Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Total Solution Event for System z - 2010 - Amsterdam

It's first organized in Amsterdam, but it's also coming to Brussels in the fall, more specifically from September 8 to 10, 2010. So, for the Belgian customers, mark this already in your agendas. And if you cannot make it in September, here's your opportunity to attend this conference in Amsterdam from March 9 to 11, 2010.

It's a free event, similar to a System z Technical University. It takes 3 days and it's organized around 10 tracks :
Track 1 - System Z For Architects
Track 2 - System Z And Z/Os Update
Track 3 - Getting Started With Linux On System Z
Track 4 - Linux On System Z - Advanced
Track 5 - Information And Data Management On System Z
Track 6 - Enterprise Modernization And New Trends For Development
Track 7 - Z/Os Batch Modernization
Track 8 - Implementing The Foundation For Business Continuum On System Z
Track 9 - Managing And Monitoring Of System Z Workloads
Track 10 - System Z For Managers And Executives
And there are definitely some renowned international speakers. You can find all info over here.

So you have two chances to attend this event : Amsterdam March 9-11, 2010 or Brussels September 8-10, 2010. I'll definitely come back with more info on the Brussels event in due time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DS8700 replaces DS8100, DS8300 ànd DS6800

Of course we were expecting to see the withdrawal of the DS8100 and the DS8300 when the DS8700 was announced last year. But, we see that also the DS6800 is withdrawn from marketing in favor of the DS8700. This is summed up in three announcements.
  • ZG10-0079 : Hardware withdrawal of models 931 (DS8100) and 932 (DS8300) for all DS8000 machine types (242x). They are replaced by model 941 (DS8700).
    As there is no mention of model 92E, the expansion unit, does this mean that you can still add expansion frames to your existing boxes ? And, I didn't notice this before, but apparently the DS8700 no longer has the Earthquake Resistance Kit.
  • ZG10-0067 : Hardware withdrawal of the DS6000 Series Model 522. The DS6800 is also replaced by the DS8700. No mention of the expansion unit either.
  • ZG10-0074 : Revised availability : IBM System Storage DS8700 model conversions. The following model conversions will be available : from 931 to 941 (2-way), from 932 to 941 (4-way) and from 92E to 94E.
The withdrawals become effective June 11, 2010. The model conversions will be available March 26, 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Redbook : System z Mean Time to Recovery Best Practices

"It is interesting to note that I can IPL my production LPAR faster than I can boot my windows pc !" (Comment by Don on this Redbook)
Just drawing your attention with a little quote. This draft has been out for a good month now and only looking at the objectives tells you that this book is definitely worth your while :
  • "Minimize the application down time that might be associated with planned system outages.
  • Identify the most effective way to reduce MTTR for any time that you have a system IPL.
  • Identify things that are under your control and that can make a worthwhile difference to the startup or shutdown time of your systems.
MTTR basically "covers the time period from the instant you start your shutdown process, through to the point where the online applications are available again". This is illustrated below.

Looking at the contents gives you a good impression of the topics that are being discussed.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Systems management
Chapter 3. z/OS tools
Chapter 4. z/OS IPL processing
Chapter 5. z/OS infrastructure considerations
Chapter 6. CICS considerations
Chapter 7. DB2 considerations
Chapter 8. IMS considerations
Chapter 9. WebSphere considerations
Appendix A. Sample IPLSTATS report
Appendix B. Optimizing use of LLA and VLF
Appendix C. Sample IPL statistics data
As I always say, just check it out !

