Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CICS Transaction Server V5.1 Open Beta

Yesterday, IBM announced its new CICS TS generation 'IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V5.1 open beta introduces cloud-style applications and cloud-style infrastructure (ZP12-0216)'.
The announcement is summarized as follows :
"CICS Transaction Server for z/OS (CICS TS) V5.1 open beta introduces cloud-style CICS development, deployment, and operations, by delivering:
The combination of these two sets of capability areas will greatly simplify the assembly, deployment, and lifecycle management of CICS applications, delivering many of the characteristics found in private-cloud computing systems. CICS TS V5.1 open beta gives you the opportunity to explore the concept of a cloud-style CICS deployment in your own environment."
Date of availability is June 13, 2012. From that day onwards you will be able to download CICS TS 5.1 by visiting :

If you want to have more information on this announcement and some related announcements on CICS Explorer, CICS Configuration Manager plug-in, CICS Performance Analyzer plug-in, WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime and IBM Rational Development and Test Environment for System z, then do take a look over here at the Cics Portfolio eNewsletter. It really provides you with lots of additional information.

Oh, by the way, a tweet from IBM_CICS brought me to this page where you can find all Announcement Letters for CICS Products' brought together.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reminder : Hardware withdrawal of z10 EC and z10 BC

I blogged about this some time ago over here. But I thought a reminder might be in place as the first End of Marketing date is closing in fast now.

This first End of Marketing date is June 30, 2012. Past that date any upgrades towards a z10 EC or a z10 BC will no longer be possible. Nor will you be able to do any model conversions or hardware MES features. Roughly speaking this means that any upgrade which involves hardware changes will no longer be possible. And, really, that's just a couple of months away.

The second End of Marketing date is June 30, 2013. Until then, any microcode upgrade will still be possible.

As we have seen with the z9, unlike the past, IBM has taken a strict policy of adhering to these End of Marketing dates. So, you must really bear in mind that after the dates I just mentioned, nothing will pass anymore. Not even a microcode downgrade.

At first sight, I think that the practical consequences mainly involve connectivity cards and memory. Up to June 30, 2013 you will still be able to activate that zIIP or an IFL or do a microcode upgrade (as long as you don't need an extra book). But if that involves adding memory, which is not that imaginary, believe me, then you must add it before June 30, 2012. And when you have a New Workload project, but you need additional connectivity, you should put in these cards now or it will be too late.

I know, there's a solution for this : upgrading to the zEnterprise. But we know that not everyone is willing or able to take that step yet. So, just in case you plan to stay just a little bit longer on the z10, have a good look at your future planning in order to see whether you have to take any actions now. The entire announcement is over here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DS8000 R6.3 and DS8700 Hardware Withdrawal

Just to put things straight from the beginning : the hardware withdrawal of the DS8700 does not mean that R6.3 doesn't become available on the DS8700. So first the hardware withdrawal : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage DS8000 series Model 941 - Replacements available (ZG12-0080)'. The DS8700 will be withdrawn from marketing on October 1, 2012. The replacement is of course the DS8800.

So, let's move on to what's new on the DS8000 with the following announcement : 'IBM System Storage DS8000 series increases data security and flexibility with new self-encrypting drive options (ZG12-0011)'. Emphasis of this announcement is on
  • Storage scalability with new 400GB SSD drives,
  • Data Protection with 400 GB SSD encryption drives and 3 TB nearline SAS encryption drives and with Easy Tier fourth generation which can support any type of encryption drives in addition to non-encryption drives.
  • Thin Provisioning enhancement with Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, and Metro Global Mirror services that are now supported on thin provision volumes. Mind you, this is only for open systems.
I'm not going into too much detail as the announcement is pretty clear itself.
Just a few points of interest : although the announcement says that "all features and functions in this announcement are supported on the IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800" it's pretty obvious that the new 2.5'' SAS 400GB SSD drives become only available on the DS8800. Just like the 3.5” SAS 3TB NL drives they have an FDE version. FDE stands for Full Disk Encryption and these "drive sets let you encrypt data at rest on a DS8800 series storage controller".

Now that the mirroring services are supported with thin provisioning volumes, "existing customers that have thin provision volumes on the system and want to use Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, and Metro Global Metro functions do not need any reconfiguration". This might be one reason to use this, but another advantage would surely be a performance benefit and less traffic on your PPRC connections.

Planned availability date : April 20, 2012.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Statement of Direction : z/OS Version 2 !

People have been asking me if I knew anything more about the future of z/OS. Well, apart from what I wote here in previous posts, I didn't. But now here's this announcement : 'Statement of direction: IBM z/OS (ZP12-0025)'.

