Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Belgian GSE Working Group meetings

March seems to be a very busy month for the Belgian GSE Working groups. I got quite some invitations over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I might put them in the spotlight. I just hope I don't forget any. If so, please let me know.

Here we go :
  • Joint VM and Linux on System z Working Group Meeting
    Where and when : Tuesday March 6, 2012 at the IBM Forum Brussels at 1.00 PM
    Topics : Linux on System z: What, Why, How, and When? (by Eric Michiels, IBM Belgium), zVM Linux servers, our bridge pillars between business and legacy (P&V customer case by Carlo Werbrouck) and Mainframe, VM and Linux - A perfect match? (by Guy Przytula).
    Registration over here.
  • z/OS Working Group Meeting
    Where and when : Wednesday March 14, 2012 at RealDolmen Huizingen at 9.00 AM
    Topics : to be determined
    Registration over here.
  • DB2 Working Group Meeting
    Where and when : Thursday March 15, 2012 at Colruyt Halle at 1.00 PM
    Topics : The meeting is entirely dedicated to migrating to DB2 10
    Registration over here.
  • Architecture Working Group Meeting
    Where and when : Friday March 16, 2012 at KBC Leuven at 1.00 PM
    Topics : dedicated to Mobile Application Architecture with sessions on Mobile Applications, Mobile Payments and Mobile Commerce; Mobile network architectures - Another look on mobile application challenges; Quelle architecture pour les solutions mobiles?
    Registration over here.

And to finish things off, the dates for the Regional GSE Conference are Thursday April, 26 and Friday April, 27 2012. As last year, Thursday will be 'only' registration and evening dinner. Friday will have all the sessions. Theme of this years meeting is : 'Information Management and Big Data'.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Revised availability: IBM z/OS Management Facility V1.13 DASD Management task

When z/OS 1.13 (ZP11-0313) and z/OSMF 1.13 (ZP11-0303) were announced, IBM announced a DASD Management Task for z/OSMF to become available in the first quarter of 2012. It was intended to simplify disk storage management as follows :
"The new task is intended to allow you to perform storage group management tasks from within the application. It is designed to streamline the process of adding volumes to SMS pool storage groups, reducing several manually intensive steps involving multiple applications to a reduced number of steps using a single interface. The DASD Management task is planned to be made available in first quarter 2012 with the PTF for APAR PM40869".
It was to contain an Add Storage wizard.
"The Add Storage wizard can enable you to add storage to an SMS pool storage group more easily than before. It uses the new storage group attributes as policy, if defined within the storage group definition. The Add Storage wizard guides you through the following steps:
  • Determining the amount of capacity to add based on the storage utilization goal and available capacity found in the assigned reserve storage pool
  • Selecting the volumes to add from the reserve storage pool
  • Updating the SCDS with the selected volumes
  • Initializing the selected volumes to match the naming convention of the storage group
  • Optionally, varying volumes online and activating the changes to the SCDS to make the new capacity available for SMS use"
This has now been postponed with the following announcement : 'Revised availability: IBM z/OS Management Facility V1.13 DASD Management task (ZP12-0036)'. The function "will not be available in first quarter 2012 with a PTF for APAR PM40869. IBM is assessing plans for delivering this capability at a later date".

We'll keep you posted !

Potential DS8100/DS8300/DS8700 FICON Host Adapter Loss of Access during certain zHPF workloads

Just saw this Storage Flash pass by : 'Potential DS8100/DS8300/DS8700 FICON Host Adapter Loss of Access during certain zHPF workloads'.

What's it about ?
"Customers running zHPF enabled on DS8100/DS8300 with Release 4.3 code bundle levels and higher or DS8700 with Release 5.0 code bundle level 75.0.x.y may see global CRC checks or repeating host adapter error recovery leading to unavailable host adapter cards and potential loss of access. DS8700s on Release 5.1 bundle levels 75.1.x.y are not exposed. DS8800s are not exposed"
Check out all the details over here.

What to do for the moment ?
As already indicated above : DS8800 customers are not affected.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February Storage announcements

Last week there were also some storage announcements. The most important ones were about Gen 3 of XIV : 'IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 with software release 11.1 offers optional SSD caching (ZG12-0039)' and 'IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 Software Version 11.1.0 supports SSD caching and multi-system management enhancements, and IBM XIV Storage System Software Version 10.2.4.e offers cross-generation mirroring (ZP12-0046)'.

