Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Other things of the past

I don't think when you would put a kid in front of a mainframe, it would even have the slightest idea what it is or what it does. But how about some other technologies 'of the past'. This is such a lovely video I just had to share it with you.

Thanks to T-zine where I found this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New for z/OS software pricing : IBM Integrated Workload Pricing (IWP)

Here's another announcement on software pricing. Good news this time. It's about an addition to the MLC pricing for AWLC customers : 'IBM Integrated Workload Pricing for zEnterprise clients can significantly improve price/performance of collocated workloads on z/OS (ZP11-0018)'. At first sight it looks a bit complicated (hey, it's IBM software pricing) but thanks to some clarifications from Marc Wesemael (IBM Belgium) I can take you through it, now.

First, the prerequisites :
  • z196 Enterprise System processor with AWLC pricing
  • z/OS V1.10, or higher, with SMF APAR OA31615
  • Installation and use of SCRT V19.2.0
  • Use of the SCRT IWP control statement
What is it ? In short : 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 that are also running in that same LPAR.

What's the story ? You might remember that some IPLA softwares are eligible for Getting Started Subcapacity Pricing. For example, a Web Application Server is running in a large partition with a rather small workload. Normally, this IPLA software is execution-based. So you have to buy as many Value Units as needed to cover for the entire LPAR. With the Getting Started pricing, the workload of the Websphere Application Server is measured and you only have to have enough Value Units to cover for the actual workload - following certain rules of course.

Now, with Integrated Workload Pricing (IWP) we go one step further. In the announcement you find a list of Websphere IPLA products which are called the defining programs. Next to that there's a list of MLC programs which are eligible to be adjusted by IWP. This boils down to let's say all CICS and IMS versions. The MSUs of these softwares are lowered based on the utilisation of the defining programs, which have to be present in the same LPAR.

How is this calculation done ?
"SCRT calculates the 4-hour rolling average of the general purpose processor time consumed by the IWP Defining Programs and subtracts those values from the traditional sub-capacity values for the MLC programs eligible to be adjusted by IWP, on an hour by hour basis, per LPAR". This can give you a lower MSU value for your CICS and/or IMS products.

You can find more information on Software Pricing on the IBM System z Software Pricing page and there's also already a section on IWP pricing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Price Changes for IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3

We had something similar a couple of months ago with DB2 V8. Here's an announcement now about a price increase on CICS TS V3 : 'Price Changes on IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3 Software Program Products (ZA11-1002)'. The price change will become effective July 1, 2011. How much ? This depends a bit on the pricing metric but the announcement says : "With this increase, the price of IBM CICS TS V3 will become consistent with the price of IBM CICS TS V4".

The reason for this is very similar to the reason expressed for raising the price for DB2 V8. CICS TS 3.1 has been around since 2005 and lots of new functionalities (also with release 3.2) have been added over the years without any price increase. IBM also guarantees that it will continue to support V3 at least until September 2013. But apparently all this comes with a certain price . . .

Redbook - System z Parallel Sysplex Best Practices

Here's an interesting new Redbook : 'System z Parallel Sysplex Best Practices'. It "pulls together diverse information regarding the best way to design, implement, and manage a Parallel Sysplex to deliver the levels of performance and availability required by your organization".

Here's the argumentation of the authors to write this Redbook :
"One of the greatest strengths of Parallel Sysplex is its flexibility. Parallel Sysplex can be exploited by the largest corporations with huge sysplexes, and by small customers with just a single processor. However, this flexibility can also be a challenge. With so many options, how do you know what is the best way to configure a sysplex to achieve your objectives? And with so many demands for your time, how can you possibly keep up with all the latest recommendations for how to set up your sysplex?

This book makes it easier for you to obtain the latest guidance for your Parallel Sysplex in one succinct and easy-to-use place. Configuring your sysplex to adhere to these guidelines does not guarantee that you will never encounter an outage again, but it should result in a more resilient configuration that delivers improved levels of service".
The Redbook is divided into several chapters treating Parallel Sysplex with regards to z/OS, CICS, DB2, IMS, MQ and WAS.

As I always say : just check it out !

Monday, January 17, 2011

Upgrading to DB2 9 or DB2 10 for z/OS — How? When? What is the cost versus benefit?

