Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year

Well here's my last post for this year. If you missed my year review, just scroll down a bit.

We don't know what the next year will bring us but I surely wish every one the best for 2014 : A Happy New Year and good health to you and your family.


Thanks to all my readers for stopping by so regularly, to all the people who linked to this blog, to those who kindly retweeted me and to every one who gave me great feedback during 2013.

Looking back on 2013 - Year Review

Well here we are. Another year's gone. And this is already my seventh Year Review for this blog. Let's find out whether there were some eye-catching or surprising evolutions during 2013.

January started out rather calmly but at least there was some good news about the IBM System z revenue. The last quarter of 2012 showed a revenue increase for mainframe server products of 56% compared to the year before.

In February we have a preview of z/VM 6.3 and there's a pre-announcement of z/OS 2.1. You know with the new release scheme you still have quite some time before you really have to be on z/OS 2.1. But perhaps you shouldn't feel too comfortable about that because since the announcement of the zBC12 we see that lots of functions become only fully available when you are on z/OS 2.1. So don't stay too long on z/OS V1 as it might become a showstopper for you.
Also in February there was an announcement on XIV bringing the SSD read cache at 6TB. By the end of the year this will even be increased to 12TB with 800GB SSD disks. Next to that the 10GbE ports were introduced.
I just want to point out some withdrawals from support : z/VSE 4.3 and one that's still in the pipeline COBOL for z/OS V4.1 (5655-S71) support ends April 30, 2014.

March passed by rather quietely but in April we had at least a couple of interesting annoucements. IBM Enterprise Cobol for z/OS V5.1 is announced.  And of course a year review wouldn't be complete without any reference to price changes from IBM. We begin with the usual, annual price changes. And at the end of the month there's some good news too in that matter : IBM announces CICS TS for z/OS Value Unit Edition (VUE) V5.1. It's a kind of OTC or IPLA software mechanism instead of the MLC pricing. It should help you lower your CICS TS cost, provided that it turns in a zNALC LPAR.
Other good news : in Belgium we see a new GSE working group : GSE Young Professionals. By now it has had two successful meetings.

In June we had the 30th anniversary of DB2. This, deservedly, gets quite a lot of attention. On the other hand, some interesting End of Supports amongst which the most notorious must be IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for z/OS V5.5 (5698-A13). On the storage side there's release 7.1 which is announced for the DS8870. Lots of attention goes to Easy Tier. Easy Tier Application gives the administrator some influence over the Easy Tier automatic processes as he can sort of overrule them for specific cases. Easy Tier Heat Map transfer helps you keep the same performance on your D/R box. Definitely some nice new features.
As of June 30, the z10 is now completely End of Marketing : no more MES upgrades to these systems. The only way is up to the next generations.

July is traditionally a busy month for big announcements the last couple of years. This time was no exception. As expected, the zBC12 was announced on July 23 along with zEC12 GA2. How can you summarize this ? Some new stuff : two new cards : the RoCE and the zEDC card. A new processor, IFP, though transparant for the customer.  Lower software pricing with a price reduction of 4% to 5% on the most important softwares. And there's a new 2:1 ratio for zIIPs and zAAPs.
Together with this hardware announcements there were also some software announcements. Finally, there's the official announcement of z/OS 2.1, z/VM 6.3 and PL/I for z/OS 4.4.
End of Marketing was also announced for the z196 and the z114. In short : no more hardware upgrades after June 30, 2014 and no more MES upgrades after June 30, 2015. You might know by now I'm not always entirely happy with those short End of Marketing ranges for the latest generations of mainframes.

In August I pointed out some interesting documents that are still relevant. The first one was the z/OS 2.1 Migration Guide. Who wouldn't want to bookmark this one for future use ? The second one was the return of the Hot Topics Newsletter with also lots of information on z/OS 2.1.

In September I mentioned BMC's 8th Annual Global Mainframe Survey. The key takeaway is that "the mainframe will continue to play a critical role as a scalable platform delivering crucial computing power in a world where business users expect access anytime, anywhere, without regard to the data volume and velocity required behind the scenes".
There was another DS8000 announcement with the withdrawal of some hardware features. Bottom line it meant that the DS8100 and the DS8300 were End of Marketing on all fronts, which left them at least a (nice marketing) life span of 9 years.
One other thing that kept surfacing time and again was the importance of Openstack for IBM. One example : the Unified Resource Manager was attributed an important role in managing the z/VM hypervisor and the virtual servers it supports for z/VM 6.2. For z/VM 6.3 things are already quite different : zManager is stabilized (we know what this means) and Openstack comes fully in the picture. z/VM V6.3 is "the first System z operating environment that can be managed with these open cloud architecture-based interfaces". I have the impression that Openstack is here to stay and that we'll see more of it in 2014.

Quite interesting announcements in October too. IBM announces DB2 11 and IMS 13. What's nice about those (next to the technical features of course) is that they get the same pricing as their predecessors. How about that ? No more whining about price increases. And you actually win twice. IMS follows DB2 in its efforts to increase functionalities with new releases and still drop the processor utilisation. And DB2 has proven with DB2 10 that this is more than just marketing talk. Our customers actually see the difference.

In November there's another DS8000 announcement with release V7.2 for DS8870. The DS8870 ships from now on with the Power7+ processor. This provides the DS8000 once again with a significant performance enhancement. With release 7.2 we also see the introduction of an all flash drive configuration. There are also two new disk models : the 1.2TB 10k rpm SAS drives and the 4TB 7.2k rpm nearline SAS drives. At the same time these disks are the replacements for the 900GB and the 3TB disks that are withdrawn from marketing and by now already no longer available.

In December there's yet another new GSE Working group here in Belgium : the GSE ladies. The primary objective of this group is to take away all the prejudices that people still have about ICT ladies and show young women the way to a career in IT. There were not that many announcements but I put up a bunch of reference materials to all kinds of information.

Well, that's all folks. Stephen L. Blinick from IBM gave me a wonderful description of the DS8000 a couple of months ago. It has actually remained the very same machine for 10 years. And yet it has tremendously evolved over those same 10 years adapting to the new IT world and its demands. Well, I think you can say the same for the mainframe. But then for a bit longer period. You know we celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 7 next year. For its 40th anniversary there was the announcement of the z890 on April 7, 2004. I wonder whether IBM has something up its sleeve for the 50th anniversary.

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The reliability of an IBM mainframe wins the heart of a Sicoob spouse

What did I tell you a couple of weeks ago : a post a day until Christmas. Well, that's about it, no ? I finish with a feelgood story from Sicoob, a Brazilian company that migrated to mainframe and some not so obvious consequences of this. Well, just have a look and . . . Merry Christmas.



If you want to know more about the actual implementation, the next video gives you some more insight.



And do come back after Christmas for my year review of 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

ibm.com homepage history in screen shots

There's one E. Costello I do know but up to a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Ed Costello before. As it turns out, Ed Costello was " IBM’s first Corporate Webmaster, managing www.ibm.com and a variety of other web sites for IBM from 1994 through 1999". But why do I now write specifically about him ? Well he has a page that shows a nice history of the ibm.com homepage through the years. And what's interesting about it, is that he also tells the stories behind the different pages.

