how to avoid that pain". The latest publication is still on z/OS 1.11 but I expect to see a publication on a z/OS 1.12 migration by december.
Well, that's it for the moment. I'm not going to post next week as I'm on vacation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

IMS New News events

I came across this wonderful summary by Barbara Klein (IBM IMS Product Manager) on the IMS-L Digest List. So all the credits for this post go to Barbara Klein for gathering this information and letting me 'repost' this :

The IMS Operational Best Practices teleconference playback is available at

There is also an upcoming "A Preview of IMS 12" teleconference on November 15 ready for registration at

There is an article on "Enhancing IMS" in the October IBM Systems Magazine Mainframe Extra at

And watch for the upcoming IMS article in the November IMS Systems Magazine Mainframe Extra, when posted, at

Here are upcoming IMS user group meetings found through or websites specified below:

- October 28 Dutch GSE at
- November 2 IMS Users Group Boston
- November 2-3 UK GSE Northamptonshire at
- November 4 IMS Users Group Hartford
- November 9 IMS Users Group Victoria, British Columbia
- November 11 IMS Users Group Seattle
- November 15 SpDug Spain at
- November 17 IMS User Group Phoenix
- November 18, Belgian GSE at

And these big events for IMS:
- Oct 24-29 IBM Information On Demand 2010 in Las Vegas at
- Nov 8-10 IMS Symposium 2010 Darmstadt, Germany at

Thursday, October 21, 2010

z/VSE 4.3 changes to installation and run-time support for CICS/VSE 2.3

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the announcement of z/VSE 4.3 which will become available November 26, 2010. Now, here's an interesting support page that caught my attention via the twitter account of IBM_CICS and IBMzVSE for those who want to prepare an installation of z/VSE 4.3. If you are running CICS/VSE V2.3 and DL/I you surely have to take a look at this page : 'z/VSE 4.3 changes to installation and run-time support for CICS/VSE 2.3'.

The core of the message :
"If you are currently running CICS/VSE V2.3 and DL/I, you will not be able to do so on z/VSE V4.3. The highest supported z/VSE version and release when running both of these products is z/VSE V4.2.

z/VSE V4.3 also no longer provides product installation support for CICS/VSE V2.3. However, providing that DL/I is not required, IBM will not prohibit you from using CICS/VSE V2.3 with z/VSE V4.3. You will be able to install CICS/VSE V2.3 from an extended base tape supplied with a z/VSE V4.2 or earlier system. Alternatively, the CICS/VSE V2.3 sublibraries will remain in place if a Fast Service Upgrade (FSU) is used to upgrade to z/VSE 4.3. All other z/VSE V4.3 changes will be transparent.

z/VSE-supplied support for a CICS coexistence environment will be removed. However, you will still be able to run CICS/VSE V2.3 and CICS Transaction Server for VSE/ESA (CICS TS) V1.1.1 together on z/VSE V4.3."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Announcement : IBM DB2 10 for z/OS improves efficiency and resiliency

Well, that's what all the publicity for the webcast was about during the last weeks. DB2 10 has been announced today : 'IBM DB2 10 for z/OS improves efficiency and resiliency (ZP10-0486)'. I'm not going into too much detail because you know what to do : just attend the webcast this evening at 5 p.m. Brussels Time to get all the details you want and to ask any questions you'd like to.

The announcement is built around four key areas :

Improved operational efficiency for "out-of-the-box" DB2 CPU savings
Just by REBINDing you should obtain out-of-the-box CPU savings ranging from 5% to 10% for traditional workloads up to 20% for some specific workloads.

Unsurpassed resiliency for business-critical information
"Uniquely integrated technology allows DB2 for z/OS and System z to support your efforts of keeping your business running even when things go wrong or you need to make changes. DB2 10 innovations raise the bar on data resiliency through scalability improvements and fewer outages. This release delivers the ability to support up to five to ten times more concurrent active users in a single DB2 subsystem than in DB2 9 (...)"

