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.