A couple of examples. This one from 2001 still looks quite familiar


But this one is already a bit further in time (1999)


And this one is the very first version dating back to 1994


The overview ends in 2011 with version 17. So do have a look at it and try to remember how far your memories of the IBM homepage go back. I think mine only start somewhere around 1998.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Installation of an IBM TS3500 tape library

Here's another nice video I came across. The credit for pointing this one out goes to Roger Luethy with his nice and comprehensive storage blog. "In the movie you may follow the different phases of the installation of the tape libray, from the positioning of the first frame up to the loading of the tapes".




Intriguing, isn't it ?
And lots of respect for the people who are doing this. Let this be my little tribute to every IBM CE because we too often take them for granted but we really rely on them on a day to day basis.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You Can Build A Mainframe From The Things You Find At Home

You know that near the end of the year I like to throw in some funny or suprising posts mainly with some videos from Youtube. Well, here's the first one. I have no idea how I came across this, where it was recorded or what was the original purpose of it. Still, listen until the end or you'll miss the plot. And people, it's fiction of course. Don't take yourselves too seriously !



If you want the text of the song, it's over here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

System z Newsletters

Once again, not sure where I picked this up the first time. It might've been some retweet from Ken Graff (@kgcanes) on Twitter. RealDolmen is not the only company publishing a System z Newsletter. Ken Graff from IBM is also composing one sometimes every month, sometimes with some larger interval. The last one was in November and Ken told me it's not likely there will be one in December. But I'll keep you posted about it via Twitter.

You can find previous editons over here. Every issue starts out with an overview of past announcements. I have the impression it focuses more on the software announcements. Which I tend to forget from time to time, so this may be a nice addition. There are a lot of references to information pages, new articles, white papers and so on. When you browse through it, there's always some or other link catching your attention. This all falls under the header of 'News'. Two other headers are 'Education and Events' and 'Teleconferences'. I guess it's pretty obvious what these are about, no ?

As I always say, just check it out !


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Counting down towards April 7, 2014

You might have noticed I have this counter running at the right side of my blog.



If you wonder what it's doing there : I'm counting down towards April 7, 2014. I still vividly remember the day I read the S/360 announcement on April 7, 1964 and how excited I was about it. No, just kidding, as a three year old toddler I had other problems and joys than that at the time. But if you want to have a look at the announcement, it's over here in the IBM Archives. It strikes me that it's way much shorter than recent announcements. But, that was then . . . 

I myself started out just half way in 1988 with an IBM mainframe training. The very first courses were assembler (!), Cobol, JCL, DASD ...  But I do remember April 7 so well because in 2004 it marked the 40th anniversary of the S/360 ├ánd the announcement of the z890. It was the first announcement I attended in the presales function I'm doing now. So, we're almost ten years later and those ten years were quite exciting ones.

I'm not sure what 'festivities' will be held next year but I can see on Twitter that IBM (mainly marketing) people are more and more referring to the event. So just to warm you up, I have this nice document from Chuck Boyer called 'The 360 Revolution' that you can find over here. It was written back in 2004 and it focuses mainly on that sixties era. I can tell you, it's a great document. The pictures alone are worth a look. So let me share a couple of them with you.






And let me finish with the most famous quote about System/360 from Tom Watson Jr.
"[System/360] was the biggest, riskiest decision I ever made, and I agonized about it for weeks, but deep down, I believed there was nothing IBM couldn’t do".

Monday, December 16, 2013

Introducing : GSE Ladies

We have a very active GSE community with lots of Working Groups here in Belgium. At the beginning of this year I already introduced you to the Young Professionals Working Group. And now I'm very pleased to announce you yet another group : the GSE Ladies.


Take a look at the logo : diamonds are a girl's best friend ! But that's the only stereotype you'll hear from me today. I had a talk with Nathalie Kempenaers, the chairwoman of this group and she gave me some information about their plans. So, let me introduce you to a couple of initiatives they will develop in the coming months. One is very clear : take away the stereotypes and prejudices that are still running around about women and ICT. And I believe it's really necessary. There's a shortage of IT personnel and only a small percentage of them are women. And as you all know, I can assure you that the mainframe world is no exception to this. On the contrary.

So the first initiative is organizing, let me give you the Dutch name first : 'snuffelstages'. Let's say, the equivalent is something like 'tag along training'. The goal is to give young women, who are about to go to college, the opportunity to tag along with a 'real' ICT lady in the field. So they can learn about the job, the challenges, the career opportunities in order to overcome their prejudices. The ultimate goal is of course to convince them to choose a training and career in IT. If you should be interested as a company, be sure to contact me.

I mentioned career opportunities and linked to that we (or rather women) are often still confronted with the glass ceiling. Therefore in the first quarter of 2014 they are organizing an event with as most renowned speaker Nelly Croes. Nelly Croes is the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Yes, a bit of a strange term, but as a member of the European Commission she is responsible for media and information issues such as telecoms and IT in the European Community.

So, lots of reasons to support this GSE Ladies working group and I'll sure keep you posted on their future activities.

Friday, December 13, 2013

DB2 for z/OS reference material

I've mentioned these ones before, but I thought it's worth referencing them again. BMC Software as well as CA Technologies offer some reference material for DB2 for z/OS.

Here's a view of one of the posters BMC is offering


For DB2 10 (and even still for DB2 9) you can order the Reference Guide for z/OS, the Catalog Table for z/OS poster and the Explain Table for z/OS poster over here. Call me oldfashioned but they're sent to you by snail mail, so you can still actually hold the book in your hands. And don't let 'snail mail' fool you, I received mine within two weeks.

CA is also offering a PDF version of their Reference Guide. The content is of course as great as the BMC reference. There are 7 large topics : SQL, utilities, commands, system tables, user tables, return codes and miscellaneous sytem information like SQLCA, SQL and DB2 limits, DSNZPARM information, IFCIDs and so on. Here's the link to it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Volvo IT - Mainframe The First 50 Years - New way of working

Let's make this a birthday post. After all it's my birthday today and I'm in good company since I share it with Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Sheila E. So, let me give you a present in the form of a very important message : take the mainframe seriously. But I'll wrap it in an agreeable form with two videos from Volvo IT. So all the credit actually goes to them of course. I really admire the way they position the mainframe, not as an old, large, costly box but as a new way of working. After all it's celebrating its 50th birthday next year.

Have a look at their evolution for the last 50 years.



But I promised two videos. So, the second one positions the mainframe at Volvo IT and also in general. The mainframe is at the heart of so many companies and people (employees, customers ...) don't even realize it. I recently came across the term 'the Alsop myth' and we all know the guy was completely wrong, but we also must admit : the myth lives on and is strong within many people (hey, Star Wars reference not intended). Well, this video from Volvo IT can only help us in countering it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DBA Rules of Thumb

I wrote this before, you can retweet something when you find it interesting but from time to time I wish there was some kind of re-blog function. I totally enjoyed the series of 'DBA Rules of Thumb' that Craig Mullins has been posting the last couple of weeks. It's so recognizable and still I'm sure you have to build up some experience first to realize how true it all is what he's writing. I'm not sure we learn a lot from other people's mistakes or experience. Still, if you're a beginning, or whatever, DBA, this is solid advice worth taking into account.

