Monday, May 30, 2011

Total Solution Event for System z - Change of date

If you have planned to go to the Solution Event in September at the IBM Forum in Brussels, beware that there's a change of date. Those who've already registered received the following communication :
Dear enthusiast of the Total Solution Event for System z,

First of all thank you for your registration to the Total Solution Event for System z in the IBM FORUM in September 2011.

Since we have overlooked that on September 27, 2011 there is the "Fête de la Communauté française", we have decided to move the Total Solution Event for System z to Wednesday September 28, Thursday September 29 and Friday September 30, 2011.

Looking forward to meet you in September !
More information and how to register is over here in my previous post about the event.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sampling Techdocs : April/May 2011

You know by now I retrieve lots of information from Techdocs. And I have the impression that my harvest for the latest two months is really quite impressive. Just take a look below.
  • White paper : z/OS: Planning Considerations for HiperDispatch Mode
    This paper describes planning considerations for z/OS environments using hiperdispatch. It has been updated to contain information on the benefits of hiperdispatch for the z10 and z196 processors. It also talks about the influence of hiperdispatch on WLM policies, zIIPs and zAAPs ...

  • White paper : IBM HyperSwap Technology
    The document title mentions 'April 2010' but it has been recently updated. I've described the various HyperSwap options in a previous System z newsletter but here's the more elaborate version describing the 4 different HyperSwap options: z/OS Basic HyperSwap, TPC-R HyperSwap, GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager and the full function GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap solution ànd giving you some advice which one might best suit your specific needs. You can also find a presentation summarizing the document over here.

  • Presentation : Websphere advanced skills youtube videos
    Don't let the 'advanced' scare you off : this is a presentation with lots of links to youtube videos presenting a series of videos introducing the viewer to WebSphere Application Server and WAS on z/OS in particular but also giving an overview of the WebSphere Optimized Local Adapters (WOLA) function and an overview of IBM Modern Batch solutions, including WebSphere Compute Grid and integration with Tivoli Workload Scheduler.
  • Presentation : IBM DS8800 Data Migration Scenarios
    Here's an interesting presentation when you want to do (complex) migrations towards DS8000. It outlines the various data migration options with the DS8000 data replication technology like TDMF, Global Copy, z/OS Global Mirror (aka XRC), HyperSwap, useful disk subsystem capabilities like NOCOPY and it also builds some sample scenarios.
  • White paper : Best Practices Upgrading a Coupling Facility
    "Planning for an upgrade of a parallel sysplex to z196 or an upgrade which requires a POR? Need to install maintenance which requires a coupling facility to be reactivated? This paper documents the best practices for installing a new CF, doing a POR of a CEC with a coupling facility image on it and reactivating a coupling facility image".
  • Referral page : WebSphere Application Server z/OS V8
    This page claims to provide "a location for documentation and presentations on WebSphere Application Server for z/OS Version 8. Bookmark this Techdoc and come back for updates and new material as it is produced and made available here". For the moment it provides a technical presentation introducing WAS z/OS V8 (with a reference to some more companion videos on Youtube) and a general PowerPoint introduction to WAS z/OS V8.
  • White paper : Query Where No Query Has Gone Before
    An intriguing title for every Trekkie of course, this one. It's actually about the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer, but what's interesting is that it describes the various steps for implementing this solution. The paper describes the following steps the team followed : identifying the data warehouses to accelerate, creating an accelerator project, defining the data marts, validating, deploying, and loading the data mart, determining if the query is eligible for acceleration, comparing query execution and refreshing the data mart.
Well that's it for now. As I always say : just check them out !

Thursday, May 19, 2011

IBM Systems magazine Mainframe - May/June 2011

Last week there was the May/June issue of the IBM Systems Magazine with some very good content. You can find it over here. I would advise you to subscribe to the magazine. That way you also get a link to the .pdf.

I would like to draw your attention to some articles I really enjoyed reading. There's e.g. 'Beyond Restart and Concurrency' by Carl Feinberg about minimizing "the impact of failures with restartable batch applications" using a systemwide restart facility. Trust me, an interesting read for companies who see an ever decreasing batch window or who no longer draw the line between online and batch executions.

