Tuesday, April 2, 2013

IBM Flash Express


Flash Express was introduced together with the zEC12. It became GA in December 2012. Let me start by recapitulating part of what I wrote about it back then in August 2012.
Flash Express is used to deliver a new tier of memory, which is slower than real memory but which is a lot faster than external disk. So, Flash Express introduces Solid State Drive (SSD) technology to the zSeries family. The main application of internal Flash in the zEC12 is paging store for z/OS. The z/OS paging subsystem will work with a mix of internal Flash and External Disk. This leads to improved paging performance realized through a simplified configuration.

Flash Express is implemented via NAND Flash SSDs (Solid State Drives) mounted in PCIe Flash Express feature cards.

They plug into PCIe I/O drawers in pairs. They are cabled together to form a Raid 10 Mirror for redundancy thus providing 1.6 TB of storage. A maximum of 4 pairs is allowed per system.

IBM Mainframe Insights blog series

I mentioned a series of articles on IBM zAware some time ago on the IBM Mainframe Insights blog. Well, now there's a similar series going on about Flash Express.It started with 'Flash Express' back in January giving you a general introduction to it. The second article was 'Getting Started with Flash Express on zEnterprise EC12'. It tells you how easy it is to define and configure Flash Express via a series of panels on the SE or HMC. The third article is 'Under the Covers of Flash Express - Implementation Highlights'. Topics covered are System overview, Virtualization, Redundant Components, Data protection, Data en key Encryption. I'm not sure whether more articles will follow but keep an eye on the Mainframe Insights Blog.


If you can access them, there are a couple of presentations that were given at Share that give you some more information ànd test results on Flash Express. There was also a presentation by jean-Paul Goemaere on our recent GSE z/OS Working Group meeting. You can find it over here.

Combining all this information, you'll be pretty well on your way to become a real Flash Express specialist.

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