Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm blogging for more than a year now and I would like to thank every one who drops by from time to time. I would especially like to thank the people who put up a link on their site and those who sent me some nice comments over the last year.

But most of all I would like to wish every one the best for 2008.
A Happy New Year and good health to you and your family.

The picture you see is from a former colleague of mine who retired a couple of years ago and who's now making these nice pictures. Thanks, Wilfried.

And to top it off for this year, I came across this hilarious picture of Jimi Hendrix wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking back on 2007 - The Funny Part

Every one seems to find the time to look back on 2007 and it's not different over here. But I'm going to save the more 'serious' posts for next year, including a little review of the IBM mainframe in 2007.

Keeping it light towards the end of the year, the Enterprise Systems Update Newsletter from directed me towards 'Overheard: The 10 most entertaining tech videos of 2007' Well the title says it all. I took the liberty of including the two I like the most, but feel free to watch the rest too.

Helpdesk support in the Middle Ages
This is actually another version with better positioned subtitles.

Geek love song
As they say "Give this one a minute. Literally. I promise you’ll warm up to it".

And I would like to add one I came across myself.
It's in German but I'm sure you'll get the message.

IBM : Buzzword Bingo

Have Fun !

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IBM's next Five in Five

At the beginning of 2007 IBM came up with 'Five innovations that could change your life over the next five years' (Healthcare Prognosis, Real-time speech translation, 3-D Internet, Micromanaging our environment and Mind reading phones). Last week IBM came with another round of five 'predictions' : it's "a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. The list is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s Labs around the world that could make these innovations possible". The five technology innovations discussed this time are :
  • It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it
  • The way you drive will be completely different
  • You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat
  • Your cell phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, and more
  • Doctors will get enhanced “super-senses” to better diagnose and treat you
If you don't feel like reading the entire press announcement, I took the liberty of uploading the little video that's added towards to end of the announcement to Youtube.

That's how I also bumped into another video with a news flash on the first 'Five in Five'

Not all that mainframe related, but there's not much news for the moment and I'm really curious what will become true of all this.

Monday, December 24, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, my son had to make a presentation for school on a French city of his choice. He chose Le Havre as we've been there before and it's not as obvious as Paris. I helped him a bit finding the right information and Wikipedia turned out to be his best source of information. I wasn't really all that suprised because I find myself more and more often consulting Wikipedia, also on mainframe topics. I used to be a little sceptic about it as anyone can contribute to Wikipedia and you're never sure whether it's trustworthy. Still, Wikipedia has proven to be a good starting point when you're looking for decent information. Some examples ?

There's an entry on CICS. And we can immediately indicate why the information is usually quite to the point. I use this CICS page as example : there are always three additional tabs : if you want to check whether the information is up to date, you can check the history page. If you do not agree with some of the statements or if you think some of them need clarification, you can turn to the discussion page. And if you are a real expert on the subject, you can always edit the article yourself. And I think this auto-correcting character of Wikipedia (in most cases) just works fine.

You can also find spin-offs of some subjects with a wiki entirely dedicated to one subject. Again I can take CICS as an example. as there's a separate CICS Wiki. This "wiki is dedicated to act as a living knowledge base for CICS and CICS related products".

And of course there's also a System z9 page. But there's more. Here you can see that Wikipedia is really kept up to date. There's already a topic on a Future Machine. A couple of months ago there was quite a lot of talk about a new mainframe processor, called z6, that was announced by IBM. Well, this article already has a link to the presentation of this 4+Ghz processor. No, this is not a christmas gift by IBM. As the article states "As of November, 2007, IBM had not yet shipped a machine using this new design". And, for the time being, this hasn't changed yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.1

This week IBM announced version 4 of COBOL for z/OS under the title : IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.1 helps improve application developer productivity.
It should help "you to integrate COBOL and Web-based business processes in Web services, XML, Java, and COBOL applications". In other words, COBOL is here to stay, you can keep on running what you've got, but, it's also ready for the future.

A couple of highlights :
  • XML enhancements : the XML GENERATE is extended and the XML PARSE support is enhanced
  • Performance enhancements : the performance of COBOL UNICODE support has been improved
  • DB2 coprocessor enhancements : there's support for new DB2 9 functionality and SQLCA and SQLDA control blocks are expanded in the compiler listing for all DB2 releases
There's one other significant change as opposed to previous versions. There's no more 'alternate function' and 'full function' version. This COBOL comes only in a 'compiler only' version, the equivalent of the alternate function version. If you had the full function version (with debugging capability) you'll need an alternative for the debugging functions. IBM offers 'Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions V8.1 for z/OS' which was announced late september. It's IPLA software including much more than the debugging capabilities of the previous COBOL versions and I'm not sure everyone will be happy with this move.

The new version of COBOL requires z/OS 1.7 and planned availability date is December 14, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Boss and Prince

No, not my boss, but THE one and only BOSS. Ok, ok, I'm a little off topic here, but I went to see The Boss last Wednesday night - on my birtday ! I can't imagine a better present to get from my wife. For those not getting it : Bruce Springsteen.

I've been a lucky guy this year : I've seen two of my favorite artists in action and I guess they're two of the best performing artists of the moment, if not, ever. Don't ask me to compare Prince and Bruce, because you can't. Prince is by far the better musician, playing nearly every instrument better than Bruce and the E-street band but then again Bruce is the rocker pur sang playing with an enthusiam that "rips the bones from your back". Check out the review over here : Just scroll down a bit, cause newer reviews are added.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Arcati Mainframe Yearbook Annual Survey

I've mentioned the Arcati Yearbook already several times in the Dolmen Newsletter and in this blog as a valuable resource for the mainframe community. One of the most interesting items is always the annual survey based on the input of mainframe customers. Those surveys give a clear view of evolutions taking place in the mainframe world. Some examples : main operating system, annual MIPS growth, mainframe processors installed (z9EC+BC represented 26% in Januari 2007), use of middleware, SOA . . .
Now, you can fill in this survey yourself at the Arcati site. The more mainframers who fill it in, the more accurate and therefore useful the survey report will be. You have time until the end of the year.
So, my advice this time is not 'just check it out', but 'just fill it out'.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Software withdrawal IBM System z Products

This week there was also an announcement for the withdrawal from marketing of some System z software : 'Software Withdrawal: Selected IBM System z Products - Some Replacements Available'. It includes the Withdrawal from Marketing for Tivoli and Websphere products, DB2, IMS and CICS Tools. Most of them will be withdrawn March 2008.
This also includes the WDFM of NALC pricing only for z/OS. From April 2008 onwards you will only be able to chose for zNALC pricing.
Another date that's changed (again) is the WDFM of RSCS. First it was September 2007, then it became September 2008 but now it's been fixed to May 26, 2008. RSCS has now become an optional feature of z/VM 5.3. You can find some more information on RSCS on the IBM RSCS page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

z/OS Java SDK Version 6

Two announcements yesterday for the Java Software Development Kit : IBM 31-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6 and IBM 64-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6. As the overview sections are quite similar I only quote the 64-bit version :

64-bit SDK for z/OS®, Java(TM) Technology Edition, V6 provides a software development kit (SDK) at the Java technology level, designed to be compliant with the Sun SDK 6 application programming interfaces (APIs). With 64-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6 you can:

  • Test and deploy Java applications in a 64-bit environment
  • Continue the "write once, run anywhere" Java paradigm
  • Use your System z Application Assist Processors (zAAPs) available on z9 BC, z9 EC, z990, and z890 servers to run eligible Java work
  • Leverage traditional System z benefits: scalability, reliability, availability, and serviceability

The program will be available from the IBM System z Java Web site and on tape from IBM Software Delivery and Fulfillment (SDF). It is a no-charge product.

