Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

Well here's my last post for this year. If you missed my year review, just scroll down a bit.

We don't know what the next year will bring us but I surely wish every one the best for 2012 : 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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A customer mainframe story

This testimonial was referred to quite a lot a couple of months ago. I wondered why and a little demon whispered in my ear that it was because in this male bastion, there finally was a woman explaining why you should use the mainframe. No idea, anyway, I like this last 2011 feelgood story on my blog. So, just have a look at it too.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mainframe Movers

Das Pop (a Belgian Rock group) has a song called Feelgood Factors and that was exactly what popped into my mind when I saw this video some time ago. Just makes you feel good to be a mainframer. Hey, it's the end of the year and I'm in a good mood. So, just enjoy this one too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Chorus, Christmas and a New Mainframe

Simplifying mainframe management and gathering mainframe knowledge has become essential over the last years. IBM started off some years ago with its Five Year March to Simplification with, as the result of it, z/OSMF. CA Technologies came up with its own solutions like Mainframe Chorus. And so, they also made a little christmas song with their Chorus and an explanation of their message.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 : Linux celebrates its 20th anniversary

IBM celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, but there was another one who grew big in just 20 years : Linux. Remarkably enough last year we celebrated its 10th anniversary on the mainframe. So more, than half of its existence, Linux was available on the mainframe. I promised myself not to mention Windows in this context, so I won't. I'll wait another ten years for that.

So here's a nice, short history of Linux.

Want to see some more : check out the Mac vs PC vs Linux ads on youtube.

Friday, December 23, 2011

IBM's Five in Five and Social Media

IBM has been launching its 5 in 5 predictions for quite a couple of years now. I first mentioned them at the end of 2007. Why did I add social media in the title ? Well, at the time there was a press release with a video, yes, but you had to download it to watch it. So, I uploaded it to youtube (watch it here). This is just an example of how we have come to take social media and also services like youtube for granted. Four years ago, it was still completely new for (parts) of IBM and now IBMLabs uploads it immediately to youtube, I guess, without even thinking about it. Obviously, they didn't see that one coming . . .

So, here we have again 5 predictions that might become reality within 5 years. Are they realistic ? Frankly, I don't think so. Can I prove it ? No, but . . . first take a look at this year's issue.

And now we move on to the first one I've found which dates from about 5 years ago. We can check which one of those have become true. And you'll see : mind reading should no longer be a prediction in 2011, it should already be reality.

If, just for fun, I should have to choose one prediction to become true I would pick the next one. And though it's presented with a woman, I think men would even love this more. I know I would. So for all the men who hate shopping or who think shopping with their wives takes too long. Here's the solution. Well, almost !

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Looking Back on 2011 - Year Review

Well, another year's gone by and it's time to take a last look back on 2011. If you want the management summary now, I'd say : z114, heybrid computing, Linux and Windows on zBX. But let's not rush and just start off with January. First of all we saw the new IWP pricing : if you have running some IPLA software in an LPAR (actually it's restricted to some Websphere products) then you might see a reduction of the MSUs of some MLC softwares (CICS, IMS) that are also running in that same LPAR. On the other hand, there were quite some software price raises this year. It started off with CICS TS V3 and some Websphere, Tivoli and DB2 IPLA software. And Windows on zBX was mentioned for the first time.

In February I found out how important social networking can be ànd how willing people still are to help each other. I got news from IBM Techline that you always have to have SSD in your DS8000 to use Easy Tier, even the manual mode. In just a couple of days Nick Clayton (IBM) and Antony Vandewerdt (IBM, Aussie Storage Blog) contradicted this. Thanks, guys. You could actually hear my sigh of relief that I hadn't been telling any lies to my customers. IBM also changed its statement of direction on ESCON telling us that after the z196 (and implicitely the, yet to be announced, z114) ESCON would be a thing of the past. No carry forward either. Period.

I still remember that in March I was really excited about the preview of z/OS 1.13. This had to do with changes to the Batch Runtime environment and lots of improvements/additions to z/OSMF with software deployment, Storage DASD management and Capacity Provisioning. And if I saw a positive thing about social media and such in February, the zPrime Saga gave us a downside of all this. Alan Radding aka DancingDinosaur wrote a very enthousiastic piece on zPrime mentioning really amazing savings for one company. But the same day the post had already dsiappeared. So beware, you can almost never delete all traces of anything you wrote. I had the post in my feed reader and you can't come and delete a feed on every computer that's out there.

In April I wrote an extensive piece on the DataPower appliance on zBX (XI50z). I still think these 'accelerators' are an added value to the hybrid zEnterprise and you can be sure there's more to come of these. The mantra of this year (whether you like it or not) : some more price 'changes', this time on the zSecure products and all FWLC products. Further, there's the announcement of CICS TS V4.2 and a clear statement of direction by IBM to deliver Linux on zBX in Q3 and Windows on zBX in Q4, which they did. There was also a preview of z/VSE V5.1 and we saw the first DB2night shows for z/OS.

May gave us the first wave of storage announcements of 2011 with innovations on nearly every mainframe related storage component. The DS8000, which by now definitely only means DS8700 and DS8800 gets Easy Tier V2, the priority manager ... We also had the new TS1140 tape drive.

In June we finally see 'The End' for zPrime and we can now put the link to our February story. zPrime has also become a thing of the past. And of course there was some great news for our own company. From now on, with the support of IBM, we're teaming together with Sogeti for mainframe opportunities where we both can mean an added value for each other.

Why IBM chooses July to announce a new zEnterprise system is totally unclear to me. Every one (at least in Europe) is on vacation in that period. Still, great announcement of the z114 which gives the Business Class customers also the opportunity to have a real zEnterprise System. I'm not going into too much detail (you can read everything over here) but, when we take a look at the really new stuff, it introduces the new PCIe I/O drawer and the Intel Blades for the zBX. There is no technology dividend for the z114 but there's a new and better pricing : AEWLC. But, better is a relative word because, here we go again, it sets off against a price raise of 5% for all EWLC customers starting January 2012. Next to that there's also the announcement of the new 3592 Model C07 tape controller which now includes library management functions. This makes the 3953-L05 Library Manager unnecessary for any mainframe customer.

After all these announcements August and September were really calm months. We saw the obvious thing happen : the 3953-L05 Library Manager was actually withdrawn from marketing. Just like last year, the Total Solution event for System z organized at the IBM forum was a success and there are already plans in place for a new edition in 2012.

