Tuesday, June 26, 2012

IBM Total Solution Event for System z Brussels

If you're a Benelux customer and you want to keep up to date about all things mainframe then you should take the time for this conference. I know time is a valuable asset nowadays but this is a free 3-day conference that informs you about the latest technologies for System z. A wide audience is targeted as there are tracks for managers, architects and several technical groups. Let me give you an overview of the tracks :

  • TRACK 1 - zEnterprise for IT Managers and Executives 
  • TRACK 2 - zEnterprise for IT Architects 
  • TRACK 3 - New Technologies on zEnterprise 
  • TRACK 4 - Maximize Scalability and Flexibility with Linux and z/VM on System z 
  • TRACK 5 - Cloud Computing with zEnterprise 
  • TRACK 6 - Integrated Management and Monitoring of zEnterprise 
  • TRACK 7 - Managing and exploiting Enterprise Data and Information 
  • TRACK 8 - Exploiting Modern Application Architectures on zEnterprise 
  • TRACK 9 - Increasing Productivity and Time to Market with Application Development Solutions for zEnterprise 
  • TRACK 10 - DB2 on z/OS Update 
  • TRACK 11 - IMS Update 
  • TRACK 12 - CICS Update 
You can register over here. There's also aleady an agenda over there.
If you want more information on the tracks and session, take a look over here. You can download the session agenda over here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Announcement - Software withdrawal : IBM System z selected products

I've been asked what's happening over here because my post rate has dropped to practically below zero. Almost like the weather over here. Well, there's just one reason, or actually there are three : work, work and work. So I'll try and catch up a bit. Sorry if this one's old news for you, but I only now had the time to have a look at it. But hey, I haven't seen it anywhere else as well.

On June 5 IBM made the following announcement : 'Software withdrawal: IBM System z selected products - Some replacements available (ZP12-0244)'.

Maybe the most important one here is that SystemPac for z/OS V1.12 will be withdrawn on July 23, 2013. It was previously announced as withdrawn on July 24, 2012 but evidently due to the announced changed release schedule for z/OS, this has been prolonged.

Others that are listed
  • Lifecycle Extension for z/OS 1.9 will be withdrawn from marketing (WDFM) August 27, 2012. After that "extended service for z/OS V1.9 will be evaluated on an individual basis".
  • CICS Transaction Server for z/OS 4.1 will be WDFM September 10, 2012 
But of course there are a lot of others. I'd say : just check them out !

Monday, June 4, 2012

IBM Storage announcements : IBM Smarter Storage

Today, IBM made a whole range of storage announcements around IBM Smarter Storage. It's way too extensive to cover everything so I'll just run you through some that caught my attention.
  • There are some interesting Statements of Direction (SODs) : 'Statement of direction: IBM DS8000 series, SONAS, XIV , and Storwize V7000 Unified (ZG12-0163)'.
    Focusing mainly on the DS8000, some highlights : 
    • DS8000 Easy Tier extended to server based storage : Easy Tier will extend smart data placement intelligence to use server resources, communicating with servers to place hot data in server SSD cache to reduce latency and further optimize performance
    • DS8000 new high-density flash storage option : DS8000 and other IBM storage systems will use fast, high-density SSD cache modules to enhance performance. As put on another IBM page :  "a new 400GB SSD option provides additional flexibility for performance-intensive applications".
    • DS8000 Easy Tier support for application API : Easy Tier will use an API to enable servers to communicate with storage so storage can become aware of application workload needs and use that to optimize data placement

    There's also good news for XIV about migrating from one system to another : "IBM intends to support an increased scalability of capacity, performance, and host bandwidth by clustering IBM XIV Gen3 systems together and providing the capability to migrate volumes across the cluster without disrupting applications. Management of the cluster will remain simple with consolidated views and shared configurations across the systems". 
There's more information on other announcements on the IBM Smarter Storage page which you find over here.

Potential DS8000 loss of access with VMWare 4.1 and higher with VAAI Zero Blocks/Write Same enabled

Perhaps a little bit out of my league but nevertheless worth mentioning :


The extended features of VAAI ( Zero Blocks/Write Same ) are not supported by DS8000 at this time, but are enabled by default on ESX 4.1 or higher.


IBM has received reports of issues when running VAAI Zero Blocks/Write Same commands with DS8000 that have caused application problems including a loss of access to data. Clients are advised to disable VAAI's use of the Zero Blocks/Write Same command to avoid the possibility of an issue, and the procedure to do so is described in the Mitigation information below.


To avoid any issues, use the following to disable the Zero Blocks/Write Same function of VAAI (HardwareAcceleratedInit parameter). Other functions of VAAI may remain enabled for use on other storage systems. All OTHER non VAAI features of VMWare ESX 4.1 or higher are certified with DS8000 (all models) and function normally.

Here's a KB for disabling the Zero Blocks/Write Same command. - http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1033665


IBM is working to address the issues of running VAAI Zero Blocks/Write Same functions with DS8000, and will send an update out when this has been done.