You can find additional information on the IBM Java on z/OS page. The site is not fully updated yet, but if it's the same as for V5 , the non-SPM/E installable format is available only from the web. The SMP/E installable format is available only through ServerPac or CBPDO.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sampling Techdocs : October - November

It's been a while since I had another look at Techdocs, so here we go again for October and November. You know it's just a sample of articles I personally find interesting. As you also know, there's much more over there.
  • Presentation : z/OS Communications Server IPSec (IP Security)
    I made a round-up of the specialty engines in the Dolmen System z newsletter a couple of weeks ago and of course the zIIP assisted IPSEC functions were covered too. This is an "introduction to z/OS Communications Server TCP/IP IPSec support. IPSec services include IP filtering, key exchange, and support for manual and dynamic Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels".
  • Presentation : IMS Version 10 Database and DBRC Enhancements
    "IMS Version 10 adds many enhancements for users of IMS databases and DBRC. This presentation explains the new capabilities. These include the integration of FlashCopy into the image copy process, the exploitation of larger processors by Fast Path systems, the use of XQuery with IMS databases to find data within XML documents, (...) and other extensions to IMS".
  • Presentation : IMS Version 10 Migration Planning
    I guess it's not so unusual to find more than one IMS document in Techdocs for the moment. And this is a nice and quite detailed presentation on migrating Version 8 or 9 systems to IMS version 10 covering Prerequisites and Coexistence, Installation and Migration Tasks, Migration Considerations, IMS Library . . .
  • White Paper : Overview of IBM® TS1120 Tape Controller Support for TS3400 Tape Library
    Since the 3592 Tape Drives were introduced, no autoloader functions had been available. This is one good reason for using the relatively small TS3400 library with its 18 cartridges and its two TS1120 tape drives. The "white paper describes the use of the TS3400 Tape Library to provide functions similar to 3590 Autoloaders in the System z environment". It's very readable with lots of examples of the GUI interface too.
As I always say : just check them out !

Friday, November 23, 2007

Life in the Data Center #3

I don't know how I missed this one earlier, but here's another Youtube movie on 'Life in the Data Center". It seems to be posted six months ago, but it has only 151 views at this moment : a tenth of the two other movies. So I guess it was added just recently and the date is wrong.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Storage Administration z/OS Pocket Reference 1.8

I got to know this Pocket Reference of DTS software from one of Cheryl Watsons 'Hot Flashes'. Every system engineer dealing with any aspect of Storage Administration will find this reference useful. It's amazing how many useful information you can stack in a 30-page document. Some of the aspects covered : DASD Device information, Volume Mounting and Usage, Blocksizes and Capacities, Dataset Limits, DFSMSdss and DFSMShsm information, useful Console Commands, RACF information, VSAM/IDCAMS information, SMS subsystem information, SYS1 Parmlib members and many more.
I know most of this stuff can easily be found on the internet as well, but I still can imagine some situations where this pocket reference might come in handy ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

IMS and VirtualIMS

IMS V10 was announced at the beginning of last month and I would like to share some resources connected to this announcement.

First of all there's VirtualIMS, an initiative of Trevor Eddolls from Mainframe Update who is setting up an IMS community virtual user group : "IMS is used at 95% of the Fortune 1000 companies and has been around for 40 years (...). There doesn't seem to be very much by way of resources for IMS people and I'm hoping this new site will fill in the gaps. It's going to be a virtual user group. I'm planning to organize webinars and an e-newsletter. There's a discussion forum and a place for jobs and resumes. I've also got links to news, articles, events, and other IMS-related resources". You can find all the details of this promising initiative at his blog or on the VirtualIMS site itself.

Also the new CCR2 Newsletter is paying attention the the new version of IMS with a special issue dedicated to it : "This special issue of CCR2™ focuses on IMS™ and the world of Information Technology, which has changed so dramatically since the first IMS-ready message for the Apollo Space program appeared almost 40 years ago. Today, IMS is everywhere, behind the scenes whether you are flipping a light switch or a train switch, tracking a package or moving an assembly line, using your ATM card or conducting international trades. Read on for the latest on IMS technology, firsthand from the experts". Some topics :
As always there's also a great interview clearly picturing the value of this new version.

Next on the list is a new Redbook (still a draft for the moment) : IMS Version 10 Implementation Guide A Technical Overview. Topics covered are : Overview of IMS Version 10 enhancements, System enhancements, Database enhancements, Transaction Manager enhancements, Manageability enhancements, Dynamic Resource Definition, DBRC enhancements, Connectivity enhancements, Integration enhancements, Installation and migration considerations and Tools support for IMS Version 10.

Next to that there surely will be (or have been) some webcasts and teleconferences on the subject.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

BT : Upcoming events Belgium

As you noticed in a previous post I'm using the 'BT' in the title to refer to an exclusive 'Belgian Topic' content. I would like to point out some interesting upcoming events towards the end of this year.

21/11/2007 GSE Working Group
GSE z/OS Working Group Meeting at Dolmen CA Huizingen
  • z/OS System REXX and REXX SDSF - by Jan Tits (IBM)
  • IBM consolidates 3900 servers to Mainframes - by Jean-Paul Goemaere (IBM)
  • IBM Tape recent updates - by Walter Casteels (IBM)
  • GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager at KBC - by Luc Martens & Paul Nys (KBC)

04-05/12/2007 Proof of Technology
Security Management with Tivoli zSecure at the Brussels IBM Forum
This is a two day Proof of Technology about the former Consul Suite now called Tivoli zSecure : " Security administrators face serious challenges in protecting the company’s sensitive data. IT staff are challenged to provide detailed audit and controls documentation (...) That’s where the IBM Tivoli® zSecure suite comes in. You will experience how this comprehensive suite can help enhance the security of mainframe systems by automating administration and audit processes —and ease the burden of compliance measures along the way". Topics covered are zSecure Alert, zSecure Audit, zSecure Admin, zSecure Command Verifier, zSecure Visual and zSecure CICSToolkit.

