Monday, May 25, 2015

DS8000 Code Recommendation

Last week, in my post about the new DS8870 features there was a reference to the minimum level of the bundle version that has to be on your system. This reminded me of the following page on DS8000 Code Recommendation over here.

The page helps customers in implementing a code update strategy. It lists out the various DS8000 models with their respective minimum, recommended and last code level. This is also how you can quickly see that the required "bundle version" mentioned in the announcement is not yet available for the moment and it will only become available for the DS8870 as code bundles for earlier DS8000 systems stopped already earlier.

Click through on the model e.g. DS8870 (R7.4) and you get all code bundle information available for this model. Page through down to the bottom, there's a wealth of information there !

Thursday, May 21, 2015

IBM #XIV introduces Real-time Compression

Last week IBM made a significant announcement on XIV Gen3 : ' IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 and IBM XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers V11.6.0 deliver support for IBM Real-time Compression and disaster recovery with Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ZP15-0250)'.

I think the real eye-catcher over here is the introduction of Real-time Compression. This is reflected in the overview of what's announced :
  • IBM Random Access Compression Engine (RACE) technology without need for extra hardware to scale performance and simplify compression management
  • Increased usable capacity per rack to lower cost per capacity
  • Faster replication of compressed data using less bandwidth to free up bandwidth for other uses
  • Continuous display of predicted or actual compression ratios for all volumes to increase performance
  • Nondisruptive conversion of uncompressed volumes to compressed volumes for faster data mobilization
  • Support for Microsoft™ Azure Site Recovery to seamlessly manage XIV replication for Microsoft infrastructures
Double your capacity ?
What does this mean in terms of usable capacity. Well : here's the maximum capacity for an XIV with 180 disks and disks of 1TB/2TB/3TB/4TB/6TB : 80TB/161TB/243TB/325TB/485TB (decimal TB that is). The announcement says this will "increase usable capacity per rack typically to one petabyte or more with IBM Real-time Compression™ (using a 15-module system with 6 TB disk drives)". Of course, as always, results will vary, but let's say capacity could be doubled with this inline compression.

"IBM Real-time Compression is a software license option that is only available for XIV Gen3 systems, including models 114 and 214, with XIV software V11.6.0, on new systems, or as an MES upgrade". "Compression is applied to individual volumes and snapshots. There is no limit however on the amount of usable capacity that is subject to compression. Compression need to be system-enabled before it can be applied to individual volumes. Mirroring requires that both primary and secondary volumes are compressed".

"IBM is offering current IBM Storage XIV Gen3 customers the opportunity to evaluate the new Real-time Compression capability at no cost for 45 days. (...) The 45-day evaluation period begins when the XIV Real-time Compression function is enabled. At the end of the evaluation period, customers must either purchase the required licenses for Real-time Compression or disable the function".

Did I see the word "purchase" over there ? Yes, Real-time Comrpession seems to be the first license on the XIV that does not come for free with the box. I must say that for the moment I haven't got any clue about the price setting of this feature. 

There's a nice little Redpaper called 'IBM Real-time Compression on the IBM XIV Storage System' available on the Redbooks site.

Planned Availability  is June 4, 2015.

IBM announcement : DS8870 enhancements

Here's another announcement from last week specifically for the DS8870, the latest generation of the DS8000 : ' IBM DS8870 delivers expanded connectivity and extends cloud enablement support with z Synergy for integration of z Systems and Storage systems (ZG15-0098)'.
Availability date is May 22, 2015 and all "announced features and functions are supported on the IBM System Storage® DS8000 series and require DS8000 LMC 7.7.50.xx.xx (bundle version, or later".

Here's an overview of the new features :

16GFC FC/FICON connectivity:
DS8870 supports 16GFC FC/FICON connectivity with an optional four-port host adapter card. Model 961 supports four adapter card pairs and Model 96E supports four additional adapter card pairs, enabling a total of sixty-four 16GFC FC/FICON ports.