Tami Deedrick writes a good article on ProtecTIER, more specific on the TS7680 ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway for System z. If the technical arguments don't convince you there's also a financial argument : "Acquisition can be 50 to 80 percent lower than standard virtual tape library solutions, which may help lower total cost of ownership".

Wait, there's more. There's the customer story of our own Brussels based P&V Assurances company that reduces technology costs via VPN-free access. It tells the story how the technology for connecting their agents in the front office evolved from a tightly coupled system to a "platform-agnostic access to back-end systems".

And last but not least, there's a special report with the results of a readers' survey about business challenges, mainframe staffing, adopting new technologies like e.g. cloud computing and their view on hybrid environments.

As I always say, just check it out !

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GSE Members: 15% discount for all IBM trainings and conferences in Belgium

Here's a short, but interesting, news on a reduction for IBM Trainings for GSE members.

There was a bit of confusion about this at the Regional Conference last week, but take a look at the GSE Belux site.

IBM offers "GSE members a 15 % discount for ALL European Technical Conferences, ALL IBM National as well as ALL IBM Training Courses". So "give this information to the responsible people in your company so you can benefit from this 15% discount".

You can find all information about this over here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Total Solution Event for System z - September 27-29

Last week there was the GSE Regional Conference for Belgium in Spa around the central theme of 'Hybrid Computing'. It was really a very good conference with lots of interesting presentations, like the one from Andrew Butler of Gartner with a very positive view on the 'Mainframe in Tomorrow's Enterprise'. Who told you Gartner wants every one off the mainframe ? We also got a good view of IBM's strategy on hybrid systems and on what they have realized so far. An interesting panel discussion also indicated how important it is to have architects working at an enterprise level. Architects who must have a broad general view on different technologies and of course also on mainframe technologies.

That's why I would encourage you to also send your architects to the IBM Total Solution Event for System z on September 27-29, 2011 at the IBM Forum in Brussels. It's free and there are a couple of general tracks especially for them. Here's an overview of the different tracks :
  • Track 1 - zEnterprise for IT Managers and Executives
  • Track 2 - zEnterprise Solutions Update for IT Architects
  • Track 3 - Smart Industry Solutions on zEnterprise
  • Track 4 - zEnterprise Technical Update
  • Track 5 - Maximize Scalability and Flexibility with Linux and z/VM on System z
  • Track 6 - Cloud Computing with zEnterprise
  • Track 7 - Information and Data Management on zEnterprise
  • Track 8 - Getting Predictive with New Intelligence Solutions on zEnterprise
  • Track 9 - Increase Productivity and Time to Market with Application Development Solutions for zEnterprise
  • Track 10 - Providing Integrated Visibility and Control for zEnterprise
  • Track 11 - zEnterprise as the Foundation for Modern Application Architectures
You can register over here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

May 9 - Virtual Tape announcements

I know, it's a complete arbitrary split-up I make of the announcements of last Monday, but here's the third and last post I'll be spending on this. There's more, I know, but there are other people who can do a far better job in talking you through all the open systems 'only' announcements.

I just want to spend a few moments on the new version of the TS7700 Virtualization Engine (ZG11-0079) and give you some information on the evolution of ProtecTIER (ZG11-0082, ZP11-0203 and ZP11-0200).

For the TS7700 Virtualization Engine there's the new IBM Virtualization Engine TS7720 Server model VEB and the IBM Virtualization Engine TS7740 Server model V07. Some specifications :
  • New IBM Power 7 Based server
  • Up to two million logical volumes per grid domain
  • Four active 1Gb Ethernet links for Grid Communications
  • Selective Device Access Control restricting access for defined volume ranges to specified device addresses
  • 8Gb Fibre Channel interfaces for connections to Tape Volume Cache disk arrays and to the switches supporting back-end physical tape drives
  • Two longwave Ethernet links for Grid Communications (only available on TS7720 Server model VEB and TS7740 Server model V07).
Just as a reminder : the TS7720 is the tapeless version. "Four to sixteen 3592 tape drives in a TS3500 Tape Library must be attached to the TS7740 Virtualization Engine through specified fibre channel switches".