/12/2007 GSE Working Group
GSE IMS/DB2 Working Group Meeting at KBC Leuven

  • Introduction
  • Replacement of SMU security @ KBC (Johan Vanermen, KBC group)
  • Business Integration of your IMS assets (Hélène Lyon, IBM )
  • Presentation given by BMC Software (more info later)
I already mentioned the following last two events in my previous post.
But now there's a link to register for the z/OS University.

26-30/11/2007 z/OS University
z/OS University at the Brussels IBM Forum
The z/OS University in Brussels (free of charge) is a great opportunity to introduce young people or people with no experience on the mainframe to the z/OS platform. The 5-day course is based on the 'Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics'.

03-07/12/2007 ITSO Workshops
ITSO workshops at the Brussels IBM Forum

These workshops are given by the top specialists for each subject. It's each time a one day workshop with the following subjects : z/OS 1.9, Parallel Sysplex, System z Hardware, System z Security and System z Networking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DB2 server for VSE an VM V7.5

I don't know why because I should know better by now but I still feel disappointed by this announcement ... again. DB2 has evolved enormously the last couple of years, that is DB2 for Windows, Linux, Unix and z/OS. Not so for DB2 for VSE and VM. I don't know whether I have many readers who are familiar with the z/OS ànd the VM/VSE versions of DB2. I know this is arguable but regarding functionality I tend to compare DB2 V7 for VM/VSE with DB2 V3 for z/OS. As far as I remember, DB2 V3 for z/OS was not a very favourable version as many customers went straight from V2.3 (via V3) to V4. Unfortunately V7 for VM/VSE is the latest version with (as we see now) no immediate improvement in sight. To show you what I mean here's the 'At a Glance' section from both the V7.4 announcement :

IBM DB2 Server for VSE and VM V7.4 delivers a solid base on which businesses can build on demand solutions.

  • Newly designed Data Propagator Q Capture function delivers powerful relational database that enables business intelligence solutions
  • Two-tier and three-tier solutions available
  • Scalable and highly available for demanding 24 x 7 environment
  • Member of DB2 family of products, which is available on all major platforms in the industry

Planned availability date: September 17, 2004

and the V7.5 announcement :

IBM DB2 Server for VSE and VM V7.5 delivers a solid base on which businesses can build on demand solutions. New in V7.5:

  • Newly designed client only feature enables you to buy just the Client Edition of the product.
  • Two-tier and three-tier solutions available.
  • Scalable and very available for demanding 24 x 7 environment.
  • Member of DB2 family of products, which is available on all major platforms in the industry.

Planned availability date: November 30, 2007

Not that many new features for a new release after more than 3 years !
As far as I can see the only significant new feature for this release is the new DB2 Runtime only Client editions for VM and VSE features. With these "you can purchase and use only the DB2 client, without having to pay for the database server. The Client Edition comes with some enhanced features such as bind file support and reduced Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) code path length, that will help them connect to data servers with greater ease and better performance". I think this message is loud and clear : move away from DB2 server for VM/VSE towards "data servers with greater ease and better performance" (mainly pointing towards DB2 for zLinux) and just run a client version on VM/VSE to preserve your previous investments on the platform.
Correct me if I'm wrong !

IBM to acquire Cognos

When I google on 'IBM to acquire Cognos', the first link I get dates from July 17, 2006. It's an article in IT-Week from James Murray : 'Will IBM acquire Cognos ?' saying "IBM has a gaping hole in its portfolio that is crying out to be filled by a business intelligence specialist". According to him not SAS, Business Objects or Hyperion but "an IBM-Cognos merger could make a lot of sense".
Well, things have indeed been moving since. Oracle took over Hyperion Solutions in March and SAP acquired Business Objects last month. Now IBM and Cognos made the following announcement : 'IBM to Acquire Cognos to Accelerate Information on Demand Business Initiative'. A quote from the announcement :
"Cognos provides the only complete BI and performance management platform, fully integrated on an open-standards-based service oriented architecture (SOA), and has a strong history of supporting heterogeneous application environments, consistent with IBM’s approach. With Cognos, customers can turn data into actionable insight for coordinated, information-driven decision-making to improve overall performance. Cognos will also extend IBM’s reach further into the CFO office with powerful financial planning and consolidation capabilities.
Together, IBM and Cognos will expand IBM’s ability to provide customers with the right information they need when they need it, to optimize operational performance, and to quickly respond to changing market demands. The combination of IBM’s information management technology and Cognos will also help organizations discover new ways to use trusted information spread across their enterprises to identify new business opportunities and significantly reduce the expense and time required to address industry-specific business challenges".
There's a FAQ on the acquisition on the IBM page. More information on the Cognos products can be found on the Cognos products overview page.

Friday, November 2, 2007

No posts for a couple of days

Well, I'm taking a break. Yesterday was All Saints' Day, today I'm making the bridge and I'm taking some extra days next week. So my next post won't be before Monday November 12, 2007.

You've already noticed I don't leave you stranded entirely when I'm off for a couple of days. This time no movies from Youtube, but this little game that was conceived by some CA people (I guess) : the Mainframe Guru. You've tested your IQ . . . and your EQ now it's time to test your MQ (Mainframe Quotient). Try to outwit your colleagues and feel free to drop in a comment with your scores. Mine was 1200 the first time I played it, but the high-score is over 3000 !?

I have to thank Marcel den Hartog (CA) for referring to this little game in his very nice presentation he gave at a combined CICS/DB2 GSE meeting. You can find his presentation '10 reasons to fall in Love with the Mainframe' over here, along with some other nice presentations and customer stories on the topic of rethinking the role of the mainframe. More holiday reading !
Just check them out !

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dolmen Newsletter N° 8

Our eigth Dolmen System z newsletter for Belgian customers is due out next week on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. You will find the Dutch version of this and previous newsletters over here. A French version is also available. Unfortunately for other readers, Belgium does not have an English speaking community ;-).
Topics covered : a status report on the Specialty Engines, IBM and Second Life, how to find EOS dates for my software, a summary of recent announcements, some hints and tips, EOS dates of operating systems and an agenda. As you can see, some of these have already been discussed here too, but the newsletter is more elaborate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

IBM Press Room, DS8000 and AMP

Coming back for the last time on the DS8000 announcements, I still want to put in a quick word on the Press Announcement : "IBM Introduces New and Enhanced Enterprise Storage Products Delivering Consolidation, Simplification and Improved Performance". Just because the press announcement mentions an element that's not covered in the announcements themselves : Adaptive Multi-stream Pre-fetching (AMP).
It's described as "a breakthrough caching technology that can enable up to double the throughput and dramatically reduced processing time for tasks such as data backup, batch processing, business intelligence and streaming media". AMP will e.g. make a DB2 table scan from disk perform like it would be from cache. Apparently it's not in the announcements because it was already quietly introduced to the DS8000 earlier this year with a new microcode upgrade. If you want to find out more, on this page from the IBM Almaden Research Center, you'll find an article on AMP.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Announcement : Totalstorage Productivity Center & SSPC

In my last post I also talked about the DS Storage Manager improvements that are mentioned in the new DS8000 announcement : "The online configuration and copy services configuration are available via a Web browser interface installed on the DS8000 management console or the System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC). The DS Storage Manager is provided with the DS8000 series at no additional charge". However, as you see, there's not only the improved DS Storage Manager, but in addition the System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC) is mentioned. It is even mandatory for all newly purchased DS8000s (unless you already have Totalstorage Productivity Center).