October was also quite eventful this year. There were the software announcements of Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.2 and of (who said this was old and obsolete ?) IMS 12 Transaction and Database server. On with the storage announcements with XIV Gen3 with support of 3TB SAS drives and a mobile monitoring dashboard for iPad. We also see StorWize expanded to the StorWize Unified System supporting NFS/CIFS/FTP/HTTPS/SCP file protocols in addition to existing block protocols (iSCSI and FCP). DS8000 gets some new features supporting an additional frame on the DS8800, supporting three drive tiers for Easy Tier and I/O Priority support for System z volumes. And don't forget the new mainframe announcements with Windows on zBX, IDAA (IBM's DB2 Analytics Accelerator) and, last but not least, the Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS Media making it possible to keep using z/OS FICON attached storage when migrating TSM to another environment.

As last year, November and December were rather quiet months. So I took the opportunity to write a bit more detailed on the Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS Media and IBM's DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA).

Conclusion ?
Software pricing is always a delicate story but it surely represents the larger amount of the mainframe cost. And I can tell you that most customers weren't really happy with all the price 'changes' that came their way in 2011. Especially the 5% price raise on the EWLC pricing was not very kindly received. Even if it's justifiable, you know how it goes : it's the perception that counts.

Here's a great role for hybrid computing. Now that zBX is also available on the Business Class Systems, I think that 2012 will be a crucial year for the breakthrough of it. We have more than a year of experience with it on the z196 and with that experience it's time to convince each and every manager that this could really be a valid alternative for lots of management problems. And I also think accelerators will play an important role in this. The more mainframe related workload we can run on the zBX, the easier it gets to justify this is a really cost effective platform.

That's why I still find it a wrong signal to the customers to put the IDAA on a separate Netezza box. I'd rather have seen IBM waited a bit longer and came up with a really integrated solution. How can you justify to your management you will run DataPower on a zBX and the successor of Smart Analytics Optimizer on a separate box ?

Well, that's it for 2011. Looking forward to 2012 and I hope you will join me in the coming year too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last short takes of 2011

You know I usually try to conclude the year on a lighter note, if possible with a couple of videos. Well this year won't be any different. First of all I'm still presenting you some reading material with these short notes, then I still owe you my year review and after that I'll come up with some videos, commercials etc. that will hopefully brighten up your last working days of 2011 a bit.

Sor for those who first still want to have some serious reading material . . .
  • I just received the Winter issue of zJournal. You can download it over here. I think it's a great issue this time. It has a comprehensive article on the IDAA (IBM's DB2 Analytics Accelerator). Some personal columns like e.g. from Marcel den Hartog (IT Management) and Mark Lillycrop (Recession Pushes Mainframe prices up). Too much to mention of course but, VSE people, do take a look at the column of Pete Clark who's already listing all 2012 events. And there are quite some articles on CICS like e.g. on the scalability enhancements of CICS TS 4.2.
  • Which brings me to the next reading material : the CICS Portfolio eNewsletter that starts off with a 2011 overview. It also gives an overview of 2011 product deliverables, gives you a lot of links to documentation, redbooks, demos, webcasts ... And there's also a preview of 2012 events. You can subscribe to this eNewsletter over here.
  • Looking for more webcasts, here's a link to the upcoming January System z Software Webcasts and Teleconferences. And if you want to keep up with the next months, then just follow IBM System z events on Twitter.
Well, as I always say : just check them out !

Friday, December 9, 2011

Potential DS8700/DS8800 Loss of Access due to repeating device recovery with the PTFs for OA34661 installed on z/Os

Call this a Red Alert for the DS8700 and DS8800 (DS8100 and DS8300 are not affected by this). This is the entire title 'Potential DS8700/DS8800 Loss of Access and Job Abends on Release 6.2 due to repeating device recovery with the PTFs for OA34661 installed on z/Os releases 1.11 through 1.13. Also base z/OS 1.13 clients are exposed' and you can find all details over here.

In short, people running z/OS 1.11 or higher who are using zHPF and have Release Code 6.2 installed on their DS8700 or DS8800 should read on.

The content of the notification gives you a clear view of what's happening :
"With z/OS OA34661 support and Release 6.2 DS8700/DS8800 microcode, System z High Performance FICON (zHPF) supports additional workloads using QSAM, BPAM, and BSAM access methods as well as provide improvements for DB2 list prefetch processing. These changes expand the type of applications that can now use zHPF, including applications performing format writes. The zHPF support must be in both the host system and DS8000 in order for the new functions to be allowed. In general, the access methods exploiting the new zHPF support do not use format write/update write intermixed in the same channel program. However, Media Manager does have the ability to generate zHPF channel programs with format write/update write intermixes, and the new support for format writes allows it to be done using zHPF. When such an intermix is processed in the control unit using a zHPF channel program, repeating panics will occur leading to fenced host adapter cards and potentially a loss of access issue."

Have a look at the notification page on how to avoid or resolve this particular problem.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS and the DB2Night show

In my last post I mentioned IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS or IDAA (pronounce : Eye-Da) as the successor of the Smart Analytics Optimizer. I didn't want to enter a discussion of why IBM chose to abandon the zBX ship and keep the Netezza hardware boxes. But I just have to repeat my statement I also made in my previous post. Obviously it's a very specific hardware configuration that doesn't seem to fit onto the zBX and there's also very little configuration about it. But you can say the same of every appliance like e.g. the DataPower appliance. And I still think it somewhat undermines the whole zEnterprise message with the centralized role of the mainframe and the management of the distributed appliances on the zBX including Workload Management. I guess (hope) there will be some (financial) regulations for people whe bought a zBX solely for the ISAOPT and who are now moving on to IDAA. I won't even think about the possibility of next generations of IDAA running on zBX.

Let's move on to the real subject of this post : the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA).

IDAA delivers even faster response times for your Data Warehouse queries with the Netezza technology. The DB2Night show of last Monday was a presentation by Namik Hrle on this very IDAA and the replay is available over here. If you're even only remotely interested in the technology, it's definitely worth an hour's time. Topics discussed are :
  • Business and Technology drivers
  • Key design and operational features
  • DB2 integration explaining every DB2 parameter, Explain functionalities etc.
  • Powered by Netezza
  • Supported Workloads
I won't go into any detail as Namik Hrle does a far better job explaining all the aspects. Just a few quotes to tease you into watching the replay
  • You can also use the Explain function when you don't have the IDAA yet as a kind of projection tool
  • Loading takes about 0.87TB up to 1.5TB per hour depending on the data
  • There's a nice slide summing up the conditions for routing queries to the IDAA
  • There's a compression ratio of about 4x
  • IBM is looking into refining the updating of the IDAA data based on inserts and/or updates rather than whole partitions or tables now.
So, do have a look at the replay. Furthermore you can also find information about IDAA on the IBM page and in the IDAA Bruochure. I particularly like this phrase from the brochure : 'The Forgotten Query'. You can guess what it is : it's that query you tried running optimizing it to the bit and finally deciding there was neither time nor resources to run it. Well, have another look at it now !