New and improved z Synergy features:
  • FICON® Dynamic Routing: This feature supports Systems Business Class and Enterprise Class models and enables use of dynamic routing policies for cascaded directors in the SAN. Examples of dynamic routing policies include Brocade Exchange Based Routing (EBR) or Originator Exchange ID Load Balancing (OxID) across cascaded FICON Directors. The value of FICON Dynamic Routing is to help reduce cost by allowing Metro Mirror and FICON traffic to share the same set of ISLs. This can help reduce the number of ports required, fibers, and intercite bandwidth.
  • Forward error correction (FEC): This feature helps to correct I/O errors and improve the reliability of 16 Gbs links, encouraging the adoption of faster link speeds. This feature also protects DS8870 Metro Mirror links connected to 16GFC host adapters and FCP links connected to switches that support standard FEC negotiation protocols.
  • zHPF Extended Distance II: This feature delivers better zHPF large block write performance at longer distances (up to 100 Km) and improved FC fabric congestion management.
  • Fabric Priority for FICON, zHPF, and FCP: z Workload Manager (zWLM) will assign a fabric I/O priority for every I/O operation executed by z/OS® thus extending the scope of management into the SAN. The DS8870 exploits fabric priority by propagating it to the Metro Mirror traffic generated for write requests and by echoing back the priority to get the value on read requests. Fabric priority complements the FICON Dynamic Routing feature by insuring the FICON traffic and the Metro Mirror traffic are managed to a consistent set of policies.
  • Read Diagnostics Parameters (RDP) support: RDP enables new standard link services for obtaining diagnostic information including link speeds and power levels from FC end points and switch ports to aid in link fault isolation.
Heat Map Transfer for MGM environments:
With this release, heat map transfer supports MGM replication topology in addition to Metro Mirror/Global Copy/Global Mirror (MM/GC/GM) functions.

This release includes support for monitoring, configuring, and controlling aspects of the DS8870 system configuration by use of an industry-standard REST API.

Performance monitoring:
The improved DS8000® Storage Management GUI provides system performance monitoring in real time. A storage administrator can view performance metrics from up to one week earlier down to one minute intervals in order to troubleshoot a wide variety of issues. Supported graphs include the following:
  • I/O, bandwidth, caching, capacity, and power/temperature monitoring at a system level
  • Back-end I/O, back-end bandwidth, and capacity monitoring at a pool level
  • Front-end I/O and bandwidth monitoring at a pool level

Simplified encryption setup:
The improved DS8000 Storage Management GUI also provides simplified encryption setup and management through a simplified encryption paradigm matching other products. This enables a storage administrator to configure encryption within five minutes of finishing system setup.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

IBM Announcement - Preview of IBM z/VSE V6.1

I'm catching up a bit on IBM announcements. As a matter of fact, this one was already announced last week : 'Preview: IBM z/VSE V6.1 - Get ready for the new z/VSE version! (ZP15-0149)'. I wasn't aware of this, but z/VSE is actually celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. IBM z/VSE V6.1 will become available in Quarter 4 of 2015 and will run on a z10 or higher. Fast Service Upgrade (FSU) to z/VSE V6.1 will not be possible.

Some highlights from the announcement. IBM z/VSE® V6.1 is designed to:

Exploit innovative IBM z13technology

  • Configurable Crypto Express5S for data encryption and SSL acceleration.
  • FICON Express16S supporting a link rate of 16 Gbps.
Support enhanced IBM System Storage® options
  • IBM System Storage TS7700 Virtualization Engine Release 3.2.
  • IBM System Storage DS8870 Release 7.4 (ECKD™ and FCP-attached SCSI disks).
  • IBM FlashSystem® V840 for use with FCP-attached SCSI disks.
Deliver CICS® TS for z/VSE V2.1
CICS TS for z/VSE V2.1 can only be used with z/VSE V6.1, and replaces CICS TS for VSE/ESA V1.1.1. New functionality includes:
  • Update and control capabilities to CICS resources for the CICS Explorer® system management tool.
  • New APIs to enable the transfer of large amounts of structured data between CICS applications to meet the needs of growing workloads.
Deliver TCP/IP for z/VSE V2.1
  • This new version replaces TCP/IP for VSE/ESA and is designed to include firewall functionality.
Deliver IPv6/VSE V1.2
  • This new release of IPv6/VSE will provide firewall functionality, increased network availability, and other enhancements.
Add trigger functionality for the WebSphere® MQ Client for VSE
  • The MQ Client Trigger Monitor will add trigger functionality for the WebSphere MQ Client for VSE to ease asynchronous message processing.
Selected enhancements are also available with PTFs for z/VSE V5.1 and z/VSE V5.2.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Upcoming events