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Short takes

Sometimes I'm making a couple of bookmarks thinking 'I'm going to blog on this'. But then I forget about it or there are other things to talk about. So here's an excellent opportunity to catch up on some of those and to mention some new, short messages.
  • Doing this presales job for quite a few years now, I think my actual experience with DB2 is getting a bit rusty. Did you know there are 16 (yes 16) Explain Tables in DB2 for z/OS. Of course you did. Or, if you didn't, take a look at Willie Favero's blog post about it : 'Explaining the history of EXPLAIN tables' clarifying (pun intentionally avoided) it all to you.
  • On February 26, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CST (7:00 PM Brussels Time there's a technical webinar on XIV. You can register over here. As a matter a fact it's already a second presentation on the topic. The page also mentions the first one which you can download from IBM's ftp site. It's this one : 20091118XIV_pt_1.wmv. If, just like me, you might have problems with the G2M3 codec in Windows Media Player, you can download it from the Citrix site.
  • Here's one I've mentioned before : the z/OS Platform evaluation test team. They run the final verification tests on a z/OS release before it becomes GA. But more interesting : they gather their experiences and publish them. The publication usually comes a couple of months after the product goes GA. So late december they published 'z/OS V1R11.0 System z Platform Test Report for z/OS and Linux Virtual Servers'. which you can find on the Library tab of the site.
  • I also already mentioned the 'Myth vs Truth' System z page before. Well, I have the impression they added some 'myths' (or is it 'truths') about the mainframe. They also incorporated some videos that have been around on Youtube for a while like 'The IBM System z can babysit your kids'. But do take a look at the Myth vs Truth site as well. I like the ending of those clips.

As I always say, just check them out !

Friday, February 12, 2010

Poster : 10 Years of Enterprise Linux on System z

Here's a nice, large poster on 10 years of Linux on System z :

Click on image for larger version in new window

For those who want the original, extra large version, it's over here. Mind you, it's about 20MB. Oh, I use it as a wallpaper. It's surely drawing people's attention !

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What features of z/OSMF are supported on my z/OS Release?

Just came across this Technote on the IBM Support Portal answering the following questions :
"What features of z/OSMF are supported on my z/OS Release ?
Are Basic Sysplexes supported by the z/OSMF Incident Log ?"
The document "provides details about which z/OS Management Facility features are supported in certain z/OS Releases and Sysplex Environments" (Mono-plex, Basic Sysplex and Parallel Sysplex).

If you want more information on z/OSMF :
  • The preview announcement of z/OS 1.12 and z/OSMF 1.12 is over here.
  • The announcement of z/OSMF 1.11 can be found here.
  • There an IBM z/OSMF page with to the bottom also some references to Program Directory, User Guides . . .
  • On Techdocs there's this presentation 'z/OS System Management Facility (z/OSMF) & WSC User Experience' by Bette Brody. It gives a detailed overview, lots of installation, configuration and setup details and concluding with a WSC (Washington Systems Center) User Experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CICS 40 years in 40 minutes

It's been a while since I put a movie on my blog, so here's one about CICS. It's already from mid last year but I hadn't seen it yet.

I came across it via this nice publication I mentioned before : CICS Transaction Server in your SOA. And that's the one that really deserves your attention. The movie is just an eye catcher. The publication really contains lots of information on CICS TS and you can find it on the IBM support portal. So, if you have anything to do with CICS, just have a look at it.

Oh, by the way, no see-eye-see-ess but kicks !