Rapid application and warehouse deployment for business growth
"Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are more mission-critical than ever as demand for real-time data analysis on operational data increases. DB2 10 delivers significant capabilities to support this need, with better performance and CPU reductions, allowing you to manage and maintain your data in a single platform infrastructure with single audit and security processes, most importantly, which will allow users to obtain a consistent answer based on your core operational data maintained in a centralized location."

Enhanced business analytics and data visualization solutions with QMF
"Query Management Facility™ (QMF) Version 10 allows you to do more with your existing QMF investment than ever before. New analytic and mathematical functions and OLAP support dramatically enhance QMF's ability to deliver new function to business users -- an important option for BI and analytics usage. Providing access to many more data sources via JDBC opens QMF to a wider array of information that can be combined with QMF's known and trusted support for DB2 within the same report."

Prerequisites : you have to be on z/OS v1.10 and it runs on all z/Architecture.

General availability is October 22, 2010.

Some additional comments :

Migration from db2 V8 is also possible, but you might want to read the comments from Willie Favero about this on his blog.

Some related announcements :
'IBM DB2 10 for z/OS Value Unit Edition improves efficiency and resiliency (ZP10-0487)'
'IBM DB2 : New tools help you better manage your environment (ZP10-0349)'

Do attend the webcast in a couple of hours !

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did I miss something

Content removed as kindly requested by Connie K. Beuselinck (IBM System z Hardware Product Planning)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Webcast : DB2 10 for z/OS: Savings right out of the box

I already told you a similar story when I discussed PL/I for z/OS V4.1. And the title of this webcast on DB2 10 is telling you exactly the same message : they both offer more functionalities but at the same time they should consume less resources.

This webcast should give you some good insights on DB2 10 :

"In this session, you’ll learn how DB2 10 for z/OS delivers:

There is also a DB2 10 Beta customer telling his story and there's - what should be - a very interesting Q&A session with some of the most famous DB2 names around.

The Webcast is on Tuesday October 19, 2010, will take about an hour and a half and starts at 5 p.m. CET (Brussels). You can register over here.
You can find more details on Willie Favero's blog. And if you already want to have a better idea of some of the topics that will no doubt be discussed, you can have a look at this z/Journal article : 'Top-10 Features of DB2 10 for z/OS: A Preview'.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hardware withdrawal: IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) Model 001 (2458-001)

I guess this is the first product I know of that's already end of marketing before its Planned Availability Date. The zEnterprise Bladecenter Extension Model 001 for z10 was announced along with the zBX for zEnterprise on July 22, 2010. It was to become available on December 17, 2010.

But now it's already been withdrawn. So, in short this means : no zBX for the z10. You can find the reason for this in the announcement : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) Model 001 (2458-001) (ZG10-0397)'.
"Based on the positive feedback surrounding the zEnterprise System launch, IBM has decided to focus on the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2® for z/OS® with zEnterprise 196 and Unified Resource Manager on the zBX Model 002. This will help clients to simplify and accelerate their time to value using a single approach and focusing on the latest technologies. As a result IBM is withdrawing the zBX Model 001 for System z10®, previously announced on July 22, 2010".
By the way, you might want to view the .pdf of the announcement as the (European) announcement itself is rather illegible.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sampling Techdocs : May 2010 - September 2010

Here we are with some new documents from TechDocs I recently came across or found while browsing through the latest publications.
  • Presentation : A System Programmer Productivity Tool Bag
    Once in a while I just have to mention this one. These presentations from Bette Brody, which are updated regularly are "designed to point to and describe various information to assist in planning, aid in finding pertinent information, tools which are available to make a systems programmer job a bit easier". You will see that the most recent one is from Boston.

  • Presentation : IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 for z/OS , V1.1 Beta Experiences
    This is another Share presentation which gives you some insight on how the Smart Analytics optimizer works and it gives lots of information on the implementation "with query workloads constructed to explore query offload, data mart definition, data mart loading, and offloaded query performance" . If you're interested in the ISAOpt, do take a look at this presentation.

