Thursday, January 30, 2014

Potential exposure to job aborts in z/OS environment with zHPF enabled running on a DS8870 with R7.1

Here's a new flash alert on the DS8870. You can find the alert over here.
I'm taking over the content here as well.


z/OS clients with zHPF enabled running on a DS8870 with R7.1 bundles below are exposed to job aborts due to Channel Errors (IOS071I START PENDING)


The job aborts due to Channel Errors (IOS071I START PENDING) are caused by an internal condition of the DS8870 when zHPF is enabled.
Based on the number of transferred bytes per track the calculation for the amount of SMBs (sequential memory buffer) the DS8870 needs to allocate for transferring data over the channel may be wrong.
This wrong calculation leads to a code exception or an I/O hang in the DS8870 which may result in job aborts and IOS071I START PENDING messages.

The issue was introduced in the R7.1 GA bundle and fixed in the bundles identified in the Resolution section below.

Exposed Microcode bundles:
R7.1: all Microcode bundles below R7.1 SP3, multiple field occurrences observed, all on bundle


Disable zHPF until a service window can be scheduled to update DS8870 firmware to a bundle containing the fix.

Resolution :

A DS8870 microcode build to fix this issue has been made available in Bundle or higher. R7.1 SP3 R7.2 GA

For those customers upgrading code from R7.0 to R7.1 and running zHPF the minimum recommended microcode level is (R7.1 SP3)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V5.2 open beta offering

"IBM beta programs for software allow customers to sign up for and acquire early releases of a product for the purposes of testing, prior to it being made commercially available. Open beta programs do not usually require customers to register before taking part in the program. Typically, product offerings, that are provided by a beta program:
Details of the terms and conditions of the beta program are found in the supplied license files for the offering.

Participants in the beta program gain insight into IBM strategy and direction, and are able to build skills and develop expertise. They also obtain earlier benefit and payback from new function, may gain competitive edge, and the opportunity for public recognition as a technology leader. Participants are encouraged to provide feedback and articulate their own requirements to IBM, with the potential to help influence the shape future IBM products.

An online forum is provided for discussion and debate. The CICS development team will attempt to answer any questions and resolve any problems that may be encountered in the beta. Participants can also benefit from other participants' experiences, becoming part of a group, with a close working relationship with IBM development.

The CICS TS V5.2 open beta offering is available for download, direct from IBM from the date of availability onwards, by visiting
To register your interest in the CICS TS V5.2 open beta program, prior to the date of availability, contact the CICS Early Programs coordinator by email, at
As you can see, I just quoted the text straight from the announcement (ZP14-0021) as it describes so well how the open beta works. You can find the announcement over here.

A couple of extra details : availability date is February 24, 2014 and minimum z/OS version is 1.13.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SHARE eLearning Webcasts

I just saw this announcement in my mailbox about a SHARE Webcast with a title that drew my attention : 'z/OS Little Enhancements: Many Small Potatoes Can Make a Big Meal'. I must have missed previous announcements because it's not in my agenda. But I'm still just on time as it is for today at 18:00 p.m. Brussels Time. It's a SHARE webcast by Marna Walle and here's its content :
There are a lot of little functions to make life easier for z/OS system programmers that you probably didn't even know about. These are not items that will make headlines or probably Redbooks, but if you need them, they could save time for a busy system programmer. The webcast will cover several z/OS functions in prior releases that you may not have even heard about such as: BEGINPARALLEL in IEFSSNxx, Timed Event Data Report, IDCAMS delete enhancements, ISPF multiple move/copy targets and others. Most of these are probably available on the z/OS release you have right now!
Intriguing enough to register, don't you think ?

But take a look at the link above, because there are actually a lot more future webcasts over there. Some of them ?
  • Wednesday, February 5 : Intro to Crypto
  • Wednesday, April 30 : Top New z/OS Performance Functions Every Sysprog Should Understand
  • Wednesday, May 14 : Enterprise Computing: The Present and the Future 
  • Wednesday, June 11 : My z/OS has Analytics? 
  • Friday, July 11 : OMEGAMON Thresholds, Profiles and User Interfaces  
And there's more : at the link over here, you can find the webcast archive with "previous webcasts for viewing".

As I always say, just check it out !

Friday, January 17, 2014

Flash - DS8700/DS8800 EasyTier extent migration may cause repeated warmstarts and potential access loss . . .

The entire title goes 'DS8700/DS8800 EasyTier extent migration may cause repeated warmstarts and potential access loss when both RAID-5 and RAID-6 arrays are configured in the system'. And you can find all the details over here.

Let me take over some of the details

DS8700/DS8800 customers running EasyTier extent migration may experience repeated warmstarts with Fixed Block (FB) extents AND both RAID-5 and RAID-6 arrays are configured. Both EasyTier Auto Mode and EasyTier Manual mode (volume migration/rebalance, Rank Depopulation) are exposed. Customers with volume 0x0000 defined will experience more severe warmstarts and impacts (a potential loss of access), than those without this volume defined.

Customers not on DS8700/DS8800 are not exposed.
This is applicable only to FB extents and not to Key Count Data (CKD) extents, and customers not having RAID-5 and RAID-6 are not exposed.
Customers at, or above the code bundles recommended below are not exposed to this issue.

Upgrade to the code levels indicated in this notification OR follow the instructions below to disable EasyTier Auto Mode until the code levels are installed.

Check if ET is running disable ET Auto Mode and stop all ET manual mode operations.
You can also find the commands to do so in the flash and the corrected levels of code too.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mainframe turns 50 : CA Technologies - Mainframe 50, donations and a contest

In december I blogged about the 50th anniversary of the mainframe coming up April 7, 2014. As you can guess that definitely wasn't my last post about it. So here I am already back with a first post in 2014 about the mainframe turning 50.

CA Technologies has set up a 'Mainframe 50' site. It starts with this video about the mainframe

There's a couple of sections and I guess the section about the Dynamic Data Center (Get Dynamic, Get Results) is the most elaborate for the moment. But turning 50 asks for some celebration too, so there's also the 'Celebrate, Give and Share' section. There you can click in order for CA Technologies to donate US $1 per day. The money goes to "global organizations focused on science, technology, engineering and math education, to support future generations of innovators, technologists and scientists".

And last but not least, there's also a contest called "Think you know the mainframe". "To participate in the Mainframe Contest , you must be one of the first 500 participants to submit two correct answers to a multiple choice question posted on during the contest period between January 13, 2014 through February 11, 2014." Well, just check it out. And I must say, I have a bit of a spoiler alert for non US residents. Apparantly you must reside in the US in order to be able to participate. Oh, well . . .

Friday, January 10, 2014

Order z/OS 1.13 Today !

Thanks to Jan Tits (IBM Belgium) for bringing this to my attention at the very right moment. Although many customers are already migrating to z/OS V2, there are still customers running z/OS 1.11 that may need to order z/OS 1.13 to migrate forward. If you still need to order z/OS 1.13, then DO IT TODAY. Last date to order is January 17.

You know that z/OS 1.11 is already out of support since September 30, 2012. Even with Lifecycle Extension you only get a fee-based corrective (fix, bypass, or restriction to a problem) service until September 30. 2014. z/OS 1.12 is out of support on September 30, 2014 with no lifecycle support afterwards. So if you're still on one of those two : time to move on !