Here's a selection of upcoming events that might be of interest to you

(GSE) Meetings in Belgium

June 4, 2015 - DB2 zOS and DB2 LUW Joined user group meeting
IBM Client Center in Brussels
On June 4th 2015, the Belux GSE DB2 working group in cooperation with the DB2 LUW working group present their 6th Joint DB2 for z/OS and DB2 for LUW Event. You can find the agenda and you can also register over here.
A short overview : "This 155th day of the year 2015 will start with a lighthearted story from Marcel Den Hartog about “Mainframe in the Digital Economy”. Besides Marcel to put everybody in the right mood, we have a number of other renowned speakers on this event. John Campbell will entertain us with stories about the joys of migration to DB2 11 for z/OS. For the more DB2 for LUW oriented people we managed to bring over Les King to talk about where DB2 fits into the Big Data Analytics picture, and Alain De Wilde to talk about Cloud Data Services.
After the lunch offered by IBM, we have more technical deep dive topics for you by John Campbell and Klaas Brant talking about locking, and more system oriented topics like large buffer pools and compression. We also have a user presentation from Dirk Beauson. He will describe how KBC does DB2 for z/OS application performance tuning".

June 8, 2015 - GSE LUG Working Group meeting on 'IT Security in Practice'
RealDolmen Huizingen
"We will give a global view of the security landscape. What are the actual threads and what are the expectations for the future ? For what must we be prepared ? Previously, perimeter security was sufficient. Today we have to accept that someone can still break in into our system. How can we efficiently detect /monitor that ? How to react on such an attack ? How must you be organized ? Which professional roles / responsibilities must be defined in your company to be capable to react in a sufficient way ?" For registration, send an e-mail to

EMEA : May 18-22, 2015 - System z Technical University

The System z Technical University is taking place in Dublin for EMEA. You can find all information about attending, agenda, registration etc. over here.This is already next week, so hurry up if you still want to attend it. For the Belgian customer, there's an Irish company (I won't give any names of course) that flies you to Dublin and back for under 100€. So that's already one obstacle out of the way . . .

BeNeLux : June 9-11 2015 - DB2 Symposium 2015 Netherlands
"On 9-11 June we organize our 17th DB2 Symposium in Veldhoven / The Netherlands with nine DB2 z/OS and LUW sessions presented by DB2 Gold Consultants and IBM DB2 Experts. The DB2 Symposium is a three day training event with one day seminars which fills the gap between a conference and a multi-day training. The DB2 Symposium is unique because you can join us for 1, 2 or 3 days, depending on your needs and budget."
Some names of speakers : Susan Lawson, Ember Crooks, Cristian Molar, Gareth Jones, Martin Hubel, Dan Luksetich, Klaas Brant
More information and registration over here.

Online events

May 19, 2015 - IBM Systems Magazine Webcast at 6:00PM Brussels Time
3590 Tape Drive End of Support - What's The Best Alternative? for Mainframe

This appears to be a sponsored webcast from Luminex but I guess the content could be interesting :
"Better understand the key considerations and available options for addressing the 3590 EOS, to protect your mainframe investment and ease the transition to new technologies.
Protect your mainframe investment and gain insight from Luminex Subject Matter Experts and a Technical Lead from JAS Tech Services who will share his firsthand experience with a recent transition from 3490 and 3590 tape drives, to 3490 and 3590 virtual tape.
This webinar will highlight the best practices for navigating from the initial evaluation, to unplugging and powering off physical tape systems permanently, including the POC, sizing, IOGEN, implementation, testing, production, tape migration, cutover and DR testing".
You have to click your way to the registration via the link over here.

May 28, 2015 - Webcast at 5:00PM Brussels Time
APIs for the Enterprise: Unlocking mainframe assets for mobile and cloud applications

"Across multiple industries, enterprises have made significant investments in mainframe applications. By taking advantage of these z Systems-based assets, you can extend your reach to new customers and markets with new applications and services. By exposing existing mainframe assets as APIs, you can improve the customer experience and integrate new mobile and cloud capabilities. These APIs are the building blocks for accessing the systems of record that are managed in existing mainframe applications.Topics include:
  • Discover how to develop APIs from existing z/OS business assets
  • Learn how to take advantage of new capabilities and set up end-to-end architecture and technical roles
  • Find out how to bring together the right organizational roles for delivering successful mobile and cloud-based solutions"
You can find all info and a registration link over here.

June 16/17, 2015 - A Two Part Webcast at 5:00PM Brussels Time
DB2 11 Migration Planning & Real Customer Experiences by John Campbell

"To help facilitate your migration, and ensure your organization remains competitive John Campbell will provide planning information about migrating to DB2 11 for z/OS. This presentation will be two part series June 16th and 17th. The presentation will share surprises, pitfalls and lessons learned; provide hints and tips; discuss enabling fast start; and share the latest news about migrations.
This is a unique opportunity to catch the top hints and tips from John, there will also be an opportunity for a live Q&A session."