This looks like a promising webcast on the migration to DB2 9 or DB2 10.
"(...) many DB2 users are considering migration and need direction in planning the right migration strategy for their business.
But how do you approach a migration strategy?
When is the best time to start?
Is skipping a release a good strategy?
What are the costs versus benefits for any scenario?"
Roger Miller will discuss the following topics :
  • Defining migration plan details for each component in your environment — servers, clients, applications and routines
  • Incorporating steps from previous migration plans, including internal procedures to request access, software installation or other system services
  • Understanding product restrictions and recommendations in order to plan your migration strategy
In addition to this all "webcast attendees will receive a free copy of “Executive Report of Business Value of DB2 10 - Smarter Database for a Smarter Planet” by Julian Stuhler, an Internationally recognized DB2 consultant and analyst." I don't know whether you attended the "DB2 10 for z/OS - Cost Savings ... Right Out of the Box", webcast, but the booklet from that session is a really valuable document. Apparently they call it Flashbooks. You can read everything about it at Susan Visser's blog : 'Build your Skill on DB2: books, certifications, tutorials, and more'.

When's the webcast : February 22, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4:00 p.m. GMT or 5:00 p.m. Brussels
You can register over here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Windows on zBX

When IBM announced the zEnterprise System with its zBX, it was quite clear on what was going to run on the zBX and what wasn't. At the launch only Power 7 blades were available with AIX running on it, no Linux, no i (formerly OS/400). Next to that Xeon-based blades with Linux were put on the roadmap for the first half of 2011. No Windows as this seemed to be too difficult to implement.

Apparently the situation has changed now as we read in this article from The Register : 'IBM's mainframe-blade hybrid to do Windows'. This article does not only give a good recap of the (concepts of the) zEnterprise System, it also gives us some insights in its future, as told by some IBM people. I quote :
"The (...) change that's coming with the zBX, according to Doris Conti, director of System z marketing at IBM, is that Microsoft's Windows operating system will be supported on the Xeon blade servers inside the zBX complex. IBM has hosted over 300 workshops with mainframe customers discussing the new hybrid system, and customers were not exactly happy that IBM was restricting Linux to Xeon blades and not supporting Windows.

'We heard the feedback and we very much intend to deliver Windows support on zBX,' says Conti."

Mind you, no specific date has been given, nor with which hypervisor it will be implemented on the zBX. If we deduce a timescale we now will first see the Xeon-based blades with Linux. Afterwards IBM seems to go for the Windows implementation. Then "if mainframe shops want to run the IBM i 7.1 operating system (formerly known as OS/400) on Power blades, IBM will consider it, says Conti". Linux on Power seems to have the lowest priority for the moment.

Never thought I would give one of my posts a 'Windows' label.

As I always say, just check it out !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Alert : Possible corrupted backup copy for some zHPF and PDSE users

Here's the first Red Alert for 2011 :

Possible corrupted backup copy for z/OS 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 users of zHPF (High Performance FICON) & PDSE users with PTF's for OA30025 or OA34009 applied..


Only users performing logical dumps of PDSE data sets under the following conditions, (this is also true for HSM BACKUP and MIGRATION):

  1. PTF's for OA30025 or OA34009 are installed
  2. The PDSE to be backed up resides on a device which supports zHPF channel programs
  3. zHPF processing is enabled

PDSE backups taken after the installation of PTFs for OA30025 or OA34009 should be considered as suspect.

Please see APAR OA35260 (Media Manager) & OA35296 (PDSE) for additional information.

Recommended Actions:
  • Apply ++APARs for OA35260 & OA35296 as soon as possible, or
  • Backoff PTF's for OA30025 and/or OA34009, or
  • Disable zHPF until ++APAR can be applied

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.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

IBM Announcement : Price Changes for Subscription and Support Software

Last year we already signaled a price raise for DB2 V8 for z/OS starting at April 1, 2011. Hey, come to think of it, no April Fools' Day joke, this one. Here's another announcement for some Subscription and Support software in order "to bring the price of the Subscription and Support offerings in line with the price of the associated product offerings" : 'Price changes on several IBM Subscription and Support Software Programs (S&S) (ZA11-1001)'.

The products with their respective S&S are :
IBM WebSphere Portal Enable for z/OS V7.0
IBM Rational Asset Analyzer for z/OS V6
IBM Tivoli Omegamon XE for DB2 PE on z/OS V5.1
IBM Tivoli Omegamon XE for DB2 PM on z/OS V5.1
IBM DB2 Utilities Suite for z/OS V10.1
IBM DB2 High Performance Unload for z/OS V4.1
IBM DB2 Administration Tool for z/OS V10.1
IBM DB2 Object Comparison Tool for z/OS V10.1
IBM DB2 Buffer Pool Analyzer for z/OS V5.1
IBM DB2 SQL Performance Analyzer for z/OS V4.1
Price increases vary per product and go from 0% up to 55% for Belgian customers. Prices also become effective April 1, 2011. Check out the announcement for more details.