Planned availability is June 3, 2011.

The ProtecTIER deduplication solutions evolve from a many-to-one to a many-to-many replication. It "introduces support for many-to-many, bi-directional replication between two to four VTL ProtecTIER systems" in order to allow for gridding across data centers.

Planned availability is also June 3, 2011.

And just to set the records straight : the TS7700 is a mainframe solution which cannot be connected to open systems, the ProtecTIER announcements are only for open systems. The TS7680 ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway for System z is not mentioned in these announcements.

May 9 - Tape announcements

Monday there were 4 announcements around tape. If you've already seen some info about it, I'd say : don't get too excited when you work in a regular mainframe shop. Most (if not all) of them only apply to open systems. There's a new tape drive TS1140 (ZG11-0139), a new tape cartridge (ZG11-0152), a new TS3500 Tape Library Connector (ZG11-0138) and a new version of LTFS (ZP11-0215).

TS1140 Tape Drive Model E07
Tape Cartridge 3599
This is the successor of the TS1130 Tape Drive Model E06 and it drives up the native data rate performance from 160 MB/s to 250 MB/s. If formats uncompressed cartridges of up to 4TB, which more than doubles the capacity of the previous generation. Furthermore it has Dual 8Gb fibre channel interfaces with 650 MB/s max compressed data rate.

There are three new 3592 cartridge models :
  • JC - 4 TB IBM Enterprise Advanced Data Tape
  • JY - 4 TB IBM Enterprise Advanced WORM Tape
  • JK - 500 GB IBM Enterprise Economy Data Tape
it's amazing how fast things evolve. Just a couple of years ago, the 500GB cartridge was the largest version. Oh well, I just looked it up, time flies, it was actually 2005. Is there some kind of Moore's law on the growth of data cartridge capacity ?

Remains the question : why only for open systems ? Is it because the TS1120 controller wouldn't be able to catch up with this speed ? If so, is there a new controller coming ? Or does IBM have something entirely new up its sleeve ? I don't know and my crystal ball doesn't seem to be working today.

Planned availability for the TS1140 is June 3, 2011. Planned availability for the cartridge is July 22, 2011. Strangely enough almost two months later than the tape drive for which it's designed.

TS3500 Tape Library enhancements
The are two things to tell about the TS3500 tape library. First of all it supports the new tape drive. Second, there's the new TS3500 Tape Library Connector Model SC1.
Click on image for larger version in new window

It "enables extreme scalability of over 300,000 LTO cartridges (or over 900 PB of uncompressed TS1140 data) in a single library image by supporting transport of cartridges from one TS3500 library string to another TS3500 library string". I guess the picture gives you a good idea if the concept.
Again, no mention of System z.

Planned availability varies. Take a look over here for more information.

Linear Tape File System
Last but not least, there was also a new version of LTFS (Linear Tape File System) which makes it available on Tape Libraries like the TS3500. In short, LTFS makes it possible to present the content of a tape as a directory and lets you simply pick the file you want to access. But for the moment it's only with LTO5 and Linux RHEL 5.5. More info on LTFS on the IBM site or on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 9 - DS8000 announcements

Monday, there were two announcements for the DS8000 (ZG11-0130, ZG11-0131). General availability of the announcements is June 3, 2011. DS8000 by now means DS8700 and DS8800.

Same functionality with Release 6.1
Despite the known differences (Power 6 vs Power 6+ engine, 2GB/s device adapters vs 8Gb/s and 3.5'' FC drive interface vs 2.5'' SAS-2 drive interface), they are now brought at the same functional level with one another. This means that some functionalities become available on the DS8800 as well. These include :
  • Easy Tier
  • Thin Provisioning
  • Remote Pair FlashCopy
  • z/OS Distributed Data Backup
  • z/OS FICON Discovery and Auto Configuration (zDAC)
  • Eight drive install groups of Solid State Disk (SSD)
  • z/HPF extended distance
  • . . .
On the other hand the DS8700 also gets the 8Gb/s host adapter.