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

IBM announcements - an overview

IBM made quite some interesting announcements this week. I'll just start by giving you a short overview, but I'm surely coming back to some of them in my next posts.
  • DB2 10 goes beta as announced in 'IBM DB2 10 for z/OS launches beta program (ZP10-0015)'. As you can see the naming convention stays the same. The beta program starts on March 12, 2010. No idea when it will become generally available. If you want to know more about its functionalities, then you should take a look at Willie Favero's blog. He has a great post on DB2 10.
  • It's also the time of year for the preview announcement of the next release of z/OS, so here we go : 'Preview: z/OS V1.12 - Heralding a new generation of smart operating systems (ZP10-0110)'. And apparently a new release of z/OS also means a new and enhanced release of z/OSMF : "z/OSMF V1.12 is planned to be expanded with the addition of z/OS Workload Manager Policy Editor functionality, enhancements to the already valuable Incident Log and Configuration Assistant for the z/OS Communications Server functions, and the ability to add non-z/OSMF application launch points and links".
  • Here's one I like particulary because it's new for the System z community. IBM took over Diligent in 2008 because of Diligents de-duplication technology. Up to now the Protectier deduplication Gateway was only available for distributed systems. It's a virtual tape solution that emulates LTO tape drives and writes the data to an attached disk array. But, in the meantime it also de-duplicates the data which can lead up to a 'compression' factor of 25 times. Now this technology has also become available for System z. There are two announcements, one for the hardware and one for the software part. I'm definitely going to elaborate on these announcements in one of my future posts.
  • A bit out of my league perhaps but we also had the announcement of the Power7 engine and some new models. The press release gives a good overview of this new announcement : 'IBM Unveils New POWER7 Systems To Manage Increasingly Data-Intensive Services'. I just have to mention this one as this will normally become the engine for a future generation DS8000.
  • And before I forget it, we already had the announcement of GDPS V3.7 last week : 'IBM GDPS V3.7: Enterprise-wide infrastructure continuous availability and disaster recovery (ZS10-0013)'.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Software withdrawal IBM System z Products

Here's one of the usual announcements on withdrawal of support for a number of System z softwares : 'Software withdrawal and service discontinuance: IBM System z selected products (ZP10-0034)'. You should really go through the list to see whether you have to take some actions.

I'm just picking out a few of them :
  • IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler for z/OS V8.2 is End of Support on April 30, 2011. It's replaced by IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler for z/OS V8.3.
  • CICS Transaction Gateway for z/OS 6.1 is also withdrawn from service April 30, 2011 and is replaced by CICS Transaction Gateway for z/OS 7.2.
  • Print Services Facility for z/OS V4.1 is withdrawn on September 30, 2010 and V4.2 is withdrawn November 18, 2011. They are both replaced by Print Services Facility for z/OS V4.3.
  • It's interesting to see that z/VSE v4.1.2 will be supported until September 30, 2010 instead of the previously announced April 30, 2010. This gives customers some more time to migrate to its successor z/VSE v4.2.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

IBM, Neon and the Cable Guy

Apparently people sometimes need simple images to understand a message. About a year ago we had 'Joe the Plumber' and now there's the cable guy. What's it all about ? Well, here's another episode of the Neon zPrime story. As I told you last december Neon sued IBM. I'm not going into all the legal stuff but Neon said to be losing lots of business because of IBM's actions against zPrime.

Now IBM is striking back (hey, more movie language) and they're making a cable guy comparison :
"Neon's business model expressly depends upon Neon inducing IBM's customers to violate their agreements with IBM. In this respect, it is no different than that of a crafty technician who promises, for a fee, to rig your cable box so you can watch premium TV channels without paying the cable company. Even if it could be accomplished technically, it is neither lawful nor ethical."
Clear language, no ? If you want to read all the details, you can find some articles on The Register, and the Mainframe Propeller Head blog where Mark Fontecchio concludes with "The verbal back-and-forth continued for a few months. Now, it’s a legal back-and-forth".

I'm not sure customers still like this movie . . .
. . . To be continued !

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2010

Just received a mail announcing that the new Arcati Yearbook for 2010 is out. It has every ingredient the previous issues had too. There are some strategic articles on 'Mainframe continuity planning 2.0', 'Leveraging existing mainframe investments in modernization projects', 'Lowering mainframe TCO through zIIP expoitation', 'Software migrations' and 'TurboHercules and Disaster Recovery'.

We have the usual vendor directory listing vendors, consultants and service providers in the mainframe environment. The media guide points out some newsletters, magazines, blogs, user groups and information resources. It closes with some technical information, time tables and the mips tables for the z10 EC and z10 BC are also included.

And of course we also have the annual User Survey : 'The 2010 Mainframe User Survey - An analysis of the profile, plans, and priorities of mainframe users'.