SSPC is new and it "is the next step in IBM storage strategy". It's a first step in centralizing all configuration and management activities of all your storage components. There are separate announcements (1,2) describing SSPC and its functionalities. As a matter of fact, it's a separate Windows 2003 x86 server which is pre-installed with IBM Totalstorage Productivity Center Basic Edition. This Basic Edition is in fact a kind of replacement of the Limited Edition. It "allows you to manage the storage network, hosts, and physical disks in context, in addition to basic device configuration". The Limited Edition is withdrawn as it was hardly ever used because it had too many limitations (e.g. maximum of 2TB). It's mentioned that the DS Storage Manager remains free of charge, the SSPC with the TPC Basic Edition is a priced feature.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Announcement : DS8000 New Functionalities

IBM has made quite a few announcements today on various matters. Some of them are about the DS8000, some others on the DS6000 and I also briefly mention the DS4000 - but for a good reason.

Let's first focus on the DS8000. IBM is announcing it’s second major enhancements to the DS8000. After the intial announcement, the Turbo Models were the first major enhancement. Since the new turbo models announcements are duplicated. New functionalities are announced for the DS8000 2107 and for the DS8000 242x series. The same for the new FlashCopy SE functionality (1,2).

The announcement is built up around two major themes : Performance on the one hand and Simplification and (cost) efficiency on the other hand. I’m going to give a brief description of these new functions.

  • Storage Pool Striping
    It is now possible to stripe a volume’s data across arrays in the storage pool. This should optimize the performance. This is done by choosing the ‘Rotate Extents’ option at volume allocation instead of the current default (Rotate LUNs).
  • z/OS Global Mirror Multiple Reader
    This function increases parallellism in processing I/Os and improves throughput for IBM z/OS Global Mirror.
Simplification and efficiency
  • IBM FlashCopy SE
    FlashCopy SE stands for Space Efficient FlashCopy and fullfills a statement of direction lots of people have been asking for and that’s been lingering for quite some time now. This should significantly reduce the disk capacity needed for copies and it only uses space to save source data being updated. You no longer need a full match between source and target volumes. Most FlashCopy functions are available with FlashCopy SE. Exceptions for the moment are e.g. Dataset FlashCopy and Full Volume Copy.
    FlashCopy SE is separately licensed next to FlashCopy. Licenses are independent of one another.
  • Dynamic Volume Expansion
    You no longer need to delete and re-create a volume to expand it.
  • ‘Expansion frame’ warranty intermix
    Expansion frames can from now on have a warranty type (1,2,3 or4 years) independent of the base frame warranty.
  • New SSL broadband option for Call Home
    This secure protocol is used for data offload and problem reporting only. It provides quicker debug times than a modem and requires minimal firewall setup at the customer site.
  • DS Storage Manager Enhancements
    Based on a large study IBM has improved the functionality and the user interface should be faster and easier to use. This means faster respons time, improved flows, better graphics . . .
  • Support for System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC)
    I'll come back to this in a follow-up post as there have been some separate announcements regarding Totalstorage Productivity Center and this new SSPC concept.
Another functionality people have been asking for is Raid 6. Raid 6 is not in the announcement, but it has been announced for the DS4700, the midrange disk storage solution of IBM. Maybe the DS4700 is the first one, and others will follow ?

Announcement : DS6000

There are some announcements on the DS6000 too.

First of all, similar to former announcements on the DS8000 there's the withdrawal of the 146GB 10k rpm and the 300GB 10k rpm disks. These will be replaced by the 146GB 15k rpm and the 300GB 15k rpm disks. This will be effective January 11, 2008. Hence the announcement of new 300GB 15k rpm disk drives for the DS6000.

Secondly there's the withdrawal of the 1-, 2- and 3-year extended warranty one could choose when purchasing a new DS6000. I'm a bit puzzled by this one as I've no idea why this has been withdrawn.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Labelling posts

Just a quick notice : you might have seen I've started labelling my posts since last week.
I've also begun to label all older posts.
This should make it easier to find posts related to one subject.
You find the list of labels on the right-hand site of the blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fellow bloggers : update

Since I gave some comments in April on the blogs I regularly visit, there's been some changes and I also added a couple of blogs. So here's an update.

For some time already I added Eightbar : this is a blog from "a group of techie/creative people working in and around IBM’s Hursley Park Lab in the UK", as they describe themselves. And no, to anticipate the question, the blog is not about CICS. It's a group of people strongly involved in the Virtual World concepts like e.g. Second Life. So, if you want to stay up to date on all these matters, this is the place to be. You can e.g. read some comments on the new IBM announcement on working together with the Linden Labs from Second Life. The ultimate goal goes way beyond Second Life as IBM (with others) aims at creating one single, linked virtual environment of the individual virtual worlds where you can move around freely with one universal avatar. Even (or also) here, standards will be needed.

I also added The Raised Floor when it was launched together with Project Big Green. It's a blog "tracking changes in corporate data centers as they become greener, more efficient and more indispensable to business". I know blogging frequency can go up and down but for the moment I must say I'm a bit disappointed about this one. It started off very well but with only two posts to last five months (and a copied post from the Mainframe Weblog), I hope this is not one disappearing off the radar.

I just added Susan Visser's Build your Skill on DB2 blog to my list. Subtitle to the blog : 'books, certifications, tutorials, and more'. And you may say : 'much more'. This blog does not really give you the breaking news on DB2, but it gives you all the documentation you need to understand this breaking news. It covers all kinds of books, redbooks, links, presentations and lots more on DB2. It also gives you all information on how to prepare for certifications. In short, this is a great source for anyone who's looking for documentation on DB2 and related subjects.

Finally, an update. Trevor Eddolls will no longer contribute to the Mainframe Weekly blog. Trevor has put up a new blog named Mainframe Update and he transfered his posts to this blog. I'm not sure what will happen with Mainframe Weekly. There's a new post, I think, suggesting the blog will continue and it's also referring to a new newsletter Xephon launced at "designed to bring you information from all over the web. News items, announcements, tips, tools and tidbits from the web that you may have missed".
To be continued !

