Thursday, April 17, 2014

(Not) affected by the heartbleed vulnerability

Let me start by quoting Wikipedia to define what the heartbleed vulnerability is about : "Heartbleed is a security bug in the open-source OpenSSL cryptography library, widely used to implement the Internet's Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. This vulnerability is due to a missing bounds check in the handling of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) heartbeat extension. A fixed version of OpenSSL was released on April 7, 2014, at the same time as Heartbleed was publicly disclosed. At that time, some 17 percent (around half a million) of the Internet's secure web servers certified by trusted authorities were believed to be vulnerable to the attack, allowing theft of the servers' private keys and users' session cookies and passwords. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ars Technica, and Bruce Schneier all deemed the Heartbleed bug "catastrophic". Forbes cybersecurity columnist Joseph Steinberg wrote, "Some might argue that [Heartbleed] is the worst vulnerability found (at least in terms of its potential impact) since commercial traffic began to flow on the Internet."

Does it have any impact on our mainframe or IBM storage environments ?
Well, if you do a search on the Support site, you get more than a hundred hits on 'heartbleed'. I see that practically all indicate 'not affected by the OpenSSL heartbleed vulnerability'. Let me give some of them :
  • TS7650, TS7650G, TS7680
  • TS7700, TS7720, TS7740
  • TS3500, TS11x0, 3592-C07
  • XIV Gen2
  • CICS Transaction Server for VSE/ESA 1.1.1, CICS Transaction Server for z/OS 
  • DS8100, DS8300, DS8700, DS8800 and DS8870 prior to Release 7.2 
  • OpenSSH for z/OS
The only one I found so far that is affected is XIV Gen3.
"XIV management and CIMOM uses SSL to provide confidentiality and integrity of management communications. This vulnerability means that an attacker can potentially compromise management communication, gaining access to user credentials and thereby to unauthorized management access of an exposed system. Since storage management is usually on an internal and separate network, exposure to this vulnerability is limited to users with access to the management network.
The impact is limited to management communication only, as XIV does not use SSL encryption in the data path".

Affected products and versions are : "XIV Gen3 systems running microcode versions 11.4.1 or 11.4.1.a are vulnerable via management and CIMOM ports. Versions 11.3.0, 11.3.0.a and 11.3.1 are vulnerable only via the CIMOM port. XIV Gen3 systems running older microcode versions are not affected. XIV Gen2 systems are not affected".

You can find all additional information for XIV Gen3 over here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

RealDolmen System z e-zine 21 : Anniversary edition #mainframe50

The 21st issue of our RealDolmen System z Newsletter was sent out yesterday. You can download it over here. Just like the last time, there's just one English version. No more Dutch or French versions. Do go and take a look at it. There's some contect that hasn't been on the blog. perhaps I'll put my contribution on OpenStack here as well in the coming days.

The content : here's the introduction that was sent along :
Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mainframe. IBM announced the S/360 mainframe on this very day emerging from a 5 billion dollar investment initiated by its former president Thomas Watson Jr. And just like with any anniversary you can do two things. On the one hand you can reminisce about the past, celebrate important achievements and tell heroic stories. On the other hand it’s always the perfect moment to look towards the future and determine future strategies in order to hold your place in a competitive world. Of course today we will do a bit of both since one can learn a lot from the past and we need to keep an open mind towards the future. You can read all details in this newsletter.

We’ll give you an overview of some sites, happenings and social media which are giving a lot of attention to this anniversary. But we will also point out a couple of solutions and trends that are definitely positioning the mainframe in the future. One of those items we already mentioned a couple of times in our blog is OpenStack. This is also becoming a very relevant platform for our mainframe. Next to that we’ll also introduce IBM Wave for z/VM to you. These solutions point towards some future accents like ease of use, bridging the knowledge gap and open standards with software defined environments.

Finally, we still have our usual entries with recent announcements, interesting blog entries, EOS dates, hints and tips and our agenda.

Enjoy the reading !

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Announcement : Price change - selected DS8870 disk drives

Today IBM issues the following announcement : 'Price change: Selected DS8870 Disk Drives (ZA14-1121)'. Effective today "IBM announces a list price decrease on Selected DS8870 Disk Drives".