  • Technical document : z/OS Positioning Software for the zEnterprise (z196) Server
    This is another 'evergreen' also by Bette Brody which has now been reworked for the zEnterprise. It gives you lots of information on supported Operating Systems, migration considerations, PSP Buckets . . . It also indicates what's supported by which z/OS release plus a lot of other information.
  • Presentation: Accelerate with ATS: Easy Tier Webinar
    This is a presentation (with audio) explaining how Easy Tier works, what benefits you can get from it, how the automatic mode works, how you can use the Storage Tier Advisor Tool and it also very briefly discusses the Manual Mode.
  • FAQ DS8000 : What is the difference between the SW and LW laser transceivers ?
    If you ever wanted to know exactly what's the difference between the two, then just read this FAQ. I warn you, it goes into such detail, I lost track at the third page (first page is the title, second page is the contents). And if you get through the entire document, I've got a suspicion you already knew all this stuff before you started reading.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Friday, October 8, 2010

IMS 12 (QPP) Quality Partnership Program

Here's the first news on IMS 12 with this announcement : 'IBM IMS 12 Transaction and Database Servers (QPP) deliver extremely high performance and availability at very low cost per transaction (ZP10-0404)'. QPP stands for Quality Partnership Program. It indicates that IMS 12 will be shipped to a selection of customers : "December 10, 2010, is the IMS 12 (5635-A03) Quality Partnership Program (QPP) start date. IBM plans to ship IMS 12 to customers already selected as participants in the Quality Partnership Program (QPP) process". So I gather it will still take some months afterwards before we reach General Availability.

Still, the announcements gives us already a lot of news on this new version. Here are the highlights :

"IMS™ 12 Database Manager enhancements

  • Broadened Java and XML support and tools can ease IMS development and access to IMS data.
  • IMS Fast Path Buffer Manager enhancements utilize 64-bit storage to improve availability and overall system performance.
  • Full Function Dynamic Buffer Pool support, centralized repository support, and enhanced commands simplify operations and improve availability.
  • Extended Address Volume (EAV) support, Database Recovery Control (DBRC), Fast Path and Full Function DB enhancements relieve some capacity constraints.

IMS 12 Transaction Manager enhancements

  • IMS Connect (the TCP/IP gateway to IMS transactions, operations, and data) enhancements offer improved IMS flexibility, availability, resilience, and security.
  • Multiple Systems Coupling (MSC) TCP/IP link enhances bandwidth, improving performance.
  • Broadened Java and XML tooling eases IMS application development and connectivity, and enhances IMS web services to assist developers with business transformation.
  • Enhanced commands, Shared Queues Cross-Coupling Facility (XCF), and centralized repository support simplify operations and improve availability."
I'll keep you informed on any further news about this version.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

IBM System Storage DS8800

Today, IBM made quite some storage announcements on the new Midrange Storwize V7000 with Easy Tier and External Virtualization (ZG10-0340, ZG10-0455), the IBM San Volume Controller V.6.1.0 (ZP10-0449), the DS8700 and the new DS8800. I'm going to focus on the DS8000 family here. But if you're interested in the other announcements as well, I can point you to some very good blogs commenting on them : Storage CH Blog, The Storage Buddhist, Barry White's Blog and Tony Pearson's Inside System Storage. And here's a one-page overview.

What's interesting to notice is that IBM is really integrating components of different systems, taking valuable functionalities of one system and implementing them into the other ones. As you already saw, Easy Tier makes its entrance into the midrange systems. Another example : the (very) easy to use management interface of the XIV is now implemented into the Storwize V7000 and the new SVC.

But now on to the DS8800 and some new functionalities on the DS8700. As you might already've guessed : no more announcements for the DS8100 or DS8300. Here's a picture of the new DS8800 (front view with and without cover).

Click on image to enlarge in new window

As a matter of fact, the DS8800 is the fourth generation of the DS8000 which already dates back to 2004. It's built on proven Power technology and IBM clearly indicates that we should expect more versions to come. It seems clear that customers more value performance, reliability and stability rather than whatever new functions or machines come their way. So it's no coincidence that the DS8800 contains for 85% the same system code as the DS8700.