The first five posts so far :
  • Write everything down (link)
  • Automate and don't reinvent the wheel (link)
  • Share your knowledge (link)
  • Analyze, Simplify and Focus (link)
  • Don't Panic (link)
I can't resist quoting from the Don't Panic post :
A calm disposition and the ability to remain cool under strenuous conditions are essential to the makeup of a good DBA. Problems will occur—nothing you can do can eliminate every possible problem or error. Part of your job as a DBA is to be able to react to problems with a calm demeanor and analytical disposition.
I might come up with quite a number of other professions that fit this description but none more than that of a DBA of course ! Since it's almost the end of the year, let's get lyrical (no reference to O.N.John intended) and summarize it with a rhyme
If sh*t hits the Fan
You are the Man
These are my own words, not those of Craig.
So, have a look at these posts and check out for new entries at the DB2Portal Blog.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

GSE DB2 Working Group presentations online

If I write about all those GSE working group events that are taking place, I might as well give feedback on some of them. Last week I attended the DB2 Working Group. Not surprisingly since I added 'lifelong Cobol and DB2 addict' to my profile on our corporate portal. I'm no longer really active in DB2 (for the moment) but I do keep an eye on its evolutions.

Once again there was a good mix of content with two user presentations. And you know how it goes, it's hard to get good user presentations or people who want to present for a group of other people. But these were spot on with some surprising facts. Both user experiences were about native stored procedures and how to implement them in your environment. Do have a look at them, I'm sure you'll get some valuable practical tips on how to implement and manage them. And the surprising fact ? The impact they have or don't have on the zIIP. You'll have to take a look if you want to know the outcome.

The other presentations were on Big Data (good introduction by Andy Ward from CA) and Trends in Database Management Systems from an IBM DB2 perspective by Namik Hrle from IBM. It points out the evolution from a traditional landscape to a visionary landscape. Of course the Analytics Accelerator is highlighted here as well.

The presentations :

What'sBig AboutBig Data? The Volume? The Size? The Value? Andy Ward, CA Technologies
SQL StoredProcedures @ NVSM/UNMS Bart Verboven - NVSM/UNMS
Stijn Vandenbosch -NVSM/UNMS
Native SQL StoredProcedures at Allianz Belgium: a practical case Phillipe De Backer - Allianz
Trends in Database Management Systems - The DB2 Perspective Namik Hrle - IBM

If you want to have a look at the presentations from previous events, you can find them over here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What System z Can do that Intel Systems Cannot !

Here's a presentation that I came across nearly by accident. A couple of days ago, I saw an item on the IBMVM ListServ list on Hillgang presentations. The only Hillgang I knew until now was the Sugarhill Gang, but apparantly that's something completely different.
The Hillgang is a Washington DC area mainframe user group focusing on z/VM and zLinux. So I took a look at some of the September presentations on z/VM 6.3 and zBC12. And I saw you can also page to previous presentations.

And so I found this one, which, of course, really caught my attention : 'What System z Can Do that Intel Systems Can't Do' by Bob Barnett from IBM.You can download it from this page. This is mandatory for every one who needs the right technical arguments for a comparison between System z and Intel. Bob Barnett focuses on six topics and I hope I don't spoil the fun too much by mentioning them over here : Transaction processing at scale, Perfect Workload Management, Greater Core Density, Spare Capacity for Growth, Comprehensive Disaster Recovery and Runs Longer without Stopping.
When I started googling this I found out there's also a version of this presentation by David Rhoderick (IBM) which you can find over here. David also adds Tougher Security to the list.

As I always say, do check it out !
And see you tomorrow for more !

Friday, December 6, 2013

Being a reference: What’s in it for me ?

Hey, I told you these would be some random items I saved up over time. Here's actually a reference (pun not intended) to a PureSystems blog post by Debbie Black (Senior Marketing Manager for IBM PureSystems). But I think it's valid for System z as well. It talks about the concerns of becoming a client reference like
  • Do I need to get approval from our PR or external communications department?
  • Our company has a policy against endorsing any vendor.
  • Will I overstep my personal boundaries within my company?
  • I’m not sure I’m ready to be a reference.
But I think the last question is the most important one
  • What’s in it for me?
Well, more than you would think. How about
  • Growth of your personal network
  • Expanding your skills and knowledge base
  • Influence inside your organization
You can find more detail on this in the blog post itself. And I would add one more which I even find more valuable
  • Respect inside and outside of you organization
So next time, you're asked to become a reference : think twice !


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Disaster Recovery Journal

This is an interesting journal that catches my attention every time again with interesting articles, presentations, webinars, white papers and so on. You can guess what it's all about of course. By just browsing the home page you'll come across some great content.

But let me give you a couple of examples of some interesting content.There's of course the journal itself. You can find a digital version of the latest issue and back issues over here. The latest issue deals e.g. with social media, mobile devices . . . 

Here's a couple of free white papers with topics like 'A Practical Guide to Cost–Effective DR Planning', 'Service Outages: Is Your Monitoring Strategy Working?', 'Five Things You Need to Know Today about DR Planning' and 'Cost-Effective DR Options For Mission-Critical Applications'.

There are also lots of links to the IBM site like e.g. to this presentation on 'Reputational Risk and IT' that you can download over here. Topics covered are : Why reputational risk is a critical issue, What IT risk factors most impact reputation, Six key recommendations for effective reputation and IT risk management. You can also download two more white papers on the subject : 'Apply the economics of IT Risk' and 'The Economic Impact of IT Risk'.

So, you see how one link can lead to lots of different interesting information.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Arcati Mainframe User Survey 2014

I guess it's been quite busy lately or perhaps I should admit I just didn't feel like blogging much lately. But from time to time I come across something of which I think it might be worth blogging about. So when I took a look at my bookmarks, I really saved up some nice stuff. So I think I'm going to share it with you during the next couple of weeks. Some, you might've seen passing by already, but I know not every one is constantly scanning the internet for valuable information. So, here I go : one post a day until Christmas, followed by my year review.

Let's start with the Arcati Mainframe User Survey. You still have two days to fill it out. So go over here and just do it. I see there's always a large discrepancy between the number of downloads (20.000) and the numbers of respondents (100 in 2013). So, do yourself a favour and make this survey as representative as possible. The survey is "asking users to give some details about their installation and technical challenges, as well as their plans for the mainframe within the broader IT infrastructure".

If you've never heard about the Arcati Yearbook, the current edition is still available at www.arcati.com/newyearbook13. Each year it contains this annual user survey, an up-to-date directory of vendors and consultants, a media guide, a strategy section with papers on mainframe trends and directions, a glossary of terminology, and a technical specification section.