So this is a price reduction for the following disk drives on the DS8870 : 146 GB 15krpm FDE disk drive, 300 GB 15krpm FDE disk drive, 600 GB 10krpm FDE disk drive, 1.2 TB 10krpm FDE disk drive, 4 TB 7.2krpm FDE disk drive.

Did I already tell you that it's effective as of today. You never know but I just wonder whether I'll have to add a little comment to this tomorrow ?


Friday, March 28, 2014

White Paper (eBook) - DB2 11 : The Database for Big Data & Analytics

This is the fourth edition of this eBook and it's as valuable as ever. It's divided into four sections with an introduction by Surekha Parekh :
  • 'DB2 11 for z/OS : Unmatched Efficiency for Big Data and Analytics' by Julian Stuhler,
  • 'Improved Query Performance in DB2 11 for z/OS' by Terry Purcell,
  • 'IBM DB2 Utilities and Tools with DB2 11 for z/OS' by Haakon Roberts and
  • 'How DB2 for z/OS Can Help Reduce Total Cost of Ownership' by Cristian Molaro 
Regarding its contents I don't know really where I should start. There's so much interesting information that I can only say, download the book and read it. You won't be disappointed. I can tell you I wasn't.

Since the title puts the focus on Big Data perhaps I can tell you a bit more about that part. As Surekha Parekh states in the introduction : "There has been an enormous explosion of data: 90 percent of the world’s data has been created over the past two years! We have also seen a rapid growth in the volume, variety, and velocity of data due to the explosion of smart devices, mobile applications, cloud computing, and social media. New technology innovations, hunger for data, and the thirst for business analytics signal that we are entering a new era of computing —Smarter Computing — the era of Insight for Discovery (...) Much of this data growth has been in unstructured data" (think in terms of Facebook, Twitter, Google searches, Youtube) "IDC estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the Internet - business-to-business and business-to-consumer - will reach 450 billion per day. This phenomenon of data explosion is called big data, and smart organizations are looking for innovative ways to collect, analyze, and turn this data into actionable insights and make predictions.". So where does DB2 (structured data) comes into play here ?

As Brian Proffitt states in this article : "You can't have a conversation about Big Data for very long without talking about Hadoop. But what is Hadoop, and what makes it so important?". Do read the article. It's a good introduction to Hadoop. And if you want the short definition, here's one from the Webopedia :
Hadoop, formally called Apache Hadoop, is an Apache Software Foundation project and open source software platform for scalable, distributed computing. Hadoop can provide fast and reliable analysis of both structured data and unstructured data. Given its capabilities to handle large data sets, it's often associated with the phrase big data.
Returning to our white paper here's how the structured (DB2) and unstructured worlds get connected. "In response, a number of tools and techniques have emerged centered on the open source Hadoop framework, including IBM’s InfoSphere® BigInsights™ technology.

While these technologies address many of the challenges inherent in analyzing big data, they also introduce new ones for organizations wanting to gain new insights by integrating the analysis of big data with core operational information. As shown in" the figure below "DB2 11 delivers some highly significant new features to allow DB2 and Hadoop/BigInsights to work together and better leverage each platform’s respective strengths. This capability lets data flow in both directions between DB2 and BigInsights, as follows".

There's more detail about how data goes from DB2 to Infosphere BigInsights and the other way round but therefore you'll have to turn to the eBook itself.

As I always say, just check it out !

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A couple of DS8000 announcements

You know what, I'm always struggling with all those feature codes from the DS8000 family. And if the announcement has a wrong title, it's only adding up to the trouble. Here's e.g. 'Revised availability: Select IBM DS8700 MES features and feature conversions (ZG14-0135)'. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out this is actually about the DS8870 because it's about the 2421-961 up to the 2424-961 and not the 941 which is the DS8700. But the announcement is actually good news. Field upgrades from a P7+ core to another P7+ core will be possible as from today instead of June 6, 2014. On a DS8870 of course. GA for field upgrades from a P7 to P7+ remains on June 6, 2014 as was announced already last year over here (ZG13-0298).