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

IBM Announcement : some System z software withdrawals

Today IBM announces some System z software withdrawals : 'Software withdrawal: IBM System z selected products - Some replacements available (ZP11-0602)'. There's a couple of softwares I would like to mention here. It's about withdrawal from marketing dates, so it's about last dates you can order these softwares. So, of course, this is just a reminder for those very few who are not always up to date and still want to order these products.

The first one is IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2® for z/OS V1.1. This one will be WDFM on December 12, 2011. It will be replaced by the new Netezza solution : IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS V2.1, which was announced along with a lot of other products on October 12 of this year. This complements an earlier announcement with the hardware withdrawal of the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer (ISAOPT) feature on the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) (ZG11-0350). This also means that this Netezza Solution is running on Netezza hardware and no longer on the zBX. This strikes me as being completely against the entire argumentation IBM built up so carefully in favor of using the zBX as opposed to loosely coupled distributed solutions, no ?

A couple of other softwares being WDFM are :
  • IBM z/VM 5.4 on March 12, 2012
  • IBM z/VM 6.1 on November 28, 2012
  • IBM z/VSE 4.3 on June 25, 2012
  • IBM DB2 for z/OS 9.1 on December 10, 2012
  • IBM PSF for z/OS 4.3 on September 30, 2012

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Alert : Fix for APAR PM51655 is needed on DB2 10 for z/OS data sharing environments

Here's a new Red Alert:

Fix for APAR PM51655 is needed on DB2 10 for z/OS data sharing environments as a prevention of potential data loss

BM has become aware of potential data loss when running data sharing under any mode of DB2 10 for z/OS.

DB2 10 for z/OS takes advantage of a CFCC/XES performance enhancement by allowing repeated READ CASTOUT CLASS requests to the CF to utilize a restart token and retrieve from the queue where the previous read left off . A defect has been identified in this implementation of the enhanced READ CASTOUT CLASS in DB2 10 for z/OS.

APAR PM51655 will revert the DB2 10 behavior of the READ CASTOUT CLASS to the DB2 V9, and prior releases, behavior.

Recommended Actions:

It is strongly encouraged that all DB2 10 for z/OS data sharing customers apply the fix for the APAR PM51655 as soon as possible. The corrective maintenance can be applied incrementally across the members of a data sharing group. A group wide restart is not required.

The ++APAR correction for PM51655 has been placed on the FTP server and will remain there until that time that the DB2 10 for z/OS PTF (UK73864) can be ordered via the normal service delivery channels. Access to the FTP server is as follows:

FTP Server:
Directory: /fromibm/im/
Filename: PM51655.HDBAA10 Note:
The file is binary, not tersed.
Adding a comment : it's not a straightforward link because you first have to login to the ftp server. If you don't remember your userid : anonymous without password works as well.

If you want to have an 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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS Media 6.3

I mentioned this one already in a previous post as part of the October 12 annouInfocncements. So, I thought I'll take a look at the IBM site for some more information on this, but I must say it was a bit disappointing. When you go to the Tivoli Storage Manager page, there's not even a reference to TSM for z/OS Media.

But when you want some more content, there's the InfoCenter with a couple of entries ('What's New' and 'TSM for z/OS Media Overview'). And for those of you who prefer a .pdf there's the 'Installation and Configuration guide' which you can find over here. But if you want a good introduction, you can take a look at this presentation Bart Claeys (IBM Belgium) gave at the Total Solutions Event in September in Brussels. Mind you, it was still a preview at the time, but I haven't found any more recent, public presentations about this.

For the lazy ones, I mean, for those with limited time, let me summarize some of it. The deal was that TSM V6 was never announced for z/OS leaving many people with sometimes quite large investments in FICON attached material like Tape Libraries and Virtualisation Engines in the cold. So you had to convert to another platform that was not able to connect to your FICON attached equipment.

Well now, TSM for z/OS Media is the missing link between both. You can now migrate to V6 but you can still write your data via z/OS to your FICON attached equipment. The concept is also "designed to allow the tape volume and stored data that was previously inventoried by the Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS V5.5 server remain accessible on the z/OS system by the Tivoli Storage Manager V6.3 server on AIX or Linux for System z without having to move the tape volume from the z/OS managed tape library" (quote from the announcement letter).

This is a representation of how TSM for z/OS 5.5 operates

Click on image for larger version in new window

TSM for z/OS V5 takes care of
  • Database functions: nodes, administrators, policy, tracking of data
  • Communication with clients, Admin Center, other TSM servers
  • Performs the I/O to FICON (and other) tape and disk

Click on image for larger version in new window

And above is the new situation, with TSM V6 server on AIX or Linux on z taking over most or all of the functionalities of TSM for z/OS V5. But instead of attaching to storage devices, it can also communicate with the TSM for z/OS Media. So you can preserve your previous FICON investments. There are more details in the presentation, for those who are interested.

I'll just give you a quick overview of the migration path
  • Install TSM 6.3 server on AIX or zSeries Linux
  • Install z/OS media server
  • TSM for z/OS 5.5 server move all storage to TAPE
  • Extract and Load : TSM utility extracts records from TSM 5.5 z/OS database and loads into TSM v6 database on AIX or zLinux. There is no need to migrate data already written to tape by TSM on z/OS. So you can preserve stored archive (and backup) data avoiding time-consuming migration of data from existing storage pools.
  • Begin backups with new distributed server
  • Take TSM for z/OS 5.x server off line
Last but not least : pricing. Well, the goal seems to be to make this a cost neutral operation from a licensing perspective. I know, pretty vague, but I have no experience with it for the moment. So, do contact IBM or your local BP to sort this out with you, because it also seems to depend on the type of licensing you have now.

Planned availability date : November 11, 2011.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ITSO System z World Tour coming to Belgium

I received this mail a couple of weeks ago from Jan Tits from IBM Belgium. So, here's the contents :
"The ITSO system z Tour consists of 5 workshops completely devoted to the latest IBM System z Platform technology, taught by several ‘guru’ members of the IBM ITSO Department of Poughkeepsie. These workshops are for anyone involved in the setting up of infrastructure hardware and software, necessary for the optimal use of the most recent mainframe models of the IBM System z
As always, the ITSO tour also stops in Belgium. Don't miss this opportunity!"

IBM z/OS Latest Version Technical Update (1.13)28/11WRZ002BE
IBM latest enhancements to sysplex, performance, and availability in z/OS29/11WRZ003BE
IBM zEnterprise System Technical Update30/11WRZ001BE
IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager Overview1/12WRZ015BE
Building a service-oriented cloud architecture using Linux on IBM System z2/12WRZ004BE

Don't panic when you live in another part of the world. If you're lucky, it might still be coming your way, too. Check it out over here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sampling Techdocs - September-October 2011

Here I am again with my bi-monthly review of interesting TechDocs documents I came across while browsing through the latest publications.
  • FAQ : Running Oracle Database 11gR2 on Linux® on IBM System z™ Servers
    This is a nice addition to the FAQ I referred to last time focusing on theOracle support for Oracle Database 11g Release 2 running on IBM System z. It also talks about upgrade paths, new features and planning for future patch set updates.