As I always say, do check it out !
And see you tomorrow for more !
 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Upcoming GSE Working Group Meetings

You'll have a busy time this and next week if you want to attend each GSE Working Group Meeting and you'll have to be at two places at once as well. Since I'm on neutral territory I cannot allow myself to favour one or other meeting. Oh, what the heck, since Pieter Rogge from the Young Professionals Working Group asked it so gently, if you pick one, take the Young Professionals session. Don't be misguided by the name : it's open, and it's free for every one. Here's an overview of upcoming GSE meetings :
  • Thursday December 5, 2013 : CICS Working Group Meeting at IBM Forum Brussels
    Topics covered : Mobile and CICS TS 5.1 by Peter Siddell (IBM Hursley), New feature packs for CICS TS 5.1 by Peter Siddell, User presentation - CICS Web Service Implementation at Colruyt by Lieven Haesaert (Colruyt) and Business Rules executing within a CICS JVM by Paul Carruthers (IBM Hursley)
  • Wednesday December 11, 2013 : z/OS Working Group Meeting at RealDolmen Huizingen
    This is an all day event and topics are Euroclear mainframe disk migration to VMAX with FAST VP by Renaud Colin (EOC), Mainframe Cost Optimization by John Dormon (BMC), Why running ELS for Linux by Hendrik Desmedt (IRIS) and zAware by Jan Tits (IBM).
    Information and registration
  • Wednesday December 11, 2013 : Architecture Working Group Meeting at Abis Leuven
    The session starts in the afternoon and covers Integrating Big Initiatives into Enterprise Data Architectures – the case of NoSQL by Kris Van Thillo (ABIS), Big Data for Big Pharma by Davy Suvee (Datablend), An Enterprise Big Data Platform by Falke van Onacker (IBM Belgium) and Disruptive Change by Semantic Technologies in Life Sciences by Hans Constandt (Ontoforce)
    Information and registration
  • Friday December 13, 2013 : Enterprise Systems Security Working Group at IBM Forum Brussels
    A couple of topics that are covered : "During Years, we believed that the Mainframe was "Untouchable" for hacking tentatives. But are we protected for real attacks?
    We all have experiences with programs that harmed our Business because they were (accidentally?) put in Production, before a final go, despite all our Change Management Rules, supported by System Software. How can we block the execution of these modules?
    Digital Certificates became crucial in z/OS. But do we have the necessary skills to deploy them on an adequate way and are we ready for z/OS 2.1? "
    Information and registration 
  • Friday December 13. 2013 : Young Professionals Working Group at Colruyt Halle on Retail&IT
    This is an all day event on Retail&IT, so no wonder Colruyt is hosting this. Topics covered are : Service management (ColruytGroup), Security in Retail (IBM), E-commerce & certification (BE-Commerce) and Logistic automations at Colruyt (ColruytGroup). This is a unique opportunity for students and young professionals to get a good overview of this sector and its relation with IT. A practical tip : for those familiar with Colruyt, don't go to Wilgenveld, it's at Hellebroek Kantoor.
    Information and registration, Twitter, Facebook

Monday, November 25, 2013

Announcement : DS8870 V7.2

In case you've wondered why I didn't blog on the new DS8870 announcements last week, well there's a very practical reason : I was ill. But here we go now, with some delay. Actually there were two announcements last week. The first one introduces release 7.2 and some other new features : 'IBM DS8870 offers exceptional performance with new processors, microcode, drive options, and advanced functions to enhance data protection (ZG13-0298)'. The second one announces some withdrawals from marketing : 'Hardware withdrawal: Select features for IBM DS8870 (machine types 2421, 2422, 2423, and 2424) - Replacements available (ZG13-0266)'.

First, let's have a look at the new features. The DS8870 ships from now on with the Power7+ processor. As we all now, the DS8870 follows the evolution of the Power processor with some delay due to testing. Nevertheless this provides the DS8000 once again with a significant performance enhancement. With release 7.2 we also see the introduction of an all flash drive configuration.Combining these elements "helps the DS8870 to deliver up to 20% improvement in maximum IOPS in random I/O workload environments".

There are some enhancements to the Business Class systems. These systems target smaller customers who do not need the top notch performance of the Enterprise Class systems. The BC systems can now also go beyond a single frame and up to 16 core processors offering more flexibility for these customers.

There's also the introduction of 2 more disk models : the 1.2TB 10k rpm SAS drives and the 4TB 7.2k rpm nearline SAS drives. The new 1.2TB SAS drives differ from the former 1TB SATA drives in that they can be configured in a RAID-5 setup. No need for RAID-6 as is the case for the SATA and nearline SAS drives. This gives you a better raw capacity - usable capacity ratio.

At the same time the second announcement indicates that these disks are the replacements for the 900GB and the 3TB disks which will be withdrawn from marketing.

Availability (and withdrawal) date is December 6, 2013.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sampling TechDocs - September-October 2013

Here I am again with an overview of interesting TechDocs documents I came across while browsing through the latest publications. If you're completely unfamiliar to Techdocs, here's an introduction to it.
  • Flash : DS8000 Costomization Worksheets
    These might come in very handy. It's a PDF with all the worksheets you need to customize a DS8000. It contains a.o. Management console network settings work sheet, Remote support work sheets, Notification work sheets (SNMP trap, e-mail), Power control work sheet ...
    • White paper : z/OS Version 2 Release 1 Installation Plan Checklist
      I've got a couple of documents on z/OS 2.1 and z/OSMF. The first one is an 'installation plan checklist for z/OS V2R1 that should be used as a supplement to available publications. It is not intended to replace publications for planning your installation and migration". So do have a look at it when you're installing z/OS 2.1. It might prove to be a good guideline.
    • White papers : z/OS Management Facility Resource Requirements
      "This Techdoc has two white papers: one provides performance and resource usage information about z/OSMF for z/OS V1.12 and z/OS V1.13; the other provides performance and resource usage information about z/OSMF for z/OS V2.1". Contents are : z/OSMF Hardware Requirements, Laboratory Performance Measurement Results, Resources for Specific z/OSMF Scenarios, Browser Considerations, Recommendations for Improving z/OSMF Startup Time, Using the New z/OS Jobs REST Interface, WLM Classification For z/OSMF
    • Tool : IBM System z Batch Network Analyzer (zBNA) Tool
      "zBNA is a PC-based productivity tool designed to provide a means of estimating the elapsed time for batch jobs solely based on the differences in CPU speeds for a base processor and a target processor, the number of engines on each system, and system capacities; data sharing is not considered. zBNA provides powerful, graphic demonstration of the z/OS batch window". zBNA is also used to identify zEDC Compression Candidates. How to use it : the User's Guide explains it all.
    Well that's it for now. And, as I always say : just check them out !

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    IBM Health Checker for z/OS futures -- what do you think?

