Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The mainframe making its comeback ?

Urban Dance Squad was definitely not singing about the mainframe in their song called 'Comeback' :
"What a drag to see an old bag
for a comeback"
But still it could've been a prophetic message in 1991. It sure seemed to come true in the years to come, but I have the impression that the tide has turned the last months (if not the last couple of years). Take a look e.g. at a former post here about the revenue of IBM in 3Q2006 and the large contribution the mainframe had.
Moreover (and perhaps even more important) there seems to be a turning point in the perception of the mainframe. It does not only gain the credit it deserves in the business world but also the media seem to pay more attention to it. As an example, here's two articles I stumbled across lately. The first is an interview
"In a sea of middle-aged men roaming around the Share mainframe conference this summer, there walked an anomaly: Kristine Harper. (...) Harper defies the stereotype around mainframers, being young
and a woman."
You can read the entire interview here . The second is a recent article on the CNN site about the comeback of the mainframe that you can find here .

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trial Code Download: IBM CICS Tools

Anyone interested in trying some CICS Tools now has a 60-day opportunity.
It concerns the following tools :

    CICS Batch Application Control 1.1
    CICS Business Event Publisher for MQ Series 1.2
    CICS Configuration Manager 1.2
    CICS Interdependency Analyzer 2.1
    CICS Performance Analyzer 1.4
    CICS VSAM Copy 1.1
    CICS VSAM Recovery 4.1
You can download them from the IBM Website. There is also a support formula when you have any problems with these products.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IBM Announcements : PL/I 3.6

New Announcements by IBM are usually made on Tuesday. So you may be expecting to see some announcements pop up on wednesday when thy prove to be interesting for the mainframe world. Yesterday 24/10/2006 a new release of PL/I was announced PL/I V3R6. It will be available on 27/10/2006.
New in V3.6 are :
  • DB2 V9 support
  • Performance improvements
  • Usability enhancements
  • Quality improvements
  • Serviceability improvements

One prerequisite to pay attention to : z/OS V1.6 (or later) is required.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Heist - Linux consolidation

We used this video in a presentation last week. Well, here it is . . . with sound.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

IBM Earnings up again in 3Q2006

IBM announced its earnings for 3Q2006 and they made a really good quarter - especially in the mainframe branch. You'll find more detail on this page. You can read the press release or view the presentation on the subject. One quote : “Systems and Technology Group (S&TG) revenues totaled $5.5 billion for the quarter, up 10 percent. S&TG revenues from System z server products increased 25 percent compared with the year-ago period. Total delivery of System z computing power, which is measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), increased 16 percent.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is the zIIP cost effective ?

At Techdocs you can find the first White Paper with measurements for the zIIP. The paper describes some measurements done in IBM’s Laboratories utilizing z9 zIIP hardware and software. Four types of DB2 V8 workloads were measured:
- SAP OLTP exploiting Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA – using DB2 Connect)
- Business Intelligence (BI) batch direct attached
- SAP BW query exploiting DRDA
- DB2 Utility
The results seem to be quite promising !

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Server Time Protocol Announcement

The concept of the Server Time Protocol (STP) was first introduced when the System z9 was announced July 2005. Now the successor of the Sysplex Timer is officially announced. The announcement can be found at the IBM Offering Information pages. Though it won't be available until January 31 2007.
There's already a redbook available too : Server Time Protocol Planning Guide (SG24-7280-00).

The same announcement also announces the NRF (Non-Raised Floor) feature for z9 BC. This should be available from November 17 2006 onwards.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

International zSeries Oracle SIG

I stumbled across this site when looking for information about Oracle on mainframe. What's definitely interesting about this site is the large amount of presentations from their conferences. The presentations of this
Special Interest Group can be found here.

On a different note I see that I'm tackling very different subjects next to each other. But hey, that's probably just the very nature of blogging itself. So I'll (and you will) have to live with that.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Dolmen Newsletter N° 5 bis + correction

Dolmen System z Newsletter has been sent to the subscribers on Tuesday. It can be found here.
We found however that we made a little mistake in the announcement section. We mentioned that the Sysplex Timers would be withdrawn from marketing by the end of the year. This, however, is a worldwide statement not applying to European countries submitted to the RoHS rules. The timing was correctly indicated in Newsletter N° 4 with this schema :

IBM's Five year march to Mainframe Simplification

z/OS 1.8 has of course lots of new features. When looking at features disappearing from this release there were some features lifted from 'msys for setup' and 'msys for operations' was even withdrawn. Enhancements for 'msys for setup' were planned and a completely new interface and infrastructure were promised for 'msys for operations' . . . for some future release.
Now IBM is shedding some light on this with their 04/10/2006 announcement on this subject. IBM will invest $100 million in the coming years "to enable technology administrators and computer programmers to more easily program, manage and administer a mainframe system -- as well as to increasingly automate the development and deployment of applications for the mainframe environment". Main areas include :
"1) Automated configuration checking -- to make it easier for information technology administrators and computer programmers to predict and avoid technical problems.
2) Modernizing the mainframe user interface -- including network configuration, systems management, and data center hardware configurationdesigned with both existing IT staff and the new generation of IT workers in mind.
3) Improving software asset management technologies -- to make it easier for users to control software costs and, as well, simplify and automate the acquisition of software services.
4) Modernizing the mainframe's development environment with visual tools that enable novices to quickly learn how to program for the mainframe."
For more detail : check out the announcement.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Dolmen Newsletter N° 5

Dolmen, a Belgian business partner of IBM, brings out a newsletter every 4 months on System z. You can find previous versions here : Dolmen System z Newsletter. There are French versions available too. Unfortunately no English version, but I gather most of it will make its way into this blog. I happen to be very closely involved with this newsletter. So I'm very proud to inform you that N° 5 is on its way any day now. It covers topics like service delivery, upgrade information on z/OS 1.7, 1.8 and several recurring topics like EOS dates of operating systems and software. Hints, tips and interesting URLs. Just check it out !