  • Flash : DS8000 HyperPAV - Why is there IOSQ time with HyperPAVs
    Interesting flash on HyperPAV, why you can still have IOSQ time and how you can detect it from your RMF reports.

  • Presentation : IBM z/OS + DS8800 Synergy
    This is a very recent prezsentation on System z and DS8800 synergy focusing on three key areas : Performance (zHPF, zWLM and DS8000 I/O priority Manager ...), Business Continuity (HyperPAV, HyperSwap improvements ...) and Management&Growth (1 TB EAVs, Quick Init for CKD Volumes, Dynamic Volume Expansion ...). And ... it comes with the replay of the presentation.
  • Workshop materials : zEnterprise zManager Workshop
    This is the material from one of the Wildfire Workshops on System z Unified Resource Manager. It's mainly the presentations of course (with or without the speaker notes). Topics covered are : Introduction&Overview, Platform Performance Management and usage scenarios.
  • FAQ : zHPF
    I think anything you want to know about the High Performance FICON feature is in there : functions, features, prereqs, monitoring . . .
  • Presentation : TS1140 Tape Drive and Control Unit DFSMSdss Performance results
    This test shows performance results from a "DFSMSdss Full Volume Dump and Restore from disk, with the same amount of data per tape drive, to 3592 E06/C06 vs 3592 E07/C07". It also has a nice 1-page slide comparing the two controllers. The results ? Somewhat predictable ? Yes. The details ? Go and have have a look !
Well that's it for now. And, as I always say : just check them out !

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Alert : Fix for XES APAR OA37264 needed for z196 GA2 or z114

Here's a new Red Alert:

Fix for APAR OA37264 needed on z/OS 1.10 and higher for exploitation of greater than 64 subchannels to a Coupling Facility when running on z196 GA2 or z114 at Driver 93G

A dynamic activate to add a coupling facility control unit configured with greater than 64 subchannels using HCD z196 GA2 and z114 support (OA32576) may lead to system or sysplex outage when the z/OS images reside on z196 GA2 or z114.

z/OS images on a z196 or z114 at Driver 93G connected to a coupling facility on a z196 or z114 at Driver 93G using 3 or more infiniband links that are defined with 32 subchannels per CHPID will exceed 64 subchannels to the CF and may experience the problem described by XES APAR OA37264. The default for IFB links changed from 7 to 32 subchannels per CHPID with HCD APAR OA32576 installed for greater than 7 subchannel support.

When configured as noted above, any dynamic HCD activate which generates a new control unit accessing the coupling facility may lead to the problem. Please see APAR OA37264 which is applicable to z/OS 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 and 1.13 releases for more details.

Recommended Actions:
For installations migrating to z196 GA2 (DR93) level machine or z114, please take one of the following actions:
  1. At I/O definition time, do not take the default in HCD of 32 subchannels for IFB links introduced in OA32576. Explicitly specify 7 subchannels per CHPID before proceeding with dynamic activation.
  2. Only define and configure online 2 CF links with 32 subchannels for each coupling facility control unit. Note: 32 subchannels per CHPID will be set by default.
  3. Apply ++APAR for OA37264 to all z/OS images before exploiting the use of 32 subchannels per CHPID when 3 or more CHPIDs are defined for a CF control unit.

For installations currently configured with greater than 64 subchannels to the CF, please consider all of the following actions:

  1. Do not perform a dynamic activate to add a CF control unit to z/OS images to use more than 64 coupling facility subchannels per CF control unit.
  2. If a dynamic activate was performed which created a new CF control unit, do not attempt to bring online more than 64 subchannels (2 CHPIDs). Note: If the z/OS image has been IPLd since the dynamic activate was done the system can successfully exploit the greater than 64 subchannel support.
  3. Roll ++APAR OA37264 ASAP if greater than 64 subchannel support is needed.

If 64 or fewer coupling facility subchannels are currently defined to each coupling facility control unit, no action is required.

If you want to have an 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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011Q4 IBM mainframe announcements

A lot of interesting mainframe news was announced this week. I'm going to give you a brief overview of the announcements before I go into more details in some following posts. You shouldn't expect those to arrive before next week as I'm off to the IBM briefing center at Montpellier for the rest of the week - attending the Oracle on System z event.

The eye-catcher is of course Windows on zBX, but there's really much more. I'll start by giving you the titles of the announcements, the links and some brief information. Just to tease you for what's coming !

IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS , V2.1 enables a new class of business intelligence and data warehousing workloads for the IBM System z platform (ZP11-0546)
IDAA (yes, we needed another acronym) is the successor of ISAOpt (euh, IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer). It is based on Netezza technology and it should deliver an even far better performance. For the rest, it is implemented as transparantly as ISAOpt for DB2 for z/OS applications. What I find a bit annoying here is that it is not integrated into the zBX and therefore it is not managed by the Unified Resource Manager.

IBM z/VSE V5.1 - 64-bit virtual for future workloads (ZP11-0560)
z/VSE 5.1 is designed to
  • "Provide 64-bit virtual addressing for workload growth or new applications.
  • Introduce an architectural level set (ALS) that requires IBM System z9 or later.
  • Exploit innovative IBM zEnterprise technology.
  • Exploit enhanced IBM System Storage options.
  • Offer new networking functions for more connectivity options.
  • Provide Connector enhancements for high availability".

zEnterprise further extends hybrid computing with support for Microsoft Windows and other enhancements (ZG11-0275)
zHPF enhancements, APIs for the Unified Resource Manager, GDPS improvements and a lot more. But of course focus will mainly be on "Microsoft™ Windows™ on select IBM BladeCenter® HX5 (7873) blades installed in the zBX".

IBM z/VM V6.2 - Accelerate the journey to smarter computing with multi-system virtualization and virtual server mobility (ZP11-0499)
This had been a statement of direction for some time. Well, here it is now : "Multi-system virtualization clustering technology allowing up to four z/VM instances to be clustered in a Single System Image (SSI)". This also implies "Live Guest Relocation to move Linux™ virtual servers without disruption to the business, helping to avoid planned outages"

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS Media V6.3 and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Extended Edition for z/OS Media V6.3 enable FICON attached device access for IBM Tivoli Storage Manager V6.3 Server on AIX and Linux on System z (ZP11-0465)
I like this one as well. It took some time to deliver but it's finally there. Lots of customers were running TSM for z/OS and invested in FICON coupled tape or DASD solutions. But then it was announced that TSM V6 would no longer run on z/OS. So you had to convert to another platform that was not able to connect to your FICON attached equipment. So, this TSM for z/OS Media is the missing link between both. You can now migrate to V6 but you can still write your data via z/OS to your FICON attached equipment. The concept is also "designed to allow the tape volume and stored data that was previously inventoried by the Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS V5.5 server remain accessible on the z/OS system by the Tivoli Storage Manager V6.3 server on AIX or Linux for System z without having to move the tape volume from the z/OS managed tape library".

