Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IBM announces the new zEnterprise 114 or z114

General Introduction

Just went to see Prince last Sunday at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Those who only know Purple Rain will call him a dinosaur, but he's no one trick pony, he's still making really good music. He's not just a singer or guitar player either, he's a real multi-instrumentalist, some say he plays 26 different instruments. Oh, and some will argue he's expensive, and yes, I paid 100 EURO for one ticket. But I'd rather go to see one really good artist who's worth every cent than 5 would-be artists for nearly the same price. You know where I'm heading at : I'm just making a pretty lousy intro comparing the qualities of this artist with the qualities of the mainframe. And not doing justice to either of them.

Just to tell you, here it is : the new IBM zEnterprise 114 with the following announcement : 'IBM zEnterprise 114 - Freedom by design (ZG11-0207)'

You know by now how the naming is done. It's just as the z196 still the first generation and it has 14 engines at its disposal. I'll first give you the more traditional stuff and then show you the internals with some new hardware components. There's also a new software pricing mechanism and some other pricing news. In the meantime some of the new things are also announced for the z196's GA2 : 'IBM zEnterprise 196 enhancements deliver faster access to data (ZG11-0193). In particular, I'm thinking about the new zBX enhancements.

Here's a good overview of the new functionalities of the z114. Just click on the image to get a larger, mor readable version in a new window.

Click on image for larger version in new window

Technical specifications

The z114 gets machine type 2818. Just like its, can we say BC, predecessors it's also a one frame, air-cooled machine. It's a little bit smaller footprint and it comes, just like the z196, with overhead or top-exit I/O cabling. New is that it now also has top exit power cabling.

At first sight, it's perhaps a bit surprising to see two models appearing again : the M05 and the M10. But this is mainly due to the new CPC drawers which I'll be discussing a bit further. These drawers each have 7 PUs. The M05 has one drawer (7 PUs) and the M10 has two drawers (14 PUs). Each model has 2 SAPs leaving the M05 with 5 and the M10 with 10 configurable PUs. Hey, why 10 on the M10 and not 14 - 2 = 12 ? Well, the M10 has 2 dedicated spares. This is new for a BC machine. The M05 acts as all its predecessor using non-designated PUs as spares. Both models can have up to 5 traditional CPs ranging from A01 to Z05 giving us 130 capacity settings.

Click on image for larger version in new window

You know what PCI stands for in the graph.
Other engines can be defined as specialty engines. Here's an overview of the possibilities.

Click on image for larger version in new window

The memory ranges from 8 GB up to 120 GB for the M05 and 248 GB of usable memory for the M10. Just like on the z196 the new RAIM memory is introduced. The small 4GB increments we saw in the lower ranges for the z10 BC are no longer available on the z114.

Upgrades are possible from any z9 BC or z10 BC. You can also (disruptively) upgrade from an M05 to an M10. Only the M10 allows an upgrade to the larger z196 and then again only to an air-cooled model.

The processor now reaches 3.8GHz and the out-of-order core execution has also become available on the BC machines now.

Under the covers
Here you see an 'under the covers' illustration of a z114 Model M10.

Let me concentrate on the two most distinctive technical elements of this z114 : the new CPC drawer and the very new PCIe I/O drawers.

CPC Drawers
You know the CPC drawer was introduced with the z10 BC which had 12 configurable PUs. Now I think IBM made a few modifications in order to make the low end mainframes as affordable as possible. One of those was to split this one drawer into two smaller drawers each with 7 PUs.

In that case the M05 can become cheaper due to less (unused) processors.

When you take a closer look at the 'under the covers' picture, you can see that we now have two kinds of I/O drawers. There's the 'traditional' I/O drawer that was introduced with the z10 BC, but now we also have a new PCIe I/O drawer. The connectivity starts with the new I/O Subsystem Internal Bus connectivity : this changes from InfiniBand to PCIe interconnectivity. The result is an increased throughput from 6 GBps to 8 GBps.

Let's now have a look on how the new PCIe I/O drawer differs from the first one. It is designed for improved power and bandwidth compared to the I/O drawer. First of all, if you're not familair with the PCIe standard, you might want to take a look at Wikipedia. In the meantime, here's the specs of the original I/O drawer.

And this is the new PCIe I/O drawer.

While all traditional cards are still held in the original I/O drawer, the PCIe I/O drawer introduces two types of new cards : the FICON Express8S card and the OSA-Express4S card. You might see that there are much more slots, but then again, the FICON Express8S card has only 2 CHPIDs. There's a long wave and a short wave card available. The connectors seem to remain the same. What IS impressive about this FICON card is the improved performance especially with a Large sequential Read/write mix.
Next to that there's also a new OSA-Express4S GbE and 10 GbE fiber for the PCIe I/O drawer. The 10GbE card has one port, the GbE card has two ports. Performance is similar to the OSA-Express3 cards. There's no new generation yet for the 1000BaseT card.

Here's a good overview of the current connectivity features.

Click on image for larger version in new window

By the way, this drawer is also available on the z196.

What Else ?
Here are some other items I'd like to discuss briefly in order to have a complete view of these announcements

As was the case with the z196, the z114 will not connect to any External Timer either.

In short, there are new 12x InfiniBand and 1x InfiniBand features (HCA3-O fanouts). The 12x InfiniBand provides increased service times when using 12x IFB3 protocol. 12x IFB3 service times are designed to be 40% faster than 12x IFB. The 1x InfiniBand provides increased port count. The number of ports increases from 2 to 4 with 16 CHPIDs across these 4 ports. This gives us the following overview for connectivity for coupling and I/O including existing and new features.