You can find all info and a registration link over here for the first session and over here for the second session..

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New series of z13 videos on Youtube

I picked this up via the IBM-Main list (thanks to John McKnown) : it's a five video series on the new IBM z13 system by Jeff Frey, IBM Fellow and z Systems CTO. They are really worth a look and explain each time in about 4 minutes an aspect of the value of the new IBM z13. I really enjoyed them.

A teaser ?
"Some people have the perception that because the architectural routes of this platform are fifty-years-old that it's an old system. It has some of the most modern technology of any commercial server in the industry"
"You know one of the best-kept secrets I think of the z system is its ability to process large amounts of sustained performance in terms of I/O both storage and network and I think it contributes greatly to the economic value of the platform"

The five videos treat :
  • An IBM z13 introduction and technical overview (link) (This link starts the entire series)
  • The IBM z13-a well-balanced system for I/O and processing (link)
  • Efficient analytics on the IBM z13 (link)
  • Workload efficiency on the IBM z13 (link)
  • Linux, KVM and the Cloud on the IBM z13 (link)
 As I always say, just check them out !

Friday, May 8, 2015

Introduction to the value of IBM XIV - a RealDolmen publication

I already told you about our XIV Roundtable event on Tuesday 2, 2015 but we also took some other initiatives to put IBM XIV into the spotlights.

One of those was composing an introductory brochure to XIV and particularly to the value of XIV for your business.  It was a challenging but rewarding effort, summarizing lots of presentations, studies, white papers and so forth into a 24-page brochure. But I think we came out with a great result. As you can see, we grouped everything around six themes : Elasticity, Security&Continuity, Efficiency, Manageability, Performance and Out-of-the-box Integration. 

But bottom line, you know, is most of the time the impact all this has on the cost for your business and we also payed quite some attention to this.

If you want to download this brochure, you can find it via the registration page of the Roundtable event over here : 'Powerful storage with IBM XIV'.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Invitation to our Executive Roundtable on IBM XIV storage

You must know by now, I've always had a soft spot for XIV. I've already told you about recent evolutions and how IBM Spectrum Accelerate is the newly announced Software Defined Storage (SDS) version of XIV.

So I'm really proud to tell you that RealDolmen is launching an intensive campaign to promote IBM XIV and IBM Spectrum Accelerate in the BeLux market. One of our initiatives is an Executive Roundtable on Tuesday June 2, 2015 at De Montil in Affligem (BE) near Brussels. And I must say we have a very strong agenda giving you lots of inormation in just half a day including a compelling customer story by Colruyt, one of the largest retail companies in Belgium. Here's the full agenda :

9.00 - 9.30 Reception (Coffee)
9.30 - 9.45 Storage: A challenge for you as well ?
9.45 -11.15 IBM XIV: IBM’s anwer for your storage needs
  • Overview Market and Architecture
  • What's new with XIV 11.6
  • XIV and VMware
  • Spectrum Accelerate
  • Roadmap
Eyal Zimran, Chief Technology Officer, IBM
11.15 - 11.30 Pause
11.30 -12.15 IBM XIV at Colruyt: a customer testimonial
Robert Groenemans, Team manager Server Platforms, Colruyt
Sten Leijskens, Infrastructure Manager Infrastructure Services, Colruyt
12.15 – 12.30 What can RealDolmen do for your with regards to your XIV storage projects ?    -    ReaDolmen
12.30 - Q&A followed by businesslunch offered by RealDolmen

If you want to subscribe to this event or you think your manager should, then you can register over here. For the moment I only have the Dutch registration page link, but I'll add the French link later on.

If you have any more questions about this event or if you want us to contact you about IBM XIV storage, just let me know. You can always mail me at

Price Changes on Selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products

Well, after more than a month of silence, I'm back on my feet. I had to undergo some surgery but I've recovered well and I'm back at work. I have to wait another couple of weeks before I can start running again, but the doctor says that blogging is quite OK ;-) . So here we go again.

I'm starting off with mentioning a couple of announcements from the last month and here's the first one : 'Price Changes on Selected System z and zSeries Software Program Products (ZA15-1111)'. There's a price increase in one-time charges (OTC) and associated Subscription and Support (S&S) recurrent license charges (monthly and annually). If you have a look at the list, it's all Websphere products.

The price increases (if any) vary from country to country. So you really have to take a look at the announcement for your own country. In Belgium it's an increase of 5%. Increased recurrent licence charges will be effective with the billing  period that starts on or after August 1, 2015. The one-time charge price increases are effective August 1, 2015.