Monday, October 15, 2007

Server Time Protocol NTP Client support

The announcement of Server Time Protocol (STP) last year had the following statement of direction :
Network Time Protocol (NTP) client support: IBM intends to enhance the STP design to provide Network Time Protocol (NTP) client capability, so that Coordinated Server Time may be initialized and maintained to time provided by an NTP server. The purpose of this function is to allow the same time across an enterprise comprised of heterogeneous platforms.
As of today, this NTP client support is available on System z9 servers that are at Driver 67L and have the STP Feature 1021 installed.
The STP design has been enhanced to include code for a Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) client on the Support Element (SE) of the IBM System z9 Enterprise Class (z9 EC) and IBM System z9 Business Class (z9 BC) servers. This support will allow customers to initialize the time of an STP-only Coordinated Timing Network to the time provided by a Network Time Protocol (NTP) server, and maintain time accuracy. This allows an enterprise comprised of heterogeneous platforms to track to the same time source.
You can find additional information about the NTP client on the IBM STP page. There's a Redpaper available describing this new functionality : 'Server Time Protocol NTP Client support'. The redbook 'Server Time Protocol Implementation Guide' will be updated soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Redbook : GDPS Family

I still find this blogging business a bit strange. Last month I was a bit worried because I didn't have much to post. But then again, I didn't want to post just for the sake of it. But see, this week, I made as many posts as last month. Apparently my blogging just reflects the real world. Sometimes just nothing happens and then all of a sudden everything comes together. It's like having nothing to do for ages and then you get three invitations all for the same date. Synchronicity ? Now . . . back to business.

The Redbooks Newsletter is a great source to stay up to date with the redbook publications for your specific interest areas. You can subscribe over here. Though it's not a new one, the redbook that caught my attention this time is 'GDPS Family : An Introduction to Concepts and Capabilities'. This is a 180p. introduction to GDPS in its various forms. I guess the Table of Contents gives you a good idea of what's being discussed. Overall,
  • Chapter 1. Introduction to Business Resilience and the role of GDPS
  • Chapter 2. Service Availability technologies
    Explanation of the underlying technology such as Parallel Sysplex, copy technologies, synchronous vs asynchronous, Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives . . .
  • Chapter 3. GDPS/PPRC
    Protecting data integrity, Active/Active and Active/Standby discussion, Freeze Policies, Open LUN support, Management with lots of examples
  • Chapter 4. GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager
  • Chapter 5. GDPS/XRC
  • Chapter 6. GDPS/Global Mirror
  • Chapter 7. Combining Local/Metro HA with out-of-region DR
  • Chapter 8. RCMF/PPRC
    This was unknown to me : it offers "a small subset of the function provided by GDPS/PPRC and GDPS/PPRC HM, providing just the ability to manage your remote copy configuration using a set of NetView panels. It is not a disaster recovery offering because it does not include the Freeze function and therefore cannot guarantee consistency across multiple LSSs". It may be a first step towards the implementation of "full GDPS/PPRC or GDPS/PPRC HM in the future".
  • Chapter 9. RCMF/XRC
  • Chapter 10. Sample continuous availability and disaster recovery scenarios
    Some case studies going covering single site solutions and various two data center solutions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sampling Techdocs : September

I had my last Sampling Techdocs at the beginning of July. Summer also slowed down the publishing pace on Techdocs but it now seems to catch up again. So here we go for another round of interesting documents (to me at least) that I found at Techdocs, covering the latest three months.
  • White Paper : A Power Benchmarking Study on the IBM System z9: Applying Energy Efficiency Metrics to Performance
    "This paper will demonstrate the role of the IBM System z9 as an excellent platform for power efficiency and performance, discuss tools used for measuring z9 power, highlight a Java power benchmarking study on this platform, and analyze client server consolidation as an energy management strategy. The paper will conclude with next steps in power benchmarking for the IBM System z9".

  • White Paper : IMS Disaster Recovery with GDPS
    This paper describes the role of GDPS at an IMS site. First there's a description of some concepts (Recovery Time / Point Objective, Synchronous and Asynchronous writes). Next GDPS is explained into more detail. Then there's a topic on dependent writes and consistency groups. You have to have consistent recovery points for restart and recovery of data. The next topic is on IMS Coupling Facility Structures. In IMS some CF structures are good candidates for duplexing, others are not. Furthermore there's info on testing, customer references and some interesting links to more information.

  • Technote : IBM Tape Encryption for TS1120 and IBM Ultrium 4 Tape Drives
    Encryption is not really my forte, so I'm glad to have come across this document. It gives an overview of tape encryption, the Encryption Key Manager (EKM) and a detailed description of the Encryption - Decryption process. I think I'm finally getting to understand this matter.

  • Technote : TPC Licenses Comparison SE - LE
    This document lists out the differences between TPC Limited Edition and Official TPC 3.3 licensed versions.

  • Tool : WebSphere for z/OS Version 6 - Configuration Planning Spreadsheet
    "Anyone who has tried to configure a WebSphere Application Server for z/OS Version 6 runtime environment knows that one thing just can't be avoided -- the planning of short names, long names, JCL proc names, IDs, UIDs, GIDs and ports. Unless you do some up-front planning of all those things, you'll quickly get lost in the configuration panels. What this spreadsheet does is take the work out of doing that. By capturing a few key variables, this spreadsheet does all the rest -- it calculates and allocates TCP ports, UID and GID values; it constructs names based on root character strings ... in short, it makes things a whole lot easier".

  • Summary : zSref_Channels: A Guide to ESCON and FICON Features for zSeries and System z9
    Nice reference charts of all ESCON and FICON feature codes on all zSeries and Systems z.

  • White Paper : TS7700 Copy Export V10
    This white paper describes a new function on the TS7700. "With Copy Export, logical volumes written to a TS7700 can be removed from the TS7700 and taken to an offsite location to be used for disaster recovery". Don't get confused : you still need a TS7700 at the recovery site to restore these tapes.
Surely there are many more articles like e.g. the ones on using the z9 CPACF Crypto Functions, a new version of the System Programmer Productivity Tool Bag, Moving Applications to WebSphere on z/OS and so on.

As I always say : just check them out !

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

IBM announces IMS (V)10

Same confusion as with DB2 9, the announcement letter mentions IMS V10 : 'IBM IMS V10 Database and Transaction Servers deliver unsurpassed application and data serving'. The IBM IMS site is talking about 'IMS 10'.
Nevertheless, here's the new version of IMS.