2011Q4 IBM Storage announcements

OK, now continuing with the rest of the storage announcements. I Hope I get it right this time because some of you might've received an incomplete feed.

I'll just give you an overview of some announcements and give some brief information on them.

IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 offers new 3 TB SAS drive feature (ZG11-0317) and
IBM XIV Storage System Software Version 11.0.1 (5639-YYB) supports 3 TB SAS drives (ZG11-0506)
IBM XIV now support 3TB SAS drives. This increases the maximum capacity from 161 TB to 243 TB. Some limitations : no intermix with 2 TB and no field upgrades from 2 TB to 3 TB. Drive encryption is not supported on these drives.
And, as I've already mentioned before, there's a new, free of charge, monitoring XIV Mobile Dashboard app for Apple iPad devices.
The datasheet on the XIV IBM page has also already been updated.

StorWize seems to have become IBMs showpiece for midsized clients in just one year. There are four announcements (ZG11-0291, ZG11-0516, ZG11-0525, ZG11,0276) covering all enhancements to the StorWize system.
We have additional drives : 3 TB 3.5-inch 7.2k rpm Nearline SAS HDD, 200 GB 2.5-inch E-MLC SSD and 400 GB 2.5-inch E-MLC SSD.
The most eye-catching however is of course the announcement of the StorWize Unified system. V7000 Unified supports NFS/CIFS/FTP/HTTPS/SCP file protocols in addition to existing block protocols (iSCSI and FCP) and is managed through a unified management GUI.
There are also some mirroring enhancements with Low Bandwidth and Storwize V7000-SVC Mirroring.

IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller V6.3.0 offers enhanced data mobility for high availability and introduces IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center Select V4.2.2 (ZP11-0464).
The highlights :
  • Lower-bandwidth option for Global Mirror
  • Mirroring from SVC to Storwize V7000
  • Stretch cluster enhanced from 10km to 300km maximum
Next to that there are some more announcements on storage for open systems I'm less familiar with. I could mention SONAS and Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager V3.1 delivering data protection for VMware vSphere environments and Microsoft Windows NTFS support. But I think those who want to read more about this will surely find their way around the blogosphere for more info on these.

IBM Announcement : DS8000 enhancements for drives, Easy Tier, System z . . .

Second Tuesday of a new quarter seems to have become IBM Announcement Day. Yesterday was no different with a lot of storage announcements and today we still have some interesting mainframe announcements coming our way. For the storage I'm starting off with the DS8000 : IBM System Storage DS8000 series offers higher scalability with additional tiering capabilities and drive options (ZG11-0282).

Just to put the DS8700 customers at ease, the announcement says : "All features and functions in this announcement are supported on the IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 series". Allthough there are of course some specific DS8800 features. Here's a short overview of what's new :
  • DS8800 supports additional expansion frame and over 1,500 drives
  • New DS8800 options for 3TB nearline drives, 300GB 15k rpm drives, 900GB 10k rpm drives, and 400GB SSD drives . Oh, by the way, SATA seems to be outdated, you should take about 'nearline' storage now !
  • Easy Tier enhancements, including migration across 3 drive tiers and support for thin provisioned volumes . The announcement says : "Easy Tier monitors disk activity in real time and migrates data across tiers and within a tier to optimize performance automatically". I'm not really sure how to interpret this. Is this real time monitoring or is this also real time migrating data across tiers. I thought Easy Tier was constantly monitoring but that it changed its strategy only once every 24 hours. Has this changed now ? I think I'll have to take a closer look at this one.
But I would want to focus on some System z enhancements
  • I/O Priority support for System z volumes : in fact this is a cooperation between the previously announced DS8000 I/O priority manager and z/OS Workload Manager. Up to now the priority manager was only available for open systems. It now also supports CKD volumes. This integration "is intended to improve disk I/O performance for important workloads and drive I/O prioritization to the disk system by allowing WLM to give priority to the system's resources automatically when higher priority workloads are not meeting their performance goals". Looks promising, no ?
  • Larger System z volumes. Volumes can now scale up to approximately 1 TB (1,182,006 cylinders)
  • Support for new High Performance FICON for System z (zHPF) enhancements. Amongst others "zHPF has been enhanced to support DB2 list prefetch. These enhancements include a new cache optimization algorithm that can greatly improve performance and hardware efficiency. When combined with the latest releases of z/OS and DB2, it can demonstrate up to 14x-60x increase in sequential or batch processing performance". Mind you, this is only in combination with the new FICON Express8S cards.
  • GDPS enhancements for business continuity.
Planned availability is in two steps : November 18 and December 9. Check out the announcement for the details.

Monday, October 10, 2011

RealDolmen Event : Storage virtualization: the future of IBM storage for midsized customers

I already told you about this event on StorWize and Real-Time Compression. And with all the buzz about new announcements coming our way, this might be just the right event to bring you up to date on this Virtualization solution. Here's your invitation :
Doing more with less, that is what virtualization is all about. But is your storage following? Does it guarantee high availability, high performance and a quick disaster recovery? Increased user demand has led to unpredictable storage growth. Provisioning storage capacity for new users and applications and achieving optimal utilization has become a real challenge.

How did Kronos put an end to these problems with IBMs virtualization solution Storwize? How do they respond to their needs for disaster recovery? You will learn all about it during this practice session.

In order to optimize your storage, the technique of Real-time Compression will also be discussed.

The agenda :
9.00 am - 9.30 amWelcome (coffee)
9.30 am - 9.45 amIntroduction
9.45 am - 10.45 amStorage virtualization:
- the concept
- Storwize
- Integration with System x and virtualized environments
10.45 am - 11.00 amBreak
11.00 am - 11.30 pmDemonstration Storwize
11.30 pm - 12.00 pmReal-Time Compression: concept and demonstration
12.00 pm - 12.30 pmCustomer testimonial - Kronos
12.30 pm - 12.45 pmNext step
12.45 pm -
Q&A, followed by sandwich lunch

Where and when ?
Morning session at the IBM Forum Brussels on November 17, 2011

Go to the RealDolmen event site in order to register !