We already knew about the new two-year release cycle, but there were also speculations about a new version. Well, here it is : "IBM plans to introduce a new version of the z/OS operating system, z/OS Version 2, with z/OS V2.1 to be released in the second half of 2013". This will also include a new scheme for z/OS support : "(...) beginning with z/OS Version 2, IBM plans to provide five years of z/OS support, with three years of optional, fee-based extended service (5+3) as part of the new release cadence".

Another item that's confirmed here is that "IBM plans to support an n-2 approach, where three consecutive releases are planned to be supported for coexistence, fallback, and migration". So, direct upgrades from z/OS V1.12 and V1.13 to z/OS V2.1 will be possible. The same goes for z/OSMF.

The next question that arises then is of course : what happens to the support of recent z/OS releases. Well, support for z/OS 1.12 is planned to be extended with one year and for z/OS 1.13 with 2 years. So z/OS 1.12 should be supported until September 30, 2014 and z/OS 1.13 until September 30, 2016. No changes however for z/OS 1.11. End of Support date for z/OS 1.11 remains September 30, 2012. But, as with previous versions, IBM also announces (ZP12-0032) a two year Lifecycle Extension support for z/OS 1.11 extending corrective support until September 30, 2014.

So, how will the release schedule of z/OS possibly look like. Mind you, it's an educated guess, based on statements of direction. And we know what IBM says about SODs, don't we ?

Date End of
z/OS 1.11
z/OS 1.12
z/OS 1.13
z/OS 2.1
z/OS 2.2
z/OS 2.3

If this is the schedule to follow, then there will be no entire overlap between End Of Support date of version n-2 and the End of Marketing date of version n.

To be continued . . .

Note : I made some corrections concerning the EOS dates

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Take the Destination z Tips and Techniques CHALLENGE!

Want to win a z114 LEGO model ?
Got a great tip or technique to share ?
Then take a look over here.

I admit it, though my blog is mentioned on Destination z, I don't come on the site very often. I don't want to sound sceptical but it's really a tough job to start up a new mainframe community or community site. There's already the GSE and SHARE communities, there's the Listserv discussion lists, which may look old-fashioned but every one is using them and they're very effective.

But here's a nice initiative that may lure you to the Destination z site :
Got a great tip or technique to share? (...) A LEGO model of an IBM zEnterprise 114 could be yours if you post the winning submission! To enter the Destination z Challenge, community members can simply login and post their best mainframe tip or technique in the z & A forum thread below. Not a member of Destination z? Join now! Entries will be accepted through May 4. At that time, three finalists will be chosen by an expert panel and voted upon by Destination z members. The top vote-getter will be announced in June! See our complete contest rules.
Now, you're tempted, aren't you ? You with all your experience have lots of tips to share. Even without having a look at the tips that are already there, you just know you have a better one, don't you ?

So, just have a look. It's over here. And if you haven't registered yet, you can do so over here.
You never know you can even learn something from the others. And while you're there, take a look around !

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

IBM z/VSE V5.1 - Additional enhancements available

z/VSE V5.1 became generally available on November 25, 2011. You can find the announcement over here. Now enhancements have been made in order to add value to CICS Transaction Sever for VSE/ESA (CICS TS) V1.1., to further exploit innovative IBM zEnterprise technology and to extend the z/VSE connectivity options in heterogeneous environments : 'IBM z/VSE V5.1 - Additional enhancements available (ZP12-0084)'.

"z/VSE V5.1 enhancements include:

These enhancements will be made available with PTFs for z/VSE V5.1."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Price Change for Enterprise Cobol V3 and Enterprise PL/I V3

Despite the release date of this announcement, it looks like this is not a joke : 'Price Changes for Enterprise Cobol for z/OS full and alternate functionV3 and Enterprise PL/1 for z/OS full and alternate function V3 (ZA12-1012)'.

Before you read any further : this announcement is NOT for EWLC and AEWLC customers.

We had similar price increases for 'older' products like CICS TS V3 and DB2 V8, so now Cobol and PL/I have to follow. The arguments are the same : IBM has continuously added functionalities to these versions without significant price increases. Now it wants to level the prices with the more recent versions of the products. In the meantime the support for COBOL V3.4 and PL/I V3.9 will continue until at least December 2013.

Average percent increases are shown for 500 MSUs. For Belgian VWLC customers e.g. this means an increase of 8% for Cobol V3 Full Function, 10% for Cobol V3 Alternate Function, 14% for PL/I Full Function and 16% for PL/I Alternate function. The same percentages are given for AWLC customers except that the Cobol V3 Alternate function only increases 6% ?

Check out the announcement for your specific country to see what's valid for you.