Here's a short description of what's new :

IMS Version 10 enhancements include:

IMS V10 Database Manager

  • Integrated, open access with enhanced IMS/XML database support, XQuery access to IMS data, and broadened Java™ and XML tooling to ease development
  • Manageability through autonomic computing:
    • simplified dynamic resource definition
    • eased operations and systems management
    • integrated operations across subsystems/platforms
    • enhanced security and serviceability
  • Scalability with more parallelism in IMS Database Recovery and Sharing Control (DBRC), and improved performance/capacity in Fast Path, IMS High Availability Large Database (HALDB), and database utilities

IMS V10 Transaction Manager

  • Integrated, open access with enhanced XML and Web services connectivity, and broadened Java and XML tooling to ease development
  • Manageability through autonomic computing:
    • simplified dynamic resource definition
    • eased operations and systems management
    • integrated operations across subsystems/platforms
    • enhanced security and serviceability
  • Scalability with widened bandwidth for Multiple Systems Coupling, and improved system availability, performance, and capacity in workload balancing
I'm not going into more detail as this would lead us way too far. As an introduction, here's a link to the Data Sheet and the Release Guide. There are also some teleconferences like 'The IMS Integration Suite', 'Moving to the IMS common service layer', 'IMS Version 10 systems enhancements', 'IMS V10 DRD and Online Change Enhancements', 'IMS V10 DB and DBRC Enhancements'. More info on this page.

Planned availability date : October 26, 2007.

Announcement : Encryption Facility for z/VSE

As I already mentioned in my previous post, there's another z/VSE announcement : 'IBM Encryption Facility for z/VSE, V1.1.0 helps secure data'.
The Encryption Facility for z/VSE V1.1 is packaged as an optional, priced feature of VSE Central Functions V8.1 (5686-CF8) and runs on z990, z890, z9 EC and z9 BC.
A description : "The Encryption Facility for z/VSE complements the tape encryption solution provided by IBM's System Storage™ TS1120 tape drives. The TS1120 tape drive, with encryption enabled, is designed to provide a data protection solution that has the ability to off-load the encryption processing from the server to the tape drive. It is designed to provide a cost-effective encryption solution for the large volumes of data involved in data archive and backup activities (...) The Encryption Facility for z/VSE is designed to be compatible with the Encryption Facility System z format provided as part of the Encryption Services feature in Encryption Facility for z/OS ".
That way encrypted data from z/OS or z/VSE can be distributed to numerous platforms that are running a Java based client called the 'Encryption Facility for z/OS Client' which can be used to decrypt those encrypted data.
Planned availability date : November 30, 2007.

Preview : z/VSE Version 4 Release 2

Today there's the preview of z/VSE 4.2 : 'z/VSE Version 4 Release 2 enables growth'.
What's the core message ?
z/VSE V4.2 is designed to support :
  • More than 255 VSE tasks to help clients grow their CICS workloads and to ease migration from CICS/VSE to CICS Transaction Server for VSE/ESA
    IBM has from VSE/ESA 2.4 onwards delivered CICS/TS together with CICS/VSE at no extra cost. Now, there's a statement of direction that " z/VSE V4.2 is planned to be the last release to offer CICS/VSE".
  • Up to 32 GB of processor storage
    z/VSE V4.2 operates in z/Architecture mode only.
  • Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT) running 'natively'
    The SCRT report will be able to run natively (also in z/VSE 4.1). Until now VSE clients had to send their collected data to IBM. Now, they will be able to do their own reporting. Though no availability date has been given for z/VSE 4.2, all details for downloading and using the tool will be available on the SCRT homepage as off October 11, 2007.
  • Encryption Facility for z/VSE as an optional priced feature
    This is subject to a separate announcement I'm talking about in another post : 'IBM Encryption Facility for z/VSE, V1.1.0 helps secure data'.
  • IBM System Storage TS3400 Tape Library (via the TS1120 Controller)
  • IBM System Storage TS7740 Virtualization Engine Release 1.3
    The support indicated on the last two lines will be available on z/VSE 3.1.2 and later.
z/VSE V4.2 is designed to allow Fast Service Upgrade (FSU) from z/VSE V4.1 or z/VSE V3.1 using equivalent disks.

No availability date has been given yet.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tivoli Decision Support for z/OS V1.8

Last week IBM announced Tivoli Decision Support V1.8 : 'IBM Tivoli Decision Support for z/OS V1.8 supports reporting on the Web and the Tivoli Enterprise Portal'. Here's a summary of what's new :
  • Integration with IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager
  • Dataset Activity Subcomponent
  • OMEGAMON for CICS Subcomponent
  • Message Broker V6 Component
  • Web Reporting utilizing Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT)
  • Integration with IBM Tivoli Enterprise Portal (TEP)
  • Support for zIIP and zAPP processors
  • Support for z/OS V1.8, IMS Versions 9 & 10, DB2 V9, MQ V6 and CICS TS V3.2
January 18, 2008 V1.7 will be withdrawn from marketing.
Watch out : the current product numbers will be replaced. The base product number 5698-A07 is replaced by 5698-B06. The Subscription and Support number 5698-S41 is replaced by 5698-R06. Don't worry : "Customers who currently have an active licenses of 5698-A07 are entitled to 5698-B06 at no additional charge. You must order 5698-B06 to receive Tivoli Decision Support for z/OS V1.8.".

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Price Action on Websphere Products

Stepping into the supermarket a price action is usually (always) a good thing : prices are going down. IBM learns us that 'price action' must have a neutral connotation as this price action actually means an increase in price. It's almost exactly the same range of products that were affected last year :
  • 5655-P27 IBM WebSphere Process Server for z/OS V6 (S&S)
  • 5655-L86 IBM WebSphere Business Server Foundation for z/OS V5 (S&S)
  • 5655-I59 IBM WebSphere Message Broker z/OS V6 (S&S)
  • 5655-K58 IBM WebSphere Event Broker z/OS V6 (S&S)
  • 5655-G98 IBM WebSphere Message Broker Rules & Formatter extension for z/OS V6(S&S)
  • 5655-R16 IBM WebSphere Enterprise Server for z/OS V6(S&S)
  • 5698-S37 IBM Tivoli Business Systems for z/OS (S&S)
  • 5655-K13 IBM WebSphere Portal Enable z/OS (S&S)

The new prices are effective January l, 2008.
For Belgium (and most European countries) there's a price increase of 3%.
You can check out the announcement letter for other countries.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

End Of Support Dates

Finding the right End Of Support (EOS) dates can be quite a time-consuming business. The questions we usually have about our software is : how long is it still supported, are there any successors available yet and how long can we still order them.

The one and only really correct source is of course the announcement letters. But there's another page where you can find this information : the IBM Software Support Lifecycle page. I mention it because it has recently been changed ... and for the better, I think. You can start with choosing a category but I prefer to just select the ‘Software A to Z’ link. Formerly you only got a list with software and their EOS dates. Now you can run through the list and select your own software on the check box in front of it. One random example : suppose you're still running CICS Transaction Server 2.2 then you can check that version but you might also want to select all succeeding versions (as in the illustration below).