But there is also news about the DS8700 in the following announcement : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage DS8700 Expansion Unit and select features - Some replacements available (ZG14-0059)'. Let me try to translate some of the feature codes for you. First the DS8870. In April you will only be able to order a DS8870 with LMC R7.2 and as of July 7 only P7+ cores can be ordered. For the DS8700, as of October 1 no more expansion units can be ordered. And if I read the rest correctly you cannot longer order any host adapters, memory, cables nor 300GB, 450GB or 600GB disk drive sets. Since the 1TB drives were already withdrawn, there's nothing much left to order on a DS8700. I guess you might still be able to order some SSD drives, but I'm not too confident about that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Upcoming events

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

(IBM) Events
 

Worldwide : April 8, 2014 - z Anniversary NY event

I already blogged about this earlier : "IBM will be hosting a landmark event that will celebrate the first 50 years of the mainframe by looking into the next 50 years. The event will highlight the strategic role that the mainframe will play in the future."
There's a livestream of the event which takes place from 2.00 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. ET. This should correspond with 8.00 p.m. until 10.30 p.m. in Brussels (CET).You can find all information over here.

Benelux : April 10, 2014 - IBM Mainframe 50 year anniversary
This one is specifically for the Benelux with an event in Zwijndrecht (NL) that lso celebrates the 50th anniversary of the mainframe. You can of course still register over here. The agenda is also known by now. Speakers are Mrs. Kelly Ryan, IBM Director System z Client Care, Mr. Toine Straathof, Executive Vice President Rabobank and Mr. René Boender, Brain Agent, Trendteller & Bestseller author. We conclude with a festive toast on the future of the Mainframe and Walking Dinner.


EMEA : May 12-16, 2014 - System z Technical University

The System z Technical University is taking place in Budapest for EMEA. You can find all information about attending, agenda, registration etc. over here. If you register this week you can still have the early bird reduction. There's also an extra reduction code when you're a GSE member.

Belgium : May 8-9, 2014 - GSE Regional Conference
This years GSE regional conference is in Hotel Thermae Palace in Oostende and its theme is 'SmartSourcing'. Some of the presentations are :
  • The different Flavours of Sourcing (Marnix Gillis, IBM)
  • Sourcing Policies (Igor Prozenko, BNP Paribas Fortis)
  • From Infrastructure Outsourcing to IaaS (Dominique Thireau, CSC)
  • A Model for Smartsourcing (Guido Dedene, K.U.Leuven)
  • Application Development Outsourcing (Henri Arnold, NRB)
  • TCO before and after (Wim Vancluysen, IBM)
  • Project Management in an outsourced Context (Rigo Breesch, CeGeKa)
  • Sourcing Trends and Directions (Gerrit Liebens, Gartner)
You should've received an invitation in order to register. Normally all information will become available here as well.

(GSE) Meetings in Belgium

March 27, 2014 - GSE Architecture Working Group with Round Table about Cloud Deployment Experiences
KBC Leuven
You can register over here. "We know that this 'Round Table' formula is a challenge, but we dare to tackle it, because a Cloud Computing Subject Matter Expert and an experienced Moderator will be our guides and allow you to benefit maximally from your precious time investment."


March 27, 2014 - GSE DB2 Working Group meeting
NRB Herstal
You can register over here. Presentations are
  • Euroclear : ‘DB2 Connectivity at Euroclear’, 
  • KBC : ‘Our challenges with managing distributed access to DB2 for zOS’, 
  • Ludovic Janssens – Infocura: ‘Java Application Performance on DB2 for zOS’, 
  • Cristian Molaro : ’Distributed access to DB2 for zOS: state of the art’ and 
  • BMC Software : ‘Understanding Distributed Processing Inside DB2 for zOS’.

April 2, 2014 - DB2 LUW User Group BeLux Event
IBM Forum, Brussels
You can register over here. There are presentations by Klaas Brant with “HADR, a prime” and “Lighting fast BI: Meet BLU” and Cristian Molaro with “DB2 pureScale hot update” and there will be two additional sessions by people from the IBM DB2 Ireland Labs (subjects still to be determined).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sampling Techdocs - Up to February 2014