    This morning I saw this new blog post by Marna Walle on her Share blog Marna's Musings. So, I thought I might share it with you as Marna wants as many participants to this survey as possible. And as she didn't mind my suggestion, consider this the first guest post on my blog. Here we go. Or rather, here she goes.
    At SHARE in Boston, it was pretty hectic.  So hectic, in fact, that I forgot to bring a survey to my Migrating to z/OS V2.1 sessions, and to Peter Relson's Health Checker sessions.  After it was too late, I realized that I could ask you here, and all was not lost.  We've got a list of some ideas that we would like your feedback on for the Health Checker:  Java, C/C++, sharing them on a website???  These are just a couple of things we'd like to know if you are interested in.
    The survey is only one page, and can be completed in less than 5 minutes.  Send it to us anyway you'd like, we are just interested in what you say!  The survey can be found here:  http://www.share.org/p/do/sd/sid=9339&type=0
    Thanks in advance.

    Feel free to send back to mwalle@us.ibm.com anyway you'd like (email, attachment, ...)
    If you have any trouble getting the survey, just let me know and I'll send you a copy. Fill it out ! Just do it !

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Loader for z/OS

    Today IBM announces the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Loader for z/OS V1.1 to help improve application availability (ZP13-0596). I'm not sure whether there was also a V1.0 of this loader but it's the first time I see this passing by.

    There's a really interesing data sheet that sums up all the qualities of this software. The IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Loader (DB2 Loader) for z/OS is a separately available DB2 tool. It "can reduce the time and cost incurred when loading data into the DB2 Analytics Accelerator. It minimizes the data load process by simultaneously loading data into DB2 Analytics Accelerator and DB2 for z/OS in one step. This can reduce data movement, time and CPU costs over an existing two-step process".

    It can also load non-DB2 data from other sources. I'm taking over the text from the data sheet as it really explains the whole lot : "Sources include data from other DB2 for z/OS systems, VSAM, IMS, and non-mainframe data to enhance enterprise business analytics on System z. When data has been extracted from another source into a format that is compatible with IBM DB2 load utility, it can then be loaded into DB2 for z/OS and also into DB2 Analytics Accelerator. This type of load operation may be performed in parallel, which may improve availability and reduce system resources, such as CPU. DB2 Loader also allows the option of loading directly into DB2 Analytics Accelerator, thereby eliminating loading data into DB2 for z/OS which reduces resources such as DASD and CPU".

    This is IPLA software with program number 5639-OLA. The S&S has program number 5639-OLB. You need at least z/OS V1.12, DB2 10 and IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS V3.1.
    Planned availability is December 6, 2013.

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Red Alert : Unable to partition systems from the sysplex on z/OS 1.12 with PTF UA69636 (APAR OA41661) applied

    Here's a new Red Alert. I'm just taking over the content.

    Unable to partition systems from the sysplex on z/OS 1.12 with PTF UA69636 (APAR OA41661) applied

    Abstract:

    Unable to partition systems from the sysplex on z/OS 1.12 with PTF UA69636 (APAR OA41661) applied

    Description:

    When attempting to partition a system (system 1) from the sysplex, the partitioning process on the monitor system which is managing the removal (system 2) may hang.
    System 1 cannot be removed from the sysplex. System 2 remains functional, but cannot continue with the removal of system 1.

    Affected Environments:

    Monitor system (system 2): z/OS running at z/OS V1R12 (HBB7770) with PTF UA69636 (APAR OA41661) applied.
    Outgoing system (system 1): Any supported z/OS level with the SYSSTATDETECT function enabled.
    Please see APAR OA43435 for more details.

    Recommended Actions:

    1. Disable the SYSTATDETECT function on all systems in the sysplex via SETXCF FUNCTIONS,DISABLE=SYSSTATDETECT
    2. Please retrieve PTF package - PTF.UA71120 from: testcase.boulder.ibm.com under fromibm/mvs with FB, 80 3200 in binary. Apply this PTF to all applicable systems.
    3. The SYSSTATDETECT function should remain disabled on all systems until all affected systems are running with UA71120.
    4. If the reported problem has already occurred, contact Level 2 to determine best action.

    If you haven't signed up to the Red Alerts by now, you really should do it. Just go over here.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    CICS : 1.157.407 transactions per second

    From time to time you have to have an eye catcher to draw the attention. Well, this was one at the bottom of the CICSbuzz - the IBM CICS Newsletter.


    And there's also a short video that accompanies this. It puts the power of CICS into perspective, comparing it with e.g. Facebook and Twitter. Just have a look at it.

     

    By the way, if you aren't subscribed to the CICSbuzz newsletter yet, just go over here to do it. You also find all previous issues over there.

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    ITSO System z World Tour 2013


    It's that time of year again : "The IBM ITSO System z World Tour 2013 offers five one-day technical workshops to help you plan, design for and use the new features and upgrades available in IBM System z software and hardware. For over 20 years, ITSO has delivered these exclusive, one-day technical update seminars for IT professionals".

    You can find more information on the tour on this page. At the right hand side you can also check whether the tour also stops in your country. Below I'm listing out the sessions and dates for Belgium.

    TitleDateCode
    IBM zEnterprise System Technical Update (zEC12, zBC12, zBX)09/12Info&Registration
    IBM z/OS Technical Update 10/12Info&Registration
    IBM Parallel Sysplex and High Availability11/12Info&Registration
    IBM DB2 for z/OS and Query Accelerator12/12Info&Registration
    Using IBM z/VM Latest Version and IBM Linux on System z Advanced Topics13/12Info&Registration

    Mind you, but you know this of course, these are not for free.

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Announcement of IMS 13 and some extra info

    Yesterday IBM announced IMS 13 : 'IBM Information Management System (IMS) 13 Transaction and Database Servers delivers high performance and low total cost of ownership (ZP13-0485)' and various IMS Tools like e.g. IMS Enterprise Suite for z/OS , V3.1 : 'IBM IMS Tools enhanced to help better manage your IMS database environments (ZP13-0478)'.

    The one thing that gets a lot of attention is the 100,000 transactions per second benchmarked for Fast Path processing. And if you want a short summary of all what's new, then take a look at the 'What's New' tab over here at the IBM IMS pages. Do take a look at the features tab too, because there's some interesting news on pricing as well :
    IMS 13 helps lower the Total Cost of Ownership. With IMS, you can expect:
    As I already told you in my previous post, IMS claims to step up in the same way as DB2 did already. It should consume less resources/mips (out of the box) and still deliver a much better performance. By the way, I mentioned that DB2 was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but did you also know that IMS turned 45 (!) this year.

    IMS 13 becomes available on October 25, 2013 and requires at least z/OS 1.13.

    While I was browsing around I also came across some interesting IMS resources.
    I mentioned the IMS Newsletter quite some time ago, but the latest issue came out yesterday and also focuses of course on the new IMS 13 release. You can find it over here. One article gives more detail on how IMS 13 efficiency is improved to reduce MIPS usage. You can subscribe to the newsletter at this page.
    And if you're on twitter, you can also follow @IBM_IMS to get all the breaking news on IMS. And while you're at it, just start following Helene Lyon as well : @HeleneLyon.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Announcements on price changes for IPLA and MLC softwares on z/OS

    Today IBM announced DB2 11, IMS 13 and the DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS V4.1 and I'll surely return to (some of) these in later posts. But there were also a couple of announcements regarding software pricing. And don't turn away yet assuming there's another round of price increases. No there's actually good news too, this time. So, keep on reading.