That way you can run through all pages and check all your softwares.After that you can ask to 'View Details' and you get the following details :

For every release, you see three lines with dates ànd the associated Announcement Letter :

  • GA (General Acceptance) : it is delivered from this date onwards
  • EOM (End Of Marketing) : how long can you still order this release
  • EOS (End of Support)

So if you want to upgrade your CICS to Transaction Server V3.1, you'd better already have it, because since June 29th, 2007 you can no longer order it.

What could still be better ?
Actually it would've been nice if you'd be able to save your software list. That way you could easily come back every now and then to check out your personal list. And secondly, I'd like to make a regional choice so that I would be able to have the European Announcement Letters listed instead of only the American ones now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Problem Determination Tools

A new release of the IBM Problem Determination Tools has been announced. Problem Determination Tools comprises the following products : Application Performance Analyzer, Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions, Fault Analyzer and File Manager.

At a Glance :
Application Performance Analyzer V8.1, Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions V8.1, Fault Analyzer V8.1 and File Manager V8.1 deliver cost-effective and highly functional application performance analysis, source code debugging, application ABEND analysis, and data management. They help improve application delivery throughout the life cycle for traditional, Web-based and service-oriented applications. The tools are enhanced significantly to include:
  • Additional integration with IBM Rational Developer for System z
  • Increased support for new application environments such as WebSphere Application Server and Java
  • Exploitation and currency support for IBM CICS Transaction Server V3.2, IBM DB2 V9, and IBM IMS V10
  • Further support for SOA and Web service applications
  • Control and compliance support including data scrambling
  • Functional enhancements including new commands and new options
  • Wide range of performance and usability enhancements

General availability : September 28, 2007.

Coincidence or not : there's a Proof of Technology event at Brussels Forum about Problem Determination Tools on October 3-4, 2007. You might want to check out whether there aren't any PoT events like this one in your own neighbourhood.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Red Alert : IMS - potential data corruption

It's been a couple of months, but here's a new red alert concerning users of IMS Version 9.1 using a PHIDAM database. There're more details on the page describing this alert. Don't let the title confuse you because somehow they took over the title from the previous one, but you're on the right page. Here's a quote of the description and the recommended action.

A defect was introduced by PTF UK25149. The PTF UK25149 was superseded by PTFs UK26128, UK26164, UK27311 and UK27490. If any of these PTFs are applied, then a retrieval of invalid data can occur. Application programs may propagate the incorrect data into another database management system causing data corruption. The incorrect data returned to the application program can only be detected if the application program logic validates the data and finds the retrieved data falls outside of the valid ranges.
The exposure exists only when all of the following conditions are met:
  • Using IMS Version 9.1
  • Using a PCB with read-only (PROCOPT=GOx) and issuing GN calls against records in a PHIDAM database
  • Using a DBD with twin backward (TB) pointers on the root segment
  • PTFs UK25149 or UK26128 or UK26164 or UK27311 or UK27490 are applied
Remove PTF UK25149 or UK26128 or UK26164 or UK27311 or UK27490; or apply the solution in PK49955/UK28788.
All the recent red alerts can be found over here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BT : Upcoming events in Belgium

You sometimes see an OT 'sign' indicating that the post is (a little) Off Topic. Well I guess this one's nearly an exclusive Belgian Topic (BT). I would like to draw your attention to some events and (tele)conferences, mainly in Brussels, I just added to the agenda.

26-28/09/2007 Proof of Technology
SOA Featuring WebSphere Advanced ESB - Special Focus: 3rd day on zOS at IBM Forum Brussels

Using WebSphere Message Broker and WebSphere MQ as its core technologies, the Advanced ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) provides a flexible connectivity infrastructure for integrating applications and services (...) WebSphere Message Broker can run on both Mainframe and Distributed platforms. The first 2 days of this free Proof of Technology will cover general WebSphere Message Broker aspects which apply to both platforms. The 3rd day will focus on the z/OS platform and its connectivity.

01-02/10/2007 Proof of Technology
WebSphere Developer for System z at IBM Forum Brussels

This WDz Proof of Technology session provides with basic skills and hands-on exposure to the major features of the WebSphere Developer for System z version 7.0.
Attendees will complete structured walkthrough labs that demonstrate the major features and new functionality of WDz. The labs also provide an introductory hands-on experience to using WDz on building a zSeries-based Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

03-04/10/2007 Proof of Technology
Problem Determination Tools for System z at IBM Forum Brussels

This z/OS PD Tools Proof of Technology session provides with basic skills and hands-on exposure to the major features of the Problem Determination Tools for System z version 7.0. Attendees will complete structured walkthrough labs that demonstrate the major features and new functionalities of z/OS PD Tools.
Some of the tools covered are Debug Tool for z/OS, WebSphere Developer Debugger for System z, Fault Analyzer for z/OS, File Manager for z/OS, Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS, File Export for z/OS, Workload Simulator for z/OS and Application Time Facility for z/OS .

04/10/2007 Teleconference
z/OS Version 1 Release 9 for your demanding data serving at 5.00PM (Brussels time)

This teleconference by Gita Grube Berg covers the latest features of z/OS 1.9 and points out which value they can deliver to your site. Some Topics : IPSec network encryption, iRMM, XML parsing for DB2® 9 pureXML workloads and many more.

26-30/11/2007 z/OS University
z/OS University in Brussels (free of charge - more info when available) : I haven't got a link yet to the event but it's a great opportunity to introduce young people or people with no experience on the mainframe to the z/OS platform. The 5-day course is based on the 'Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics'.

03-07/12/2007 ITSO Workshops
ITSO workshops at Brussels Forum

These workshops are given by the top specialists for each subject. It's each time a one day workshop with the following subjects : z/OS 1.9, Parallel Sysplex, System z Hardware, System z Security and System z Networking.

Thanks to Jean-Paul Goemaere from IBM Belgium for bringing some of these events to my attention.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Talking about migrations

After my last post I thought I might as well point out some other resources that come in helpfull when migrating to a new z/OS version. So I'm not limiting this to just z/OS 1.9 as some of us are still migrating to z/OS 1.7. They're in no particular order :

-> The Migration checker from z/OS Download page

See post below

-> z/OS migration manuals
Here you find the most important general manuals for the last four releases (1.9, 1.8, 1.7 and 1.6). You get a manual per z/OS that you can migrate from. E.g. for z/OS 1.8 that's from 1.7, 1.6 and 1.5. For z/OS 1.9 that's from 1.8 and 1.7. Remember : coexistence has come down from N-3 to N-2.

-> Migration and installation Resources per release
Here you find separate pages for the last three releases. There are some additonal manuals like 'Planning for Installation', 'Program Directory' and 'ServerPac Using the Installation Dialog'.

z/OS V1R9.0 migration and installation
z/OS V1R8.0 migration and installation
z/OS V1R7.0 migration and installation

Which is also nice : there's on each of these pages (near the top) a link to an installation planning wizard. Here's a link to the one for z/OS 1.9. What's it good for : it's an interactive version of the 'Planning for Installation Guide'. "Installing z/OS using ServerPac or CBPDO? The z/OS V1R9.0 Installation Planning Wizard can guide you through all the z/OS installation planning tasks".