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.
  • Technical document : DS8000 Host Ports and Installation Sequence
    Here's a nice document on the "DS8000 host adapters installation sequence, port usage, naming conventions and best practices for host connection". Lots of practical tips.
  • Presentation : DS8000 HyperPAV presentation and demonstration
    This is kind of a recap but it still contains some practical tips for people starting with HyperPAV. It's a "presentation that explains HyperPAV and compares HyperPAVs to Dynamic and Static PAVs. There is a demonstration that shows the performance benefits of changing from no PAVs, to Dynamic PAVs and ultimately HyperPAVs."
    • Presentation : zEnterprise z/OS Usage of SMC-R RoCE
      "SMC-R and RoCE provide high throughput with low overhead communications. This paper is developed to detail the SMC-R and RoCE support in z/OS V2.1." This presentation talks about RDMA and SMC R, SMC R Configuration, Management Commands, CP Usage, Switch Ports, SMC R Details, OSA vs. HiperSockets vs. RoCE ... And I can assure you, not one detail is omitted here.
    • White paper : Absolute Capping for zEnterprise LPARs
      Here's an interesting one : "Absolute Capping is a new control which was made available in 2013 supporting the zBC12 and zEC12 GA2 CPCs. It is enabled on zEnterprise via licensed internal code Version 2.12.1 at Driver Level 15 or higher.
      Absolute Capping is available to any LPAR but is of particular interest for non z/OS LPARs such as z/VM and Linux on z that cannot make use of z/OS Workload Manager capacity management functions.
      Unlike traditional LPAR Capping, this enhancement is designed to provide a physical capacity limit enforced as an absolute (versus relative) value that is not affected by changes to the virtual or physical configuration of the system. "
    Well that's it for now. And, as I always say : just check them out !

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    #mainframe50 : Benelux Event April 10 in Zwijndrecht, Netherlands

    Yesterday I told you about a #mainframe50 event in the Benelux. Well, here it is. Just click on one of the pictures below to register.

    https://www-950.ibm.com/events/wwe/grp/grp021.nsf/v17_enrollall?openform&seminar=8ZBGJAES&locale=nl_NL

    https://www-950.ibm.com/events/wwe/grp/grp021.nsf/v17_enrollall?openform&seminar=8ZBGJAES&locale=nl_NL

    I hope lots of you will be able to join us.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Livestream : Making the extraordinary possible - IBM #Mainframe50

    Information about the 50th anniversary of the mainframe is really pouring in now. So here's the information about a livestream that you will be able to follow on April 8, 2014. Here's the announcement :

    On April 8, 2014, IBM will be broadcasting via Livestream a landmark event that will take place in New York City and make a series of announcements to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mainframe. The event will highlight breakthroughs in business, industry and society driven by the Mainframe, and the strategic role it will continue to play in the future.

    Join this great lineup of speakers as they share new announcements, research projects, best practices and breakthrough business innovation enabled by the IBM Mainframe.

    Speakers include:
    • IBM Senior Vice Presidents Steve Mills, Colleen Arnold, Tom Rosamilia, and John Kelly, and IBM General Manager for System z Pat Toole
    • Client speakers from Visa, CitiBank and Business Connexion
    • Researchers from Yale University
    • Students, the future generation of IT

    The event will highlight the strategic role of the mainframe and its evolution in enabling:
    • Industry-changing missions that make the extraordinary possible
    • Reinvention to transform your business
    • Secure data and the exponential growth of data and transactions
    The time is from 2.00 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. ET. This should correspond with 8.00 p.m. until 10.30 p.m. in Brussels (CET).

    You can find some more information and RSVP to receive an e-mail notification at the event site.

    And there's other news for the Benelux that I just received from Hans Deketele (IBM Mainframe Platform Leader Benelux) : there will be a celebration event on April 10, 2014 in Zwijndrecht (NL) for the Benelux. I'll keep you posted as soon as I have more news about this.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    #mainframe50 and BMC

    I'm following the twitter account of BMC (@BMCMainframe) and they're handing out a commemorative coin at SHARE in Anaheim for the mainframe's 50th anniversary . Well, it's such a beauty that I was feeling a little pity for myself that I couldn't attend the event.



    But lo and behold, the BMC Mainframe blog 'Mainframe Revolution' has the following topic : 'BMC Mainframe 50 Commemorative Coin Available Online'. And you can actually request your own coin online . . . "as long as supplies last". So I'm not going to give you the link here. Just pay a visit to the blog and while you're there, have a look around, there's lots of interesting contect over there.
    Take a look e.g. at this post : '14 Reasons To Celebrate Mainframe 50 with BMC Software at Share'. If you're attending SHARE you'll surely find some interesting sessions to follow. Or what about this tweet : "BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise... Find out how to save up to 20% of your MLC costs! #SHAREorg booth 511". Isn't that triggering your attention ?