    About the IPLA software there's a list of Websphere products that will see an increase in Belgium of 3% starting on January 1, 2014 : 'Price Changes on Selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products (ZA13-1127)'. As you know I mainly give the details for my own country but do check out the announcement itself to see what will happen in your country.

    About the MLC software there's a limited list of softwares that get the same pricing as later versions : 'Price Changes in monthly license charges (MLC) on selected IBM System z Software Products (ZA13-1128)'. We've seen this mechanism before. "With these increases, DB2 for z/OS versions 8 and 9 will cost the same as version 10, IMS versions 10 and 11 will cost the same as version 12, and Enterprise COBOL for z/OS versions 3 and 4 will cost the same as version 5".

    But how about the good news then ? Well, Ray Jones (IBM) mentioned it in his keynote speech at the Total Solutions Event last week in Brussels, but here it is in this same announcement : "IBM intends to price the next upcoming version of DB2 and the next upcoming version of IMS equal to the prices of DB2 10 and IMS 12 respectively". This is actually two times good news. First of all, there's no price increase between the two releases. But there's more. When DB2 10 was announced IBM did a large effort to improve the efficiency of DB2, so that the new release not only offered new functionalities but actually consumed less resources. If this happens again with DB2 11, you actually win twice ! And, I refer to Ray Jones once again, the same will now also apply to IMS 13 where the same efforts were now also delivered by the IMS development team.
    All in all, this gives you a couple of good reasons to move forward to newer versions of these software products.

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    8th Annual Global BMC Mainframe Survey

    I was thinking about an introduction to this survey but the text at the BMC site is already the perfect introduction to make you read on. So here it goes.
     "With terms like Cloud, Big Data and The Internet of Things at the forefront of IT conversation, many might think that the mainframe is a historical artifact. But as BMC Software -- the global leader in IT management solutions -- found in its 8th annual Worldwide Survey of Mainframe Users, nothing could be further from the truth.

    BMC revealed the results of the survey today. The key takeaway is that the mainframe will continue to play a critical role as a scalable platform delivering crucial computing power in a world where business users expect access anytime, anywhere, without regard to the data volume and velocity required behind the scenes. IT experts throughout the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific reported that the mainframe is not only sticking around, it is evolving to play an increasingly important role in today’s enterprise IT environments".
    They even provide the perfect summary of the report with an Infographic. You can find it over here. If you want to have all the details request the full results over here. Topics touched upon are perception of the mainframe, reasons for growing MIPS consumption, Top IT priorities, 4 Hour Rolling Average, Big Data Challenges and many more of course.

    So, as I always say : just check it out !

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    DS8000 - Withdrawal of hardware features

    I've written about this before. Whenever there's an announcement of withdrawal of hardware features on the DS8000 it's always hard to determine whether it applies to your system as so many model numbers have passed by since its first announcement in 2004. Today there was another announcement : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage DS8000 select features - Some replacements available (ZG13-0253)'.

    So to help you read this here's a short summary. The machine type is always 2421, 2422, 2423 or 2424. The last number indicates the number of years of warranty that is delivered with the system. The model type indicates, yes, the model you've bought. Here's an overview :
    DS8100 (Models 921 and 931)
    DS8300 (Models 922, 932, 9A2, 9B2, 92E, 9AE)
    DS8700 (Models 941 and 94E)
    DS8800 (Models 951 and 95E)
    DS8870 (Models 961 and 96E)
    A letter in the model type indicates an expansion frame.

    So let's turn to the whole list of features that's published in the announcement. I would summarize by saying that the last disks that were still available on the DS8100 and DS8300 are now no longer available : the 300GB and the 450GB disks. If you see the whole list, together with previous announcements I cannot think of anything that's still orderable on the DS8100 and DS8300. After all 9 years is a nice lifespan.

    Furthermore the 2TB disks are withdrawn on the DS8700 and if you buy a new DS8870 it will be with Licensed Machine Code (LMC) R7.1.

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    z/VM and the future of Unified Resource Manager

    Before you think this is a z/VM post only : I think it also concerns z/OS but therefore I first have some explaining to do.

    We start with the announcement of z/VM 6.2 in October 2011 (ZP11-0499). Here's the role that is attributed to the System z Unified Resource Manager or zManager. 
    z/VM has "been enhanced to enable the Unified Resource Manager to manage the z/VM hypervisor and the virtual servers it supports. The SMAPI enhancements provide new and updated APIs and function in the following functional areas:
    • System configuration file management
    • User directory management
    • Disk management
    • Network management
    • Discontiguous saved segment (DCSS) management
    • Guest facilities management
    • Directory parsing
    • API function level interrogation
    • Performance and events management
    • Image management"
    z/VM installation has been enhanced to create a system configuration which would allow management by the Unified Resource Manager or some other SMAPI client.

    In short with zManager you can apparently manage z/VM and virtual servers running on z/VM.

    On to the announcement of z/VM 6.3 (ZP13-0376) in July of this year. Here we get quite a different story. And keep my previous post in mind where I explained what the word 'stabilization' means in IBM terminology. Here we go.
    z/VM V6.3, OpenStack and zManager
    IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager (zManager) is designed to provide systems management capabilities across the multi-architecture environment of zEnterprise. Many of you are planning to exploit these system management capabilities to deploy a framework for a heterogeneous cloud environment (...). To accelerate the delivery of its cloud offerings, IBM recently announced plans to base all of its cloud services and software on open architecture and standards, including OpenStack.
    OpenStack is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud computing open source project. IBM joined the project in 2012 and in support of System z is making contributions to the OpenStack project that are designed to enable z/VM V6.3 to be the first System z operating environment that can be managed with these open cloud architecture-based interfaces.
    The management of z/VM environments in zManager is now stabilized as part of the evolution of the IBM cloud strategy and adoption of OpenStack. Accordingly, zManager does not provide systems management support for z/VM V6.3. However, zManager will continue to play a distinct and significant role in the management of virtualized environments created by zEnterprise integrated firmware hypervisors - PR/SM™ , PowerVM™ , and x hypervisor based on Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM).
    Italics and bold indications are mine. But apparantly zManager turns from a real management tool for z/VM 6.2 into, well actually nothing, for z/VM 6.3. I'm not saying it's a bad choice, I'm just trying to get the message.

    And here I also come to the z/OS part of this, I think. z/VM is "the first System z operating environment" that will be managed by OpenStack. So, which environments will follow in the future ?

    If you're a bit puzzled and confused about this post, don't worry, that's just the same way as I'm feeling now. If anyone can shed some more light on this, be my guest !

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    zEC12 and zBC12 the last System z servers to support z/VM 5.4

    This might be an interesting bit of information I came across today for customers still using z/VM 5.4. In the announcement of z/VM 6.3 there was also this statement of direction :

    "Stabilization of VM z/V5.4 support
    The IBM zEnterprise EC12 and IBM zEnterprise BC12 are planned to be the last System z servers supported by z/VM V5.4 and the last System z servers that will support z/VM V5.4 running as a guest (second level). z/VM V5.4 will continue to be supported until December 31, 2014, or until the IBM System z9® EC and IBM System z9 BC are withdrawn from support, whichever is later. Refer to Withdrawal Announcement ZP12-0335, dated August 07, 2012".
    So, just keep it in mind : z/VM 5.4 will no longer be supported on the next generations of System z in any form.