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IBM XIV Mobile Dashboard for iPad

I was in doubt whether I would already post about this or not. I surely don't have the habit of writing about things before they're officially announced. I guess we all know about now a bunch of IBM announcements is coming our way next week, but it suprised me to see that some information is already mentioned on the internet. Have a look over here : I get the impression I just missed the z/VM 6.2 announcement as it says : "The major improvements offered by version 6.2 was support of clustering for up to four z/VM instances" and non-disruptive relocation of Linux guest environments.

And then I saw a tweet about this. You can already download this XIV Mobile Dashboard app for iPad from iTunes : IBM XIV Mobile Dashboard for iPad. Well it's such a nice pictures I just wanted to share them with you.

Reading the description, it looks like this is not the full management GUI but just an extra monitoring tool for iPad.

Oh well, more to come next week !

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

IBM Announcement : IMS 12 Transaction and Database Server

Today, IBM announces IMS 12 : 'IBM IMS 12 Transaction and Database Servers deliver savings you can count on (ZP11-0453'. It should have been thoroughly tested by now as we already wrote about the QPP just about a year ago.

The highlights :

"IMS™ 12 Database Manager (IMS DB) 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 (IMS TM) enhancements

  • IMS Connect, the TCP/IP gateway to IMS transactions, operations, and data, offers improved IMS flexibility, availability, resilience, and security.
  • The 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."
IMS 12 requires z/OS 1.11 or later.
IMS 12 supports migration/coexistence from/with IMS 10 and IMS 11. By the way, IMS 9 Service was discontinued on November 7, 2010 !

Planned availability : October 28, 2011.

Googling around brought me to some interesting additional information :

Monday, October 3, 2011

Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.2

Last week IBM announced Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.2 : 'IBM Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V4.2 delivers performance improvements and usability enhancements (ZP11-0427)'.

At a glance

"IBM® Enterprise PL/I for z/OS® V4.2 delivers:

  • Additional utilization of the latest IBM zEnterprise™ 196 architecture for improved compiler performance
  • Compiler enhancements to improve debugging with IBM Debug Tool
  • XML generation for improved web interoperability
  • SQL preprocessor and SQL support enhancements
  • Productivity improvements, many of them customer-requested"
What I find a bit strange is that there's no mention whatsoever of the z114 ?

Prerequisites : it needs at least z/OS 1.11 or later.
Availability date : September 30, 2011.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Event in Luxemburg : 'Consolider avec zEntreprise'

I already mentioned this in a previous post, but I would like to give this event some extra attention as we're also involved in the organisation of it. I told you before about our partnership with Sogeti. Well, here's a first joint event for our customers in Luxemburg.

When : Wednesday October 19, 2011 from 9.30 am until 2.30 pm
Where : L'olivier, Route d’arlon 140A, L-8008 Strassen

The agenda :

9.30 am - 10.00 amReception and coffee
10.00 am - 11.00 amz114, the future of hybrid computing
11.00 am - 11.10 amBreak
11.10 am - 11.50 amIntroduction to Fit For Purpose (F4P)
11.50 am - 00.10 pmPartnership Sogeti - RealDolmen
00.10 pm - 14.30 pmLunch

Information and registration over here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 years of blogging

People need this kind of anniversaries to look back once in a while. So I just reread my first post from five years ago. I started out real quiet, not knowing where this would lead me. The first months I had about some 200 readers per month. And it motivated me to keep going. Of course I googled for my blog in the beginning (everyone does, I guess) and I was glad when it finally kept showing up on the first pages. Now, I'm having 200+ readers on a peak day and when people started googling for the last red alert I was mentioned before the IBM site.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to brag about this. I'm realistic enough to realize only one group of people made this possible and that's you, my readers. So I'll try to keep giving you useful information and keeping you up te date on what goes around in the mainframe world.

So I'm just going to end this post with the same words I posted the last couple of years : 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".

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Upcoming events and webcasts

Well, summer's over and a lot of events and webcasts are coming our way. I'll try and give a summary of what'll be happening during the next month(s).

IBM Events in Belgium

September 28-30, 2011 - Total Solutions Event for System z 2011
IBM Forum Brussels
I've been blogging about this, so take a look over here.
Information and registration - Detailed agenda

October 3 and 27, PoT - Experience Cognos 10 in Realtime
IBM Forum Brussels
The IBM Cognos 10 Proof of Technology (PoT) acquaints participants with the IBM Cognos 10 Business Intelligence solution, through hands on interaction with key IBM Cognos 10 solution elements.
Information and registration : October 3, October 27

October 5 - Innovate comes to you 2011 - The Rational Software Conference
IBM Forum Brussels
"Innovate 2011 is the event that recognizes the essential role that software and systems play in our companies, our lives, and wider society. Throughout an inspiring full-day program it covers the latest systems engineering and software trends and developments via demonstrations, presentations and testimonials."
Information, Agenda and Registration

October 25, 2011 - PoT - Discover the IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances
IBM Forum Brussels
"This one-day Proof of Technology (PoT) provides a hands-on experience for those needing to understand how DataPower® appliances can help ease and accelerate the deployment of enterprise SOA implementations".
Information and registration

Other events in Belgium and Luxemburg

Here's two events I already want to mention : they're not officially announced yet, but as far as I can see, that's only a matter of days. I'll provide the links for registration as soon as they're available.

October 19, 2011 - Introduction to hybrid computing and the new z114
l’Olivier - Route d’Arlon Strassen, Luxemburg
Organised by Sogeti in cooperation with RealDolmen
An introduction to hybrid computing, all the details about the z114 and an introduction to Fit For purpose (F4P)

November 17, 2011 - Introduction to StorWize and Real Time Compression
IBM Forum Brussels
Organised by RealDolmen
This event will introduce our customers to StorWize and Real Time Compression solutions of IBM. Normally, there will be a couple of demos and a customer testimony as well.

