Thursday, February 28, 2013

Red Alert - System z Security Portal for Security and Integrity Fixes

I'm not sure whether to call this a red alert. It's more a reminder that you should get starting to use the IBM System z Security Portal. Here's the link :

Reminder to access the System z Security Portal for Security and Integrity Fixes

It was also on the IBM-Main discussion group a couple of months ago when IBM contacted all z/OS customers either directly or through BP about a couple of security issues. As the Red Alert says : "IBM treats information about security and integrity fixes on z/OS as Confidential". Therefore no Red Alerts are issued about security issues but they are fenced off behind the Security Portal. There's a whole process to obtain access to his security portal. You can find all information over here.

In fact a manager should send a mail to your IBM representative or a BP representative who will then send it on to IBM confirming you're a z/OS customer. It must contain the names and ResourceLink IDs of the persons who should have access to the Security Portal. It must also contain the following phrases :
(1) the information is provided "AS IS" without warranties of any kind, implied or otherwise,
(2) any use of the information is at the user's own risk,
(3) the information in this portal and database may change without notice,
(4) the information is IBM Confidential and may be used by you for internal purposes only and may not be disclosed to any third party without IBM's prior written consent, and
(5) in no event shall IBM be held liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of or in connection with the use of any of the information".
If you do not feel comfortable with this, do contact your local IBM representative who will surely give you more details about this. If you're not sure how the mail should look like, just send me a mail and I'll send you an example.

If you want to have an overview of all past Red Alerts, then take a look over here. You can also subscribe on that same page so you'll be notified of any future Red Alert.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Software withdrawal and support discontinuance: IBM System z selected products

Last one for this week : 'Software withdrawal and support discontinuance: IBM System z selected products (ZP13-0022)'. There's a whole list of softwares for which support will no longer be provided. Dates range from July 26, 2013 up to September 30, 2014. Just take a look whether there are products involved that you are using.

I just want to point out a couple of them. There's e.g. z/VSE V4.3 (5609-ZV4) that will be withdrawn from service on September 30, 2013. Replacement is of course z/VSE V5.1 (5609-ZV5).  Along with that is the replacement of z/VSE Central Functions V8.3 (5686-CF8) by z/VSE Central Functions V9.1 (5686-CF9)

Another one is IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.1 (5655-S71) that will be replaced by IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.2 (5655-S71). End of Service is on April 30, 2014.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IBM XIV Storage System Model 214

You must have noticed there weren't a lot of announcements lately. Well, usually that only means that one of those big announcement days is imminent. So, yesterday, next to the previews of z/OS 2.1 and z/VM 6.3 there were also some storage announcements. Two of them were about XIV.

The first one was the hardware announcement of Model 214 (ZG13-0019) which is the third in line after the A14 and the 114 (Gen3). The second one announced the accompanying software version 11.2.0 (ZP13-0018) supporting the new model 214 and the current model 114.

There's not that many new items that were announced. The most important one is that we do not only have just 1Gb Ethernet ports any more. We can now have up to twelve 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports for connecting to iSCSI-attached hosts or twenty-two 1Gb Ethernet ports.

Some other highlights (although most of them are not actually new)
There are some key prerequisites although you'd perhaps better call them limitations.
  • Intermixing of port bandwidth between 10GbE and 1Gb within the same system is not supported (mutually exclusive)
  • Partially populated IBM XIV Storage Systems that are shipped from the factory with any of the raw capacity per drive options must continue to be populated with the same raw capacity per drive option.
  • Intermixing of any of these capacity points options in a single XIV Storage System frame is not allowed: 1 TB, 2 TB, or 3 TB.
  • If one module supports SSD caching, then all modules in the system must have SSD.
Planned availability : March 7, 2013.

Next to the XIV, there were also some announcements on ProtecTIER (ZP13-0007, ZP13-0009) and Real-Time Compression (ZP13-0017, ZG13-0018). And as of March 1, 2013 Licensed Machine Code (LMC) R6.2 of the DS8000 (DS8800 and DS8870) is withdrawn and replaced by LMC 6.3 (ZG13-0025).

The 500TB Question

Just a teaser for my next post

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IBM Announcement : z/OS 2.1

Well, we already talked a couple of times about the new version of z/OS and of the new release schedule that comes with it. So today we see the pre-announcement : 'Preview: IBM z/OS Version 2 Release 1 and IBM z/OS Management Facility -- The foundation for Smarter Computing (ZP13-0013)'.

Some highlights :
z/OS V2.1 is planned to run on IBM System z servers starting from System z9 up to the zEC12.
In addition, beginning with z/OS V2.1, IBM plans to support these and later IBM storage control units:

Planned availability date is September 2013.

Do go and have a look at the announcement itself. It's quite extensive covering lots of details. And what's also interesting : there's a summary of all important web pages for z/OS. Oh well, why don't I just take them over here as well :

IBM Announcement : Preview z/VM 6.3

Today IBM is launching a preview for their operating systems. Let's first have a look at z/VM : 'Preview: IBM z/VM 6.3 - Smarter Computing with efficiency at scale (ZP13-0027)'.

The highlights ?

"To address pressure on memory resources, z/VM V6.3 supports 1 TB of real memory, which may increase server consolidation ratios and continues to provide support for more virtual servers than any other platform in a single footprint".

"To address your increasing workload demands for processor cycles and for quicker access to memory, z/VM V6.3 delivers HiperDispatch function that can improve workload throughput by optimizing processor cache utilization. HiperDispatch attempts to redispatch a virtual server repeatedly on the same physical CPU, or on a collection of physically adjacent CPUs, to increase the chances of obtaining data from the processor cache, instead of incurring time delays by having to go to main memory for data".

Planned availability date is third quarter of 2013.