    By the way, 'stabilization' is a typical IBM word with a specific content. It always gets my immediate attention because it really means : we immediately stop all further effort for this product and from now on it's a dead end street.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Easy Tier - what you might not know about Auto Rebalance

    I thought I knew quite a lot about DS8000 and Easy Tier but last week I had the opportunity to meet Stephen L. Blinick who works at the DS8000 labs in Tucson. Stephen is closely engaged in the development of the DS8000 box. And he's a great presenter who (obviously) knows what he's talking about.

    There was one aspect about Easy Tier Stephen told me of which I was completely unaware. I should have known because this is somethning really important about Easy Tier and its Auto Rebalance feature. As the Redpaper 'IBM System Storage DS8000 Easy Tier' states : "The auto-rebalance capability automatically rebalances the workload even across the physical resources within a drive tier, reducing the occurrence of hotspots".

    So, as you see below this is a situation within a drive tier where Easy Tier detects some hotspots.

     It rebalances the workload across all ranks.

    By doing so, auto-rebalance reduces performance skew within a storage tier and provides the best available I/O performance from each tier.


    But there's more and here comes the interesting part of the story. You know how it's always so annoying when you add additional ranks to the pool. Everything is well balanced within the existing ranks but you have to put new workload just on the new disks or you have to rebalance everything manually. NOT SO with Easy Tier.


    "Auto Rebalance also automatically populates new ranks that have been added to the pool when rebalancing the workload within a tier. Starting with DS8000 R6.2 LMC, auto-rebalance can be enabled for hybrid and homogeneous extent pools".


    Great ! Isn't it ? Check out the Redpaper if you want to know more about this great feature.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    RealDolmen System z e-zine N° 20

    The 20th issue of our RealDolmen System z Newsletter is being sent out today. You can download it over here. We decided to switch to just one English version from now on instead of the Dutch and French versions.

    If you don't receive our system z e-zine yet, you can subscribe over here. Just indicate 'System i, Oracle, Mainframe' as your field of interest. If you have subscribed, but for some reason no longer receive it, please let me know.

    The main topic of this issue is of course the zBC12. As a matter of fact, it's pretty much the same as what I wrote earlier over here. But if you want a neatly printed version of it, you can find it here. Next to the zBC12 we also discuss the latest evolutions of the DS8000.

    And as usual there are also some hints, tips, links, an overview of recent announcements, EOS dates of operating systems and an agenda for mainly Belgian events.

    Enjoy the reading !

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    Sampling TechDocs - Up to August 2013

    It's been some months, but here I am again with an overview of interesting TechDocs documents I came across while browsing through the latest publications. If you're completely unfamiliar to Techdocs, here's an introduction to it.
    • FAQ : SMC-R RoCE FAQ Frequently Asked Question
      Hey, I wish I had that one when I first had to write about this for my introduction on the zBC12. As you've read earlier IBM has announced SMC-R in z/OS v2.1 and RoCE feature support in zEnterprise EC12 and zBC12. SMC-R and RoCE provide high throughput with low overhead communications.For all the rest of the information : see this FAQ.
    • Flash : Changes Planned for z/OS Preventive Service Ordering
      "IBM plans a number of changes to z/OS preventive service ordering. z/OS preventive service orders will be based on installed products, which is intended to make order content a better reflection of the systems to be serviced".
      • Presentation : An Overview of Mainframe Security for Non-Mainframe Personnel
        "This Power Point provides an introduction and overview to the comprehensive security suite available on System z. The target audience is intended to be IT Management or IT Security personnel who may not be familiar with some of the concepts and facilities of System z".I would add : target audience is definitely also mainframe personnel.
      • Technical Document : HyperPAV setup with z/VM and Red Hat Linux on zSeries
        This is a "How to Document on steps required to define DS8000 ECKD DASD Subsystem Disks with HyperPAV feature enabled in a Linux on zSeries environment". Examples are  based on Red Hat 6.3 Linux O/S for zSeries. This is the real technical stuff !
      • Technical Document : TS7700 Virtualization Engine Series - VEHSTATS Decoder
        This is a very nice one too, when you have to interpret the VEHSTATS presentation output. It gives you a sample of each possible output and describes how to interpret each field. Essential document !
      Well that's it for now. And, as I always say : just check them out !

      Monday, September 2, 2013

      Upcoming events and webcasts

      I thought I might give you a new summary of some upcoming events and webcasts.

      IBM Events in Belgium : Total Solutions event
      September 24-25, 2013 - Brussels forum


      I guess this is the most important one for us in Belgium for the moment. I already wrote about it over here. You can find all information and a detailed agenda over here. If you haven't done so, the only thing you still have to do is register for the event. The only thing I see different from the previous years is that there is no longer a zEnterprise Technical track. So, apparently no track on the zBC12 as there was one last year on the zEC12.

      GSE Meetings in Belgium

      I have the impression that the Total Solutions event kind of absorbs all Q3 GSE working group meetings, but I can already give you a couple of dates for Q4 sessions.

      November 28, 2013 - GSE DB2/IMS Working Group Meeting
      KBC Leuven
      Information will be added here as soon as it's available.


      December 11, 2013 - GSE z/OS Working Group Meeting
      RealDolmen Huizingen
      No additional information for the moment.

      DB2Night Shows

      You know the DB2Night shows by now. You can find the entire agenda of (already) Season 5 over here. There's a LUW part and a z/OS part. I'll give you some of the z/OS shows.

      September 27, 2013 at 10am CDT, 5pm Brussels
      OLAP Queries for Powerful Reporting and Analytics
      Information and registration


      October 25, 2013 at 10am CDT, 5pm Brussels
      Dynamic SQL, Pros and Cons
      Information and registration

      December 6, 2013 at 10am CDT, 5pm Brussels
      DB2 11 for z/OS Performance : New Features
      Information and registration


      Webcasts and teleconferences

      Here's a variety of online events from different sources.

      September 5, 2013 at 6 pm Brussels (from Share)
      An Introduction to DFSMS

      Learn in detail the aspects of SMS constructs, ACM routine coding and DASD
      Thanks to Lizette Koehler on the IBM-Main list for pointing this one out.

      Information and Registration

      September 10, 2013 at 5 pm Brussels
      IBM Transaction Analysis Workbench : it's not just for IBM

      We also cover DB2, CICS and more !
      Information and Registration

      September 25, 2013 at 6 pm Brussels (from IBMSystems Magazine)
      Where’s the Mainframe Headed? 8th Annual BMC Software Mainframe Survey Results, for the Mainframe from BMC

      Information and Registration

      October 8, 2013 at 5 pm Brussels
      Think big – think DB2! The latest news on DB2 application development technology

      Learn more about how DB2 enables large enterprises to develop new applications for mobile devices and systems of engagement

      Information and Registration

      October 10, 2013 at 5 pm Brussels (from IBMSystems Magazine)
      Mainframes and Business Continuity: New Game, Same Rules, from 21st Century Software.