IBM Webcasts

September 13 (today) at 3 pm GMT, 5 pm Brussels
The intersection of DB2 for z/OS and Workload Manager : Understanding the basics

"This session will show you how Workload Manager helps improve the performance management process and enables you to Prioritize workload, based upon goals and business objectives, Let the system optimize and prioritize resource management, Make sure that the most important workload gets the appropriate resource".
Information and registration

September 20 at 3 pm GMT, 5 pm Brussels
Enterprise Modernization: The cornerstone of Smarter Computing
"In this webcast, you’ll learn how IBM solutions, including the zEnterprise platform, can help : Manage and automate operations to lower the cost of both new and existing workloads, Rapidly develop new workloads for the mainframe using an integrated and collaborative software delivery platform, Optimize the value of existing software assets, skills and infrastructure when you consolidate or redeploy existing workloads, or deploy new workloads".
Information and registration

September 27 at 3 pm GMT, 5 pm Brussels
Realizing Your DB2 for z/OS Utilities and Tools Investment
"This complimentary webcast looks at the most recent enhancements made in the DB2 Utilities Suite, DB2 Sort 1.2 and DB2 Utilities Enhancement Tool 2.2. We’ll discuss new features that increase performance and availability and through the use of automation in DB2 tools, make your life easier" ...
Information and registration

September 28 at 5pm Brussels
z/VSE Live Virtual Class
z/VSE Fast Path to Linux on System z
The Fast Path to Linux on System z is a brand new function included in z/VSE V4.3. This session will give an overview about the Linux Fast Path function.
Information and registration

October 11 at 3 pm GMT, 5 pm Brussels
DB2 10 Performance and costs savings: Why, How & Where performance matters!
"Join us in this webcast to understand Why, How and Where performance matters and to learn how to build the business case for DB2 10. We will discuss about DB2 10 performance, its potential impact on yours’ company bottom line and the process to build and effective costing scenario".
Information and registration

Other online events

Webcast - September 15, 2011 at 5 pm Brussels
Support update and Early Customer experiences with Oracle 11gR2 on Linux on IBM System Z
Organised by the International zSeries Oracle SIG
"This session will include early customer experiences with 11gR2, such as some of the new 11gR2 Oracle features to exploit, performance improvements with 11gR2, and disk storage configurations for running Oracle 11gR2 with IBM System z Linux. Oracle support will also provide new information for Oracle 11GR2 on Linux on IBM System z, including installation notes, recommended patches, and most importantly, recent customer experiences"
Information and registration

Webinar - September 14, 2011 at 2 pm EDT, 8 pm Brussels
Craig Mullins' DB2 10 for z/OS: For Developers Only
Contents : The most important DB2 10 enhancements for programmers and analysts. Unique DB2 10 features that can greatly improve your application performance and reliability.
Information and registration

DB2Night Shows

The new season of DB2Night shows has started again. You can find all information over here.
Here's a short list of the next few episodes. They're all scheduled at 11 am EDT, 5 pm Brussels.
As I always say, just check them out !

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sampling Techdocs - June-August 2011

Here we are with some new documents from TechDocs I recently came across or found while browsing through the latest publications.
  • Presentation : Why Websphere Application Server for z/OS
    Starting point of this presentation is : "Websphere is Websphere" no matter what platform you run it on. But is that really so ? No, not at all. Websphere Application Server for z/OS is very aware and is using the underlying platform to a considerable extent. So, there might be a couple of reasons why you would specifically want to use WAS for z/OS . . . So, read on, here they are.

  • Presentation : z114 Hardware Management Console 2.11.1
    "The 2.11.1 Traditional Hardware Management Console (HMC) is new with the z114 Server. This presentation covers the enhanced features and functions of the 2.11.1 Traditional HMC which is available at Driver 93 for both the z196 and the new z114".

  • Technical document : DS8000 EasyTier Implementation Guide
    This is a DS8000 EasyTier Implementation Guide Using DSCLI with examples. Subjects discussed are Easy Tier Overview, Easy Tier implementation using DSCLI, DS8000 Logical configuration, Data Relocation with Easy Tier Automatic Mode and with Easy Tier Manual Mode.
  • Referral pages :
    I'm concluding with some classics that keep getting updated every once in a while.
    First there's '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. Consideration should be given to this list when planning your migration to a z/OS release".
    The second is the 'IBM System z I/O Feature Reference Table'. This table provides information about System z I/O features and the specific machine types on which they are supported. It is grouped by card type / function: OSA, FICON, Parallel Sysplex, Cryptography, ESCON, and I/O Support.
    The last one is the 'IBM Mainframe Life Cycle History' : System z mainframe hardware product marketing and service life cycle history since 1994.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Short takes

I'd scribbled down a couple of ideas for a post, but I think I'll just combine them in one of my 'Short Takes'. It's about IBM announcement links, my colleague at IDUG, a z/VSE Live Virtual Class, Raid 5 and 6 are doomed and a zEnterprise FAQ. Here we go.
  • First of all you might have noticed that the IBM announcement page (Offering Information) has somehow undergone a facelift. Nothing that spectacular, but I also noticed that along with this, all my links in previous posts to IBM announcements are no longer valid. Apparently it's a 'ShowDoc.jsp' that has been replaced by 'ShowDoc.wss' in the link. Damn. Damn. Damn. So, any link to an announcement you click on will be invalid. Fortunately I always include the announcement number. But that's a small comfort. So I might be in for some massive updates. Furthermore, many links in the latest newsletter that was sent out last week will no longer work either.
  • I'm proud to tell you that my colleague from RealDolmen Frederik Engelen will be presenting at the EMEA IDUG conference next November in Prague. Subject is 'A DBA's guide to using TSA' (Tivoli System Automation). He's presenting in room Stella on November 16 from 8.30 am to 9.30 am. Abstract of the presentation : "Tightly integrating DB2 with Tivoli System Automation software, IBM added automatic failover capabilities to the trusted HADR database clustering technology. After a quick refresh on HADR, this session will go more in-depth on the inner workings of TSA and its interaction with DB2 to provide you with what you need to know before introducing this in your environment" If you go and see him, give him my regards !
  • I'm a bit too late with this one, but there was a Z/VSE Live Virtual Class today on 'z/VSE V4.3 Support of four-digit device addresses'. You can find all information about z/VSE Live Virtual Classes over here. And of course there will be a replay of this virutal class.
  • Something completely different : check out this interesting blog post from The Storage Buddhist : '3 TB drives signal the end of RAID 5 / RAID 6'. This has everything to do with the growing size of drives, the growing time to rebuild disks and the conclusion is quite simple : " Either way, the days of RAID5 are just about over and the days of RAID6 are numbered also". Just take a look at it, it leaves me puzzled about this. It's really about making future choices.
  • I've written about FAQs before and I think the zEnterprise FAQ is a very nice one. If some one's asking me a question about zEnterprise I always know the answer immediately. Hey, I'm a presales guy, it's my job. Just kidding. So, if you have a question about zEnterprise that's not directly up your alley, this FAQ is the place to go. Or you can ask me of course !

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

IBM Announcement : some more tape related withdrawals

Today, IBM had another two announcements on withdrawal from marketing of certain tape related products.

From the first announcement 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage Tape and Media models and selected features - Some replacements available (ZG11-0248)' I mainly retain the witdrawal from marketing of the mainframe related TS1120 Tape Controller Model C06. This becomes effective November 25, 2011 as it's replaced by the recently announced C07 Model.

There's a second announcement focusing on the 3494 Tape Library : 'Hardware withdrawal: Selected features for IBM TotalStorage 3494 Tape Library - No replacements available (ZG11-0264)'. These withdrawals become effective February 24, 2012. As you might expect, no replacements. And to be honest, I assumed most of these features were already withdrawn from marketing. So, they are now.