    As I always say, just check it out.
    But be quick, or you might not have the chance to see this message :

    Friday, March 7, 2014

    #Mainframe50

    "To boldly go where no man has gone before", I know I'm ripping this out of its context, but I think it's fitting for the mainframe as well. Many will say that this was definitely the case 50 years ago, by now some will argue that the mainframe is a thing of the past (remember the Mainframe is Dead saga) but I'm convinced (and lots of others with me of course) that it is still the case today. People have absolutely no idea how strongly our lives are intertangled with the mainframe. Have a look at this video.



    And here's another one.



    Well, you know why I'm writing about this : the mainframe is turning 50 and you're still going to hear and see A LOT about it. Just let me give you some places to go to when you want to celebrate with us.

    IBM has created two new sites for the occasion. The first is over here. There also a tumblr site that you can find over here. It has weekly themes and this week's theme is mobile. There are also lots of interesting infographics. Further, you will see (on this site and others) a lot of attention for the IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship. It's "a first-of-its-kind, premiere enterprise computing competition. Students from over 20 countries around the world will compete in a series of challenges, which will culminate on April 7, 2014 at IBM in New York City". Check out it's own site over here.

    If you want to follow everything on Twitter these are the hashtags to use : #mainframe50 and if you're in for it also #MainframeMemories. Of course, at an anniversary, we have to look forward but we can learn from our past and there will be lots of reminiscing about the good old times as well. Here's an example I came across today : the Mainframe Memories by Neale Ferguson (@NealeFerguson).

    I can tell you one more thing : over the last years I regularly heard voices coming up to abandon the term 'mainframe'. "Call it a large enterprise server" or whatever, but I've always stuck to the mainframe terminology as such and so I'm still proud my blog is called the MAINFRAME Watch.

    So, let's get started on those next 50 years !

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

    The new IBM Redbooks Mobile App

    I was going to write a blog post about this new mobile App for Redbooks but the introducing video is so self explaining I won't bother you with my texts. So, here it goes



    And if you're really a dummy, here's the App explained for dummies allthough they prefer to call it 'Hands-on with the new IBM Redbooks mobile app'



    Where to get it ? Here for iOS and here for Android.

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    IBM Hardware Maintenance Services - System z On/Off Capacity Usage

    Yesterday IBM made the following announcement : 'IBM Hardware Maintenance Services - System z On/Off Capacity Usage (ZS14-0012)'. Up to now there was no extra hardware maintenance for the additional capacity when activating On/Off Capacity on Demand (On/Off CoD) on a System z. "On/Off CoD provides the capability to temporarily increase Central Processor, Integrated Facility for Linux, Internal Coupling Facility, System z Application Assist Processor, or System z Integrated Information Processor capacity on System z servers to help address peak workload requirements".

    "As a part of IBM maintenance services, maintenance charges will now apply for processing capacity activated through On/Off CoD, provided the activated capacity is not under warranty and the machine is under an IBM hardware maintenance service agreement".

    There had already been a similar EMEA announcement about a month ago, but then most Western European countries were not included (like e.g. Belgium). But now they are.

    General availability is May 30. 2014.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    IBM Wave for z/VM - Nice introductory video

    Well, yesterday a couple of links weren't working, but the Data Sheet and the Redbook (draft) on installation, implementation and exploitation of IBM Wave for z/VM are available by now. And I must say, the redbook looks pretty impressive covering every thinkable topic on IBM Wave. Here's a small summary of its contents
    • Part 1. Architecture and installation
      • Chapter 1. Introduction to IBM Wave for z/VM
      • Chapter 2. IBM Wave for z/VM architecture
      • Chapter 3. Planning and design
      • Chapter 4. Installation and configuration
    • Part 2. Using IBM Wave for z/VM
      • Chapter 5. How to manage and operate the user interface environment
      • Chapter 6. How to manage z/VM
      • Chapter 7. How to manage the Linux virtual machines
    There's also a great introductory video on IBM Wave on that same page. I don't think the authors will mind my embedding it here.



    So, lots of good materials to give you an introduction or to get you started on IBM Wave for z/VM.