      High Availability and Disaster Recovery : you still need both

      Information and Registration

      As I always say, just check them out !

      Friday, August 30, 2013

      IBM software for zEnterprise

      Here's some information on several topics :
      • Big Data Analytics : 90% of all data was created the last 2 years
      • DevOps : 41% of organizations experience delays in application development
      • Security : $5.4M average cost per incident of a security breach
      • Some similar data are available for Mobile, Cloud and Application Infrastructure.
      And how to tackle them : IBM software for zEnterprise. Middleware for fast, scalable an secure enterprise systems.

      You want to see in a nutshell which software corresponds to all this on the mainframe ?
      Just check out this 2 page document, that you find over here.You can use it as an introduction to software on the mainframe to, well, to anyone who wants to learn about it or you can convince to learn about it.

      Here's the screenshots to give you an idea.



      Click on the images for larger versions


      Tuesday, August 27, 2013

      z/OS 2.1 Migration Guide and other resources

      I mentioned an article by Marna Walle in Hot Topics where she also discusses the z/OS 2.1 Migration Guide and how they changed the format. But let me just quote her text about it :
      'I can’t fit all of the information about migration actions into this one article, so make sure to review z/OS V2R1 Migration, GA32-0889.
      Speaking of the z/OS V2R1 Migration book, you’ll notice that we’ve changed the format. We wanted to provide a more customized migration path to users, so we’ve divided the chapters in the book for those on a specific migration path. Chapter 1 contains an introduction to migration for all to use. Chapter 2 contains the migration actions just for those on the z/OS V1R13 to z/OS V2R1 path. Chapter 3 contains the migration actions just for those on the z/OS V1R2 to z/OS V2R1 path, which also includes all of the z/OS V1R13 migration actions. If you are coming from z/OS V1R13, you need only read Chapters 1 and 2 and Chapter 3.
      If you are coming from z/OS V1R12, you need only read Chapters 1 and 2 and Chapter 4. We hope that you find this format easier to use and that it gives you a more useful scope when seeing your migration actions! Let us know your impressions'.
      You can find the migration guide over here.

      The title says : 'and other resources', so just know that there's an entire page dedicated to z/OS 2.1 migration and installation. You'll find a link to the Datasheet and the z/OS V2R1 FAQ in general.
      There's a section with installation planning and migration resources where next to the migration guide you also find the z/OS Introduction and Release Guide, z/OS V2R1 Planning for Installation and some other useful publications.

      Also, do take a look at the right side of the page under the 'Browse z/OS' tab : when you click on the Features and functions, Tools, Library and Support links, you get a nice pop up that refers you to more detailed information.

      Friday, August 23, 2013

      Hot Topics Newsletter - Issue 27

      I'm glad to see that the Hot Topics Newsletter is back with a new issue. For some or other reason they skipped the February release, but luckily they're back with an issue largely focusing on z/OS V2R1 and the new System z Enterprise functionalities like Flash Express, IBM zAware, large pages ...

      Let's have a look at some articles on z/OS 2.1. Hot Topics is after all subtitled 'a z/OS newsletter'. There's a general introduction to z/OS 2.1 but there's more. How about a new approach to your migration levels. I'll just give you a little teaser with this illustration.


      Marne Walle gives you a quick introduction on how to prepare your next move : migrating to z/OS 2.1. But I'll come back to that in one of my next posts. The last one I want to mention is an article on JCL enhancements : 'Limits on JCL PARm - solved!', 'Batch Job Parallelism - increased!', 'JCL needing system symbols - enhanced!' . . . 

      There's also news on z/OSMF. Good news seem to be that it has "a new slimmer look". 'The new version is rebased on the Websphere Application Server for z/OS V8R5 Liberty profile and includes only the features of Websphere needed for z/OSMF, making the  package much lighter (...) It’s approximately 350+ MB rather than the 1+ GB it was before'. I've also read somewhere that it's using considerably less resources too. Another teaser ? 'Wouldn’t it be nice to check the IBM z/OS Workload Manager (WLM) service definition quickly when you notice that  workload performance is suffering? Wouldn’t you like to view the performance results of the service definition changes that you made? Now with z/OSMF, you can do all this with one mouse click!

      As I always say, just check it out !

      Wednesday, July 24, 2013

      I'm on holiday . . .

      Well, to conclude my marathon of today, let me just tell you you're safe for a couple of weeks.

      If you want to grab all the news that was announced yesterday, just scroll down to read about
      • the end of marketing of the z196 and z144
      • the announcement of PL/I 4.4
      • the announcement of z/VM 6.3
      • the announcement of z/OS 2.1
      • and of course the announcement of the new zEnterprise BC12
      I'm off on holiday now.
      I'll start blogging again by the second half of August.

      End of Marketing of z196 and z114 announced

      I've saved the worst for last. Concurrent with the announcement of the z114 we had the End of Marketing announcement of the z10 machines. Now concurrent to the announcement of the zBC12 we have the End of Marketing announcement of the z196 and the z114 : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM zEnterprise 196, IBM zEnterprise 114, IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 002, and selected IBM zEnterprise EC12 features (ZG13-0204)'. I find this rather disruptive (puns with IBM terminology are unfortunately intentional although not really funny).

      This End of Marketing is again a 2-phase approach. As of June 30, 2014 any upgrades towards a z196 or a z114 will no longer be possible. Oh well, I can live with that. But, it will no longer be possible to do any model conversions or hardware MES features either. Roughly speaking this means that any upgrade which involves hardware changes will no longer be possible. The practical consequences mainly involve books, connectivity cards and memory.

      "Field install features and conversions that are delivered solely through a modification to the machine's Licensed Internal Code (LIC) will continue to be available until June 30, 2015" meaning that everything which is already in the machine will be able to be activated during the next year. Up to June 30, 2015 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). So now you also see the reason I put the memory ranges of the zBC12 so clearly in the picture. For the zBC12 a memory upgrade from 32GB to 48GB is a LIC upgrade, for the z10 BC it wasn't.

      Capacity on Demand offerings will be usable until their expiration date. Something to keep in mind when you're planning to use a z196 or z114 after June 2015.

      I know, there's a solution for this : upgrading to the newest generation. But I've seen the past few years that this proves to be quite painful for the BC clients. The BC machines already have one year less of marketing. But there's more. Let's take a customer who still bought a z114 at the beginning of this year. He usually plans to finance and use it over a period of 4 years. But . . . by the middle of next year he will not even be able to add some FICON cards or some extra memory if he hasn't carefully planned this. Now, what if some new project shows up by the end of next year. Yes, a good opportunity to position the mainframe and get more workload to the mainframe. Ooops, no can do. Perhaps come back within a year or two. Or, perhaps another platform might be more flexible. I know this sounds really pessimistic, but I also know these are real complaints I hear in the field from the 'smaller' customers, my customers.

      Ok, what do you think of this ? Let's have some comments coming up. From whichever side . . .