There were four announcements, just like we've seen in the past, one for each warranty type. It starts with the machine type 2421 with the '1' indicating a one-year warranty up to the 2424 with a four-year warranty (ZG10-0328, ZG10-0329, ZG10-0335, ZG120-0330). The model was 941 for the DS8700 and becomes 951 for the DS8800. To make the announcement overview for the DS8800 complete, there's also an announcement on the Function Authorizations (ZG10-0331).

So What's New ?
IBM POWER6+™ based processors
For the moment we stay with the Power6 but the Power6+ version should deliver a sequential read throughput performance improvement of up to 20% and a sequential write throughput performance improvement of up to 40%.

High-density storage enclosure
High-density frame design improvements
Here's one of the main differences with the DS8700. I've put them next to one another here and you can immediately notice some differences.
Click on image to enlarge in new window

The DS8800 supports only small-form-factor 2.5” SAS drives. The drives offer better performance at the same rotational speeds and since they’re smaller than the 3.5” drives, you can have more drives into a frame. We go from 8 megapacks of 16 drives (128 drives) to 10 gigapacks of 24 drives (240 drives) in the base frame. More drives per frame also means less floor space and since we only need three frames to obtain a 1056 drive configuration, we should also have some 30% of energy savings.

Upgraded I/O adapters
The DS8800 model offers enhanced connectivity with four-port and new eight-port Fibre Channel/FICON host adapters.

More efficient airflow
All disks are now situated at the front of the DS8800. This has the advantage that the hot air is no longer coming out at the top of the system (chimney apporach). With its new Front-to-Back airflow it now fits perfectly into the hot-aisle-cold-aisle data center.

Drive support
We no longer see the FC drives and also the SATA drives are no longer offered on the DS8800. As the announcement says : "The DS8800 offers a selection of disk drives, including Serial Attached SCSI second generation drives (SAS-2) that communicate using a 6 Gbps interface. These drives use a 2.5" form factor for increased density and performance per frame". This leaves us with the following drives :
  • 146 GB 15,000 rpm SAS
  • 450 GB 10,000 rpm SAS
  • 600 GB 10,000 rpm SAS
  • 300 GB SSD drive.
Allthough we see the '10,000 rpm' pop up again, the performance figures I've seen so far look nevertheless promising.

Limited availability
We've seen the same with the DS8700 : some functions that are already implemented on the DS8700 will only become available later on the DS8800. A couple of those are :
  • Quick initialization and thin provisioning support
  • Remote Pair FlashCopy support
  • Easy Tier support
  • z/OS distributed data backup support
General Statement of Direction
There's two interesting statements here and I quote : "It is IBM's current plan and direction to release a single version of machine code that can be used with either the DS8700 or the DS8800. Both products will then support the same functionality and have a common machine code base. IBM is also planning to offer an option for 8Gb host adapters within the DS8700 to support increased host server bandwidth". This should become available in the first half of 2011.

Next to that there was also an announcement for the DS8700 : 'IBM System Storage DS8700 offers new performance options (ZG10-0310)'. Main item here is the announcement of 600GB SSD drives.

Check out the availabilty dates because several dates are mentioned starting at October 22, 2010 up to December 10, 2010 for the SSD drives.

Red Alert : Potential data corruption for IMS or DB2 for z/OS

It's been a while since the last Red Alert. Here's a new one :

Potential data corruption for IMS or DB2 for z/OS following rebuild of lock structure in data sharing mode.


During rebuild of a lock structure in a DB2 V8 or DB2 V9 data sharing environment, two problems may occur when locks are being rebuilt asynchronously into the new structure:

  1. The IRLM may incorrectly conclude that the rebuild is complete before all locks have been rebuilt into the new lock structure. This can cause new lock requests to be granted prematurely, resulting in incompatible locks being held across the data sharing group.
  2. The IRLM may ABEND before all locks have been rebuilt. In this case, locks that were not rebuilt in time will be lost and will not be reacquired on restart.

In both cases potential data loss or data corruption may result either during or following the rebuild event.

Since the problem is in IRLM, all versions of IMS may also be affected.

No recent DB2, IMS or IRLM maintenance has affected the possibility of encountering this issue.

The resolution to the above issues will be provided by IRLM APAR PM23662.