Easy Tier V2
The most eye-catching change is that the Easy Tier automatic mode now supports migration between any two tiers. You no longer need SSD drives to make use of the Easy Tier automatic possibilities. Some other capabilities that come with Easy Tier V2 :
  • Cold demotion - Inactive "cold" data stored on Enterprise performance Tier is demoted to a more appropriate tier.
  • Warm demotion - When a specific rank in the higher tier exceeds its optimal performance level, selected extents are moved to other ranks to eliminate the growing hotspot.
  • Auto-Rebalance - Easy Tier automatic mode redistributes extents within a tier whenever it shows I/O skew, when new capacity is added or when capacity is removed.
By the way : Easy Tier remains a no-charge feature.

I/O Priority Manager
I/O Priority Manager on the other hand is a priced feature and is only available for open systems.
"The system will prioritize access to system resources to achieve the volume's desired quality of service based on defined performance goals (high, medium, or low) of any volume. I/O Priority Manager will constantly monitor and balance system resources to help applications meet their performance targets automatically, without operator intervention." This only happens when there's a contention between multiple volumes. I/O Priority Manager delays the right amount of I/O from lower priority volumes, so higher priority volumes get more throughput.

Storage Manager GUI
The XIV GUI seems to be a real success as the DS8000 Storage Manager is now also aligned with the same GUI. "The enhanced design was inspired by the IBM System Storage XIV® GUI and includes more intuitive navigation panels and streamlined configuration processes, as well as embedded links to relevant videos for quick access to useful DS8000 information".
For more information about this GUI, take a look at the 'Simplify the Flightdeck' post at the Aussie Storage Blog.

In addition to that, there is also some enhancements for security, copy services an large LUNs for open systems.

IBM Storage Announcements

Yesterday, IBM made a bunch of storage announcements for practically the entire range of storage products. I know I'm being eclectic, but I think I'll just start by giving you the links to the announcements that seem interesting for the mainframe environment.

IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 (M/T 242x) delivers DS8000 I/O Priority Manager and advanced features to enhance data protection for multi-tenant copy services (ZG11-0130)

IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 (M/T 239x) delivers DS8000 Function Authorization for I/O Priority Manager and other advanced features (ZG11-0131)

IBM Virtualization Engine TS7700 is designed to bring efficiency to tape operation and offer versatile models that support attachment to tape libraries (ZG11-0079)

New features for IBM System Storage TS7650 ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance (3958 AP1) and IBM System Storage TS7650G Gateway Server (3958 DD4) (ZG11-0082)

IBM System Storage ProtecTIER Entry Edition Version 3.1 supports many-to-many, bi-directional data replication (ZP11-0203)

IBM announces many-to-many, bi-directional replication for IBM System Storage ProtecTIER Enterprise Edition V3.1 and ProtecTIER Appliance Edition V3.1 (ZP11-0200)

IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library Connector and TS1140 Tape Drive support for the IBM TS3500 Tape Library (ZG11-0138)

IBM System Storage TS1140 Tape Drive Model E07 delivers higher performance, reliability, and capacity (ZG11-0139)

IBM System Storage Tape Cartridge 3599 models provide enhanced capacity for enterprise tape drives (ZG11-0152)

IBM System Storage Linear Tape File System Library Edition Version 2.1 (ZP11-0215)

I'll come back to some of these in additional posts.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

RealDolmen Framed : the RealDolmen Company Movie

This is more a RealDomen post than a mainframe post. But, hey, RealDolmen is what I am or what I work for.

'No nonsense' was the slogan of Dolmen when I started working for it more than 20 years ago. It's RealDolmen now, but I'm glad we kept the slogan ànd, perhaps even more important, the attitude too. So, a RealDolmen company movie is not just your regular company movie, it's a 'no nonsense' company movie. Or as Thomas Verschueren, our marketing manager puts it on our corporate blog : "(...) we hope that you will take this movie as a fun demonstration of the creativity, atmosphere, enthusiasm and openness of spirit that are characteristic for RealDolmen".

Want to see it ? Here it is !