-> z/OS Integration Test Web site
I like this System z Platform Test site. I'll let them describe themselves what they are actually doing :

We are a team of z/OS testers and system programmers who run a Parallel Sysplex on which we perform the final verification of a z/OS release before it becomes generally available to customers. As we do our testing, we gather our experiences, hints, tips, and recommendations and we publish them as the System z Platform Test Report for z/OS, formerly known as the z/OS Parallel Sysplex Test Report. Our test reports can be found in Our Test Report Library.

No publications on z/OS 1.9 yet. The last one e.g. is 'System z Platform Test Report for z/OS and Linux Virtual Servers'. To give you an idea : it decribes their sysplex environment, their networking environment, their security environment, using the zIIP, Using IBM Websphere Application Server for z/OS, Migrating to DB2 9 all in a very practical manner. The appendices give you e.g. some of the Parmlib members, some RMF reports . . . Here's the table of contents.

-> Redbooks
These redbooks give a description of all the new functions in a release, why they were improved and what the implications are. There are many examples on how to implement them. One example : for z/OS 1.8 WLM enhancements are described and one of them is 'Improved management for zAAP Workloads'. One of the zAAP related subjects is 'Improved IFAHONORPRIORTY=YES processing' : how was it before z/OS 1.8, what's changed and how do I handle the new parameters ?

So, we're eagerly waiting for the 'z/OS Version 1 Release 9 implementation' redbook !

z/OS Version 1 Release 7 Implementation
z/OS Version 1 Release 8 Implementation

Of course there are a lot more resources than just these.
If I've missed some crucial ones, just drop a comment !

z/OS V1R9 Migration Checker

I mentioned the z/OS V1R8 Migration Checker last february. Now Marna Walle announces the new version of it on the IBM-Main Discussion List. You can find details about the migration checker, where to download it and reference to an article about it in the Hot Topics Newsletter in my previous post. The checker has been enlarged to cover new z/OS 1.9 migration actions but it still covers all z/OS 1.8 migration actions from the previous release, so no need to keep using the old version.

A short description from the z/OS Download Page :
"The IBM Migration Checker for z/OS can :
  • Alert you to migration actions that you should plan for in the future
  • Detect migration actions that you can do now to ease your migration to z/OS V1R9
  • Verify that you've done the migration actions correctly when you're running z/OS V1R9"

Still valid : "incidentally, several programs can even help with migrations to z/OS V1.7!"

Friday, September 7, 2007

CCR2 Newsletter - september issue

You might've noticed I've not been posting as regularly as before. I think it really has to do with the holiday period : less announcements, less events, less interesting publications (on Techdocs e.g.) ... and I'm not really eager on posting when there's nothing much to tell. Cucumber season ?

It's been 5 months since I mentioned IBM's CCR2 Newsletter. All details on this newsletter, its content and how to subscribe are in my previous post.
I guess that CCR2 is the first one to pick up the pace again, because there are some really nice articles in it. My selection ?
  • "Did you say mainframe?!" podcasts
    In fact these are mainly about mainframe and SOA. There's e.g. "CICS Transaction Server V3.2 –- Continuing to put the S in SOA" talking about "CICS application connectivity, CICS application reuse and CICS application service management".

Friday, August 31, 2007

DS8000 : 10.000 RPM disks WDFM

Just a short one : IBM announces that it withdraws its 146GB 10.000 RPM and its 300GB 10.000 RPM from marketing. After Januari 11th, 2008 they are replaced by the 15.000 RPM disks.

And by the way, Prince was just great. We enjoyed every minute of it. Here's a little spy report on 3121.

Friday, August 24, 2007

IBM Systems Magazine

I mentioned Destiation z some time ago and it's via Destination z that I came across this 'IBM Systems Magazine'. Destination z refers to the Mainframe Edition, but the site is larger than just mainframe. There's quite some stuff to read online, but there's also the newsletter you can subscribe to. I must admit I didn't know it at all. Main article in the latest issue is 'DB2 Table Space—Is It Time to Redesign?' on the new index and tablespace options in DB2 9. Another article : 'Ahead of the pack' describes how "z/VSE V4.1 provides a cost-effective mainframe solution to clients of all sizes".
The archive goes back to 2002 and there is a nice 'tips' section with e.g. 'Systems Programmers Tips and Tricks for ISPF', 'Exploring TSO and ISPF' and 'Digging Into the Bag of ISPF Tricks'. And hey, where have we seen this before, there's also a Buyer's Guide.

I won't be posting next week as I'm on holiday for another week.
Tuesday, I'm off to London with my son to see Prince and I'm really looking forward to it !!!

Friday, August 17, 2007


When announcing z9 EC GA3 and z9 BC GA2 there was a statement of direction saying : "IBM plans to enhance the System Storage TS3400 Tape Library by adding autoloader support for the library with System z (z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE and TPF). Additionally, IBM plans to support system-managed encryption in a System z environment with the TS3400".
The TS3400 tape library was first announced in February of this year. On July 10th, 2007 followed the announcement 'IBM System Storage TS1120 Tape Controller supports IBM System Storage TS3400 Tape Library attachment for System z'.

What's the TS3400 ?
"The TS3400 Tape Library is an external 5U stand-alone or rack-mountable unit that incorporates up to two IBM System Storage TS1120 Tape Drives Model E05 (3592), which are ordered separately. It comes with 4-Gbps dual-ported switched fabric Fibre Channel attachment. The TS1120 Tape Drive has a native data transfer rate of up to 100 MB/sec per drive. The TS3400 Tape Library has two removable cartridge magazines, providing 18 data cartridge slots, including a 0 or 3-slot I/O station".

What does this recent announcement mean ?
Up to now the TS3400 could be attached to Open Systems (also zLinux). Now the "TS1120 Tape Drives installed in a TS3400 Tape Library can be attached to System z FICON or ESCON channels by using the TS1120 Tape Controller. The TS3400 Tape Library provides a small library alternative for the System z platform. The TS3400 supports one or two TS1120 Tape Drives, and up to 18 3592 tape cartridges. An enhanced router is required for the TS1120 Tape Controller when it is connected with a TS3400 Tape Library".

Some benefits ?
  • §Provides compact footprint for space constrained environments
  • Allows extension of TS1120 technology from the data center to branch or remote locations
  • Allows flexibility in deployment with removable magazines, standard barcode reader and remote management capability
  • Helps to support data security and data retention (on-board encryption)
You can find more info in the Sales Manual, the Data Sheet and on the IBM TS3400 page.