Recommended Action:

Install ++APAR for PM23662 which is now available. If possible, avoid rebuild of IRLM lock structures until the solution for PM23662 is applied to all members of the data sharing group. If rebuild of the lock structure is unavoidable, then consider performing the rebuild with a single active member. This would require quiescing all the other members. If data corruption is detected following a lock structure rebuild, quiesce and restart all members of the group to prevent further problems.

Alternatively,for customers planning to do a Rebuild before the ++APAR can be installed on all members of the data sharing group (e.g. CF upgrade or processor upgrade with ICF in the near term), please contact IBM Support for IRLM to determine if a procedural bypass can be provided in your configuration.

If you want to have en overview of all past Red Alerts, then take a look over here. You can also subscribe on that same page so you'll be notified of any future Red Alert.

z/VSE V4.3 - More capacity for growth

There were already two preview announcements of z/VSE 4.3. The first one already in 2009, the second one was on July 22, 2010 along with lots of other announcements, as you undoubtedly know : 'Preview: IBM z/VSE Version 4 Release 3 offers more capacity and IBM zEnterprise exploitation (ZP10-0380)'. Last Tuesday we saw the 'real' announcement of z/VSE 4.3 : 'IBM z/VSE V4.3 - More capacity for growth (ZP10-0402)'.

The highlights :
  • "Exploitation of innovative IBM® zEnterprise 196 and z10™ technology:
    • Ability to dynamically add logical CPs without preplanning.
    • Large page (1 megabyte page) support for data spaces.
    • Fast Path to Linux® on System z® function in a z/VM® mode LPAR.
    • Use of Adjunct Processor-queue adapter-interruption facility for cryptographic operations.
    • Configurable Crypto Express3 for data encryption and SSL acceleration.
  • Virtual storage constraint relief for CICS® TS workload growth and system consolidation.
  • Four-digit device addresses for ease of use and infrastructure simplification in mixed IT environments consisting of z/VSE, z/VM, Linux on System z, and/or z/OS®.
  • IPv6/VSE V1.1, which provides both an IPv6 and IPv4 solution.
  • Networking, security, and auditability enhancements.
  • DOS/VS RPG II support for CICS TS.
  • DL/I VSE V1.12.
  • Enhanced IBM System Storage® options:
    • IBM XIV® Storage System
    • IBM System Storage TS7680 ProtectTIER Deduplication Gateway for System z"
z/VSE 4.3 will be available on November 26, 2010.

It won't hurt to take a closer look at the details. The announcement e.g. also mentions that z/VSE 4.1 is End ofSupport on April 30, 2011. It also indicates which FSUs (Fast Service Upgrades) are possible. And : "CICS/VSE V2.3 will no longer be offered as part of the z/VSE V4.3 package. The CICS coexistence environment including DL/I DOS/VS V1.10 will be removed".

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Price Changes on Selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products

"IBM announces increases in one-time charges (OTC) and associated Subscription and Support (S&S) recurrent license charges (monthly and annually) and on reseller license charges for selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products.
Increased recurrent licence charges will be effective with the billing period that starts on or after January 1, 2011.
The one-time charge price increases are effective January 1, 2011."
This is a European announcement. For Belgium, this means customers will pay 4% more for new OTC softwares and for associated Subscription and Support (S&S) payments.

Here's the announcement including the list with all the Websphere, IMS, DB2 and other IPLA softwares : 'Price Changes on Selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products (ZA10-1052)'.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Total Solution Event for System z 2010 Presentations

I already talked a few times about the Total Solution Event for System z that took place a couple of weeks ago. For those who attended the event and want to have a closer look at some of the presentations or for those who couldn't make it : you can find them all over here.
Or just click on one of the links below. The presentations are put together per track.
You will find some nice introductory presentations on e.g. the new zEnterprise System (track 3) or on the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer (track 7). But don't forget to check out the z/VSE and Linux tracks too.