RealDolmen System z e-zine N° 18

The 18th issue of our RealDolmen System z Newsletter is being sent out today. For the moment only the Dutch version is available. Due to some (holiday) delays the French Version will arrive a bit later.

If you don't receive our system z e-zine yet, you can subscribe over here. If you have subscribed, but for some reason no longer receive it, please let me know.

The main topics of this issue are the z114, the latest storage annoucements and some words on the cooperation between RealDolmen and Sogeti.

As usual there are also some hints, tips, links, an overview of recent announcements, EOS dates of software and operating systems and an agenda for mainly Belgian events.

Enjoy the reading !

Monday, August 22, 2011

IBM Announcement : Withdrawal of the 3953 Library Manager

I guess the title of the announcement says it all : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM TotalStorage 3953 Library Manager Model L05, select features for IBM TotalStorage 3953 Tape Frame, and select features for IBM Virtualization Engines TS7510, TS7520, and TS7530 - Some replacements available (ZG11-0221)'.

Time goes fast, so I'll try to reconstruct some of the history behind this. The IBM 3494 Tape Library had its built-in library managament functions. When the TS3500 (3584) was introduced for the mainframe at around 2005, it didn't have these library functions. So IBM introduced the 3953 Library Manager with its own frame in which also tape controllers could be built in. It was also used to connect to the TS7700 Virtualization engine. By 2009, the TS7700 could have its own library management functions and did no longer need the 3953. Now, a couple of weeks ago IBM introduced the new 3592 C07 Tape Controller that also has its own library management functionality. So . . . exit the 3953 Library Manager.

This became effective August 9, 2011.

Friday, August 19, 2011

IBM Announcement : System z selected products withdrawals

Effective September 30, 2012, October 31, 2012, November 12, 2012, December 31, 2012, April 30, 2013, and September 30, 2013, IBM will discontinue program services for a whole range of software products : 'Software withdrawal and support discontinuance: IBM System z selected products (ZP11-0341)'.

You should really take a look at this list because one can better be prepared. They will of course also pop up on our System z Newsletter. By the way, the new System z newsletter is coming out next week.

Those that drew my attention were z/OS 1.11 and z/OSMF 1.11 (September 30, 2012), CICS VSE 2.3 (October 31, 2012), IMS 10.1 (November 12, 2012) and z/VSE 4.2.2 (October 31, 2012).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

IBM Announcement : DS8000 withdrawals

My next few posts will cover the announcements that were issued during my holiday.

I'll start with a DS8000 announcements with some withdrawals : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage DS8000 series select processor memory and microcode features - No replacements available (ZG11-0209)'.

Summarizing all processor memory for the DS8100 and DS8300 models is withdrawn from marketing, effective November 18, 2011.
Next to that 'Microcode Bundle Family - Release 5.1 Bundle Family' is WDFM for the DS8700 and 'DS8000 Licensed Machine Code - DS8000 LMC R6.0' is WDFM for the DS8800. This is effective October 3, 2011.

Replacements : None.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The History of CICS

So I'm back and I'm starting off with a short post on the history of CICS. You can find a brief survey of all CICS releases and some interesting side information over here. I was seven when CICS was first introduced in 1968. Oddly enough CICS was "not expected to last more than a few years". Support, originally in Palo Alto, was moved to Hursley in 1976 in exchange for PL/I. The first version I got to work with was, if I remember correctly, CICS/VS 1.6 dating from 1983. The most current version is CICS Transaction Server (CICS TS) V4.2.

As I always say, just check it out !

(*) Picture comes from a blog post at The Master Terminal.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

z114 Introduction Video

Well, this is my last post before leaving on holiday. It's an introductory movie on the z114. When I come back in a couple of weeks and my memory is completely erased, this might be a good entry point for me (and I guess some of you too) to get started again.

Have a nice holiday . . . and now it's time for me to press that very last button :

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New IBM System Storage Tape Controller 3592 Model C07

Just a couple of months ago, IBM announced a new TS1140 Tape Drive with a native data rate performance of 250MB/sec and matching uncompressed 4 TB tapes. Unfortunately, at the time, this was only announced for open systems.
Now the mainframe is catching up : 'New IBM System Storage Tape Controller 3592 Model C07 enhances performance and connectivity (ZG11-0211)'.
"Tape Controller Model C07 has up to four 4-Gbps FICON attachments. The Tape Controller Model C07 offers four 8-Gbps Fibre Channel adapters for attaching 3592 Tape Drives, and up to 16 of the IBM 3592 Tape Drives can be attached to a single Tape Controller Model C07. The controller can be installed in an IBM 3952 Tape Frame Model F05, IBM TS3500 (3584) Tape Library frames, and stand-alone racks".
The 3952 Tape Drives that are mentioned are not only the TS1140 but also the TS1130 and TS1120 Tape Drives. "An available fibre channel switch feature is required to attach more than four 3592 Tape Drives to the Tape Controller Model C07 (...) The switch may be ordered as a feature on the controller or the customer may supply the switch". The controller also still requires a TS3000 System Console.

The new thing however about this controller is that it comes with library management fuctionality. This means that you no longer need a separate 3953-L05 Library Manager. "For high availability, the first two Model C07 controllers that are connected to a common TS3500 logical library will both have the library management feature. This will allow library activity to continue during code loads and outages on any single controller".

Planned Availability Date : September 9, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hardware withdrawal : z10 EC and z10 BC

Next to the announcement of the z114 there were still some other announcements too. I'll try and cover some of them in the next few days that stand between now and my holiday. First there's the announcement that z10 EC and z10 BC will be withdrawn from marketing : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System z10 EC, IBM System z10 BC, and a selected IBM zEnterprise 196 feature - Replacements availabe (ZG11-0116)'.

We've seen the same with the z9 last year and we've also seen that (to my knowledge) for the first time 'withdrawn from marketing' really meant what it said. We haven't done any upgrades after June 30, 2010. This used to be somewhat different in the past.

Now, it happens in two phases. As of June 30, 2012 any upgrades towards a z10 EC or a z10 BC will no longer be possible. Nor will you be able to do any model conversions or hardware MES features. Roughly speaking this means that any upgrade which involves hardware changes will no longer be possible.

"Field install features and conversions that are delivered solely through a modification to the machine's Licensed Internal Code (LIC) will continue to be available until June 30, 2013" meaning that everything which is in the machine will be able to be activated during the next year. E.g. you will be able to add a zIIP to a z10 EC E12 if there are still engines available in that book, you will no longer be able to add a book. After June 30. 2013 nothing will pass any more.

One point of attention : Capacity on Demand offerings will be usable until their expiration date. Something to check when you're planning to use a z10 after June 2013.