In short for XIV Gen 3.1 there are the following new features :
  • SSD Caching. Should increases read performance considerably
  • XIV Mobile (monitor) Dashboard for iPhone
  • Cross-generation mirroring between all XIV models
  • Management UI Enhancements
The most important feature of XIV Gen 3.1 is of course the introduction of SSD read cache. You know how each XIV module contains its own disks, cache, CPU and possibly interface components. To each module you can now add 400GB of SSD cache. That means that for e.g. 6 modules you can have 400GB x 6 = 2.4TB of read cache. This should give your read performance an extra boost. The Storage Buddhist compares it to NetApp Flash Cache and I guess that's a pretty good comparison since Flash Cache is also meant to boost read performance.

Next to the XIV announcement Tony Pearson also mentions some other ones on his Inside System Storage blog. I'm not sure why, but I can't find any 'real' announcement about it. IBM Tape storage policy normally offers reading N-2 generations and writing N-1 generations. The reading part is now extended to N-3. I'm not going to sum up all possibilities. Just look at the picture below. The red box should no longer be grayed out but for the moment I have no real details about how it should be filled in.
Just click on the image for a larger version.

I already mentioned two fellow bloggers writing about these announcements. But I should add another one writing extensively about them. It's Anthony Vandewerdt on his Aussi Storage Blog with 'XIV Release 3.1 – SSD Read Cache is go!' and 'XIV Release 3.1 materials' including a video on the XIV iPhone App.

System z EOS announcements for DB2 and z/VM

I'm a bit late, I know, with last weeks announcements. But you know what they say : better late than never. I'll start off with the System z announcements and make another post on the storage announcements.

New End of Support (EOS) dates are announced for a range of products : 'Software withdrawal and support discontinuance: IBM System z selected products (ZP12-0021)'. I'm not going to list them all but next to some Websphere, Tivoli, IMS, TPC and other products there's first of all the End of Support date of DB2 for z/OS 9.1 on June 27, 2014. A bit more than 7 years after GA. If you're still on V8, don't forget that the EOS date is in a couple of months on April 30, 2012. You might very well consider skipping DB2 9 altogether and do a skip level migration to DB2 10.

By the way, I just added a Belgian GSE DB2 Working Group meeting to the agenda. It's at the Colruyt site in Halle on Thursday March 15, 2012 and the meeting is entirely dedicated to DB2 V10 migration experiences. Speakers are John Campbell (IBM Distinguished Engineer) and Michael Dewert (IBM Germany).

Next to that, there's also the announcement of the EOS date for z/VM 6.1 on April 30, 2013. As you know, that's almost half a year earlier that the EOS date for z/VM 5.4 which is on September 30, 2013. z/VM 6.1 is to be replaced by z/VM 6.2.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Workshop : Tuned for the Task - Linux on System z

You know I'm still quite happy with the name of my blog. It's not always that simple to pick a good name. I opted for the term 'mainframe' at a moment when the word seemed to have quite a negative connotation and wasn't even used by IBM at that moment. Time has proven me right I guess. But I also added Belgium for a reason. It was my intention to mention only events when our Belgian customers could attend them. Much has changed of course, since we saw, or see, more and more webcasts taking over real life events. But they still happen of course.

So here's one at the IBM Research and Development Center in Boeblingen. Yes, it's a good 5 hour drive from Brussels, but I think it's worth your while. It's a free two day workshop taking place on Tuesday March 13 and Wednesday March 14, 2012. You can find all information over here where you can also register for the event.

"In this two-day technical-oriented workshop on March 13th and 14th in the IBM Boeblingen Development Laboratory you have the chance to speak directly with IBM developers and experts about the technical capabilities of Linux on the IBM System z server systems. You will get first-hand information, and you can exchange your experiences with other customers".

Here's a sort summary of the agenda :
  • What's New for Linux on System z
  • Linux on System z Performance Update SLES11 SP2
  • Storage Options for Linux on System z and Comparison DS8K, XIV and Storwize V7000
  • Linux on System z Networking
  • Live Demo: Integrating x86 workload into Linux on System z environments
  • Live Demo: Debugging with Linux on System z with Valgrind
  • Linux Health Checker

You only have to make your own travel and accomodation arrangements. If you're planning to go and want more information or some help in planning, do contact me, I'll be glad to help you with it.

And, as I always say, do check it out !