Operating Systems
  • V1.11, 1.12, 1.13 or higher
  • V1.8, 1.9, 1.10 in Lifecycle Extension
  • zBX Ensemble support: z/OS V1.10 or higher
  • Red Hat RHEL 5
  • Novell SUSE SLES 11
  • V5.4 and higher
  • zBX Ensemble support: V6.1
  • V4.2 and higher
  • zBX Ensemble support V4.3 or higher
z196 GA2
Let me just summarize the most important functionalities that also become available on the z196.
  • The new 32 slot PCIe based I/O drawer
  • The new 8GB PCIe interconnects
  • New form factor I/O adapters i.e FICON Express8S and OSA-Expres4S
  • Improved PSIFB Coupling Link
  • zBX-002 with ISAOPT, POWER7, DataPower XI50z and IBM System x Blades
  • Improved time coordination for zBX components
  • Cryptographic enhancements

zBX : zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension announcements

The zBX Model 002 also becomes available for the z114. If you want to review the functionalities of the zBX ànd of the Unified Resource Manager, I'd advise you to take a look at my post on the introduction of the z196. Up to now we had the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer, the Websphere DataPower Integration Appliance XI50 for zEnterprise (XI50z) and the Power7 blades for the zBX.

We now see the introduction of the x86 blades. As is the case with the Power blades only specific types of x86 BladeCenters will be supported. The supported blade type is System x Machine Type 7873 (HX5). This is described in the following announcement : 'IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension support for select IBM BladeCenter HX5 blades (ZG11-0200)' There will be a zBX integrated Hypervisor for IBM System x Blades. This is not VMWare but KVM. It is planned to support both Linux on System x and Windows (even) on the same blade. This will be 64-bit Linux on System x versions and 64-bit Windows versions. But, keep in mind, the Windows support is still a Statement of Direction, normally to be implemented during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Software pricing : the good news
For z114 customers
Parallel to the AWLC pricing for the z196, there's an announcement of a new AEWLC (Advanced Entry Workload License Charges) pricing metric : 'Advanced Entry Workload License Charges offers price/performance for the IBM zEnterprise z114 (ZP11-0311)'. So, no 'technology dividend' (lowering the MSU-Mips ratio) either but a real price reduction for the actual MSUs. Small ànd growing customers will benefit from this new pricing metric. It also introduces a new MSU Tier starting at +315 MSU instead of the highest +260 MSU Tier we know from EWLC pricing.
A brief remark for the z/VSE customers : MWLC products will also be made available on AEWLC pricing.

Software pricing : the not so good news
For EWLC customers on z9 BC and z10 BC
This one was already announced last week but of course it fits in over here. In addition to the announcement of the new pricing metric there was also an announcement about EWLC pricing : 'Price Changes in monthly Entry Workload License Charges (EWLC) on selected IBM System z Software Products(ZA11-1029)'. You might have noticed that there were already quite some pricing announcements last year. There was the yearly price modification announcement usually starting July 1, there were some announcements about increasing prices for back level versions of CICS, DB2 ... and here's this new one now announcing an additional 5% price increase for EWLC pricing that will take effect January 1, 2012. Should we call that a gentle push from IBM towards the new z114 ?

Other pricing considerations
Next to the software pricing initiatives, IBM really seems to do quite some efforts to lower the prices for the platform. First of all, they promise a reduction on the hardware maintenance. This actually has been the case for all last generations. Specialty engines will cost less and memory will even cost a lot less. Or, as the announcement says : "Significant reduction in maintenance, hardware, specialty engine, and memory pricing, making new workload deployment even more affordable"

Statements of Direction
The statements of direction (next to the one about Windows of course) are an interesting read. Also take a look at the recommendations for not running into trouble.
  • z114 will be the very last server to support ESCON channels. It will not be possible to order new ESCON channels on follow-up models nor carry them forward during an upgrade of the z196 or the z114
    If you really still need them, you can have a look at the Opticatech products
  • z114 will be the last server to support FICON Express4 channels
    Enterprises should migrate to FICON Express8S channels.
  • z114 will be the last server to support OSA-Express2 features
    Enterprises should migrate to OSA-Express4S features.
  • z114 will be the last server to offer ordering of ISC-3
    Enterprises should migrate to 12x InfiniBand or 1x InfiniBand LR coupling links.
  • z114 will be the last server to offer ordering of the PSC feature.
  • z114 will be the last server to support dial-up modems for use with the Remote Support Facility (RSF), and the External Time Source (ETS) option of Server Time Protocol (STP).
Apparantly, it's still a bit early to come with full documentation, but this is what is already available for the moment.

Redbook : IBM zEnterprise 114 Technical Guide (still a draft for the moment)

Web :

Some key dates for the z114 and z196 GA2
July 12, 2011
  • day of announcement
  • first day orders
  • Resource Link support available
September 9, 2011
  • new builds for z114 M05 and M10 models
  • upgrades from z9 BC or z10 BC
  • GA2 level for new z196s or upgrades
September 26, 2011
  • Manage Firmware System x Blade
4th Quarter 2011
  • Microsoft Windows (64-bit only) for select IBM System x Blades in a zBX (SOD).
  • And I find this one a bit odd : Unified Resource Manager support for System x Blades (SOD) !
December 31, 2011
  • z114 Model M05 to M10 upgrades.

As usual, I could only touch upon the very highlights of this new system. There's much more to discover about it. So I'd say : stay tuned !

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