And there's more good news. you can already fill out your agendas with the dates of the next Total Solution Event : September 27-28-29, 2011. Ok, ok, I'll remind you of it some time next year.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Webcast : Taming the Information Explosion with IBM Ssystem Storage

IBM is announcing this Virtual Event on storage for October 7, 2010. The Virtual Center is open at 11.45h a.m. EDT (which is 17.45h CET in Brussels). The presentation + Q&A is at 12.00h a.m. EDT. Afterwards you can meet the experts (online) and at 2.00h p.m. there's the live broadcast of the IBM announcement event from New York on October 7.
I mention it because I guess there will also be some mainframe related content.

What's it all about ? I'm just quoting the announcement of the event :
"Today's IT departments are being asked to meet tomorrow's storage challenges with yesterday's solutions. In this special announcement webcast, an IBM storage executive and a recognized storage analyst will discuss a host of new offerings in our storage portfolio.

You'll learn about innovative technologies that are fully integrated and optimized to help tame the information explosion by improving storage efficiency, reducing cost, and minimizing risk. Our webcast will also include the announcement of a new offering that provides the scalability, manageability and enterprise-level capabilities that meet both your business needs and IT budgets.

  • Increase capacity while reducing complexity with a world-class easy-to-use interface.
  • Improve storage utilization and system availability with integrated software functionality.
  • Reduce space and energy requirements with compact packaging."
Registration over here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fourth Blogoversary

"It's been seven hours and fifteen days" (*) , or perhaps even longer since my last post. I admit, I just stopped. Nothing seemed to be interesting enough to blog about or perhaps I encountered my first writers block !!?? Who will tell ? So, I'm going to make a fresh start.

As you can see, I even missed my fourth blogoversary, but hey, better late than never. I already started out blogging four years ago and it appears that even in the entire company (1800 people) I'm one of the pioneers or at least one the more prolific bloggers. What do you think : not bad for an 'oldfashioned' mainframe guy, no ?

So I'm just going to end this post this with the same words I posted last year (and the year before) : 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".

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(*) Yes, a quote from Prince of course. He's coming to Belgium in a couple of weeks, so I couldn't resist that one. My inspiration must be coming back, I guess :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.1

Here's another July 22 announcement : 'IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS , V4.1 delivers performance improvements and usability enhancements (ZP10-0299)'.

I think this PL/I announcement is a bit exemplary for a 'new' approach by IBM. You know what I mean : every new release or version of a particular software (be it DB2, z/OS or other) gives you more functionality but also demands more resources. IBM wants to get rid of this particular image and is apparently going through great lengths to achieve this. Look at presentations / announcements of z/OS 1.12 or of DB2 10, they both have the same message : they should offer more functionality, still demand less resources.

The same goes for this new PL/I compiler. As you know IBM has added some 100 new instructions on the IBM zEnterprise 196. And the new PL/I compiler is making good use of them. Or, as the announcement states it :
"zEnterprise 196 hardware exploitation has been implemented in the Enterprise PL/I for z/OS compiler through the addition of the ARCHITECTURE(9) option. This option enables the use of new instructions from the load/store-on-condition and the distinct-operands facilities to be exploited in the compiler-generated code. This is designed to provide better performing applications tuned for the zEnterprise 196 server. Additional optimization and tuning help to improve the floating-point performance. These changes can improve the performance of generated code without the need for changes to the source code. A performance improvement of over 3% was observed using code generated by Enterprise PL/I for z/OS Version 4 using ARCH(9) when compared to code generated using the Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V3.9."
IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.1 becomes available on September 24, 2010.

You can find some more information on the IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS page and in the Data Sheet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No more delivery on 3480 and 3490 tapes

I told you earlier about this, but the date has changed a few months. Last time there was a modification to the z/OS 1.12 preview announcement saying that product delivery on 3480 and 3490 tapes would be discontinued on October 26, 2010. Now there's a specific announcement about this : 'Software withdrawal: Selected media types for IBM programs (ZP10-0263)'.

Effective February 22, 2011, IBM® will withdraw the following tape media types for IBM programs:

  • 3480 Tape Cartridge - compressed format
  • 3480 Tape Cartridge - uncompressed format
  • 3490E Tape Cartridge
People still using these tape formats bought some extra time, but do look out for another solution.