Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OSA-Express2 Withdrawn from Marketing

Am I the only one always having trouble finding back one or other announcement ? This is really, I mean really, annoying me. First of all there must be some kind of system for referring to announcements, but I haven't found it so far. I just see that half of the links I put up don't work any more after a couple of months. So some time ago I started adding the announcement number so I could at least look up the announcement again on the announcement page. But now I dare you : just try to find the announcement of the z10 BC. I give you some clues : it was published on October 21, 2008, the announcement number is ZG08-0806 (I'm talking EMEA) and the title was '‘IBM System z10 Business Class - The smart choice for your business. z can do IT better'. I didn't find it, so if you do, lucky you, you're way smarter than I am. I did find it back afterwards because there was a link in the announcement I wanted to mention here. So if you're interested, the z10 BC announcement is here (well, for the moment, that is). This link is constructed somewhat different, so from now on I'm going to give these links a try and see if they last longer.

By the way, what I wanted to talk about was the Withdrawal from Marketing of OSA-Express2 cards on the z10 BC and z10 EC. This was announced today : 'Hardware Withdrawal: Select IBM System z features (ZG09-0420)'. As of June 30. 2009 you will no longer be able to order the OSA-Express2 Gbe LX (FC3364) and the OSA-Express2 Gbe SX (FC3365). They will be replaced by the OSA-Express3 Gbe LX (FC3362) and the OSA-Express3 Gbe SX (FC3363).

Monday, May 25, 2009

CA's Reference Guide for DB2 9 for z/OS

It's sheer coincidence that I've had more posts on CA in the last month than I had in the last year. Or perhaps I'm also caught by their May Mainframe Madness ? Here's just a short notice of something I once in a while come across but have never mentioned so far : the Reference Guide for DB2 9 for z/OS. What is it ?
CA’s Reference Guide for DB2 9 for z/OS is a rich technical resource for database management professionals.
CA’s Reference Guide for DB2 is an easy-to-use book that provides instant access to DB2 information, such as system commands, utility syntax, catalog tables, and much more.
The link to obtain it :

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update 'Mainframe People tend to be more fun'

In my post on 'Mainframe people tend to be more fun' I mentioned the CA World Infinity Tour. Well, 'world' didn't seem very appropriate with only one show in Europe. Well, Marcel den Hartog (CA) just mailed me there was an error on the site. So, here's an update with a lot more events for Europe :








Mannheim m:con Congress Center




Hotel Hesperia




Dipoli, Espoo




Hilton Hotel Stockholm




Paris - La Défense CNIT Hall D




Ingeniørforeningens Mødecenter A/S, Copenhagen




Dolce La Hulpe, Brussels




Thon Hotel Vika Atrium




Grand Hotel Wien




Glazen Ruimte, Maarssen




Courtyard by Marriot Zurich




Terrazza Martini




Transport Museum, London

26-27 May 2009



Eden Hotel Wolff

Monday, May 18, 2009

ESCON will be phased out : FICON Converter

One of my very first posts, back in September 2006, was called FICON Converter and started out like this :
"We all know the good old ESCON converter, but there's already a FICON converter too. This converter is designed to 'protect' your ESCON investment. It is attached to the host via 1 or 2 Ficon channels. It converts the protocol for connectivity for multiple ESCON devices with a maximum of 12 outbound ports. It also gives you the opportunity to eliminate costly ESCON directors".
True, and this is becoming quite relevant now as IBM has made the statement of direction that in due time ESCON will be phased out. Time to move on, I guess. And if you think of converters, you think of Optica. So it's no surprise that their most recent newsletter is telling you more about the PRIZM FICON Converter. Apparently it has more flavours than it used to. We now have a choice between 1:4 (read 1 FICON Channel:4 outbound ESCON ports), 2:8 and 2:12. More details can be found in the data sheet and the tested device list. You also find a 'Qualification Testing of Optica PRIZM product' document on the IBM connectivity website.

A recap for those wo really want some pictures of it :
(Click on the pictures for a larger view in a new window)

Current situation

Replacement with FICON Director

Replacement without FICON Director

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Short Takes

As promised, here are some short takes on some publications, teleconferences ...
  • Teleconference : Tivoli System z storage – Technical update on Tivoli storage family
    This teleconference is actually tonight at 17.00h Brussels Time (15.00h GMT). The contents : "This telecon is an overview of IBM’s strategy for managing z/OS® storage environments. We’ll discuss details about each layer of the z/OS storage management strategy, including process management, the IBM Service Management foundation and operational management. We’ll show how the strategic z/OS storage management product, OMEGAMON® XE for Storage, fits into the strategy and how the rest of the Tivoli® z/OS storage management portfolio works together to address common z/OS storage tasks and resolve problems. We’ll also give you a brief review of the new Tivoli Service Management Center for System z®."
    If you can't attend today, it will also be available for replay.
  • z/Journal April/May Issue
    I know, it's been out for a couple of weeks now, but I only got to have a look at it now. Some topics are Java enhancements to CICS TS 3.2, Storage Resource Management and the reduction of energy consumption (green, you know), why the Linux operating system with the IBM System z makes an ideal virtualization platform, z/VSE 4.2 new features, how DB2 9 for z/OS can improve a Data Warehouse's Performance (including reduction in the amount of CPU DB2 9 uses versus DB2 v8) and many more.
  • IBM Systems Magazine May/June 2009
    I actually owe these people an apology for what I wrote earlier about the online version of the magazine. I still don't like these online versions, but I didn't notice there is also a .pdf version of the magazine, which I like a lot better. To make it up, here's the .pdf version of the previous issue. Main topics : "In this issue’s cover story you can read how IBM continues to protect your virtual resources with z/VM offerings for mainframes. (...) Read how you can implement a Dynamic Infrastructure on your System z server. In this issue’s case study, you’ll see how the City and County of Honolulu used both Systems z and System p servers to create a dynamic IT environment".

  • Tivoli Software demos
    I came across this page via a link to this video on IBM's Green data center management solutions. But there are lots of other videos (demos) on e.g. TPC, TPC for Replication, System Automation, Workload Automation, Provisioning Manager, Identity Manager etc.
  • PC Tip van de Week
    OK, second and last time I'm making some shameless publicity for another blog of mine. Unfortunately, or luckily some might say, it's in Dutch and I have one post a week with all kinds of basic hints and tips on PC usage. If not for the tip, you might want to check out my musical choices I add each week. If this 'sounds' familiar it's actually an idea I took over from Willie Favero's blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Short Takes or Twitter

You know my short takes by now : some short messages on publications, events, teleconferences . . . I've been wondering for some time if Twitter wouldn't be the right place for this kind of stuff. I see people (whose blogs I read) being very enthusiastic about it (e.g. Willie Favero, Martin Packer). I've read about it, I visited it quite some times, I signed up for my own account already a year ago now (My account : mwambeke) but don't expect to find much over there right now.

Twitter should be one of the Web 2.0 tools having a great professional value, but it just escapes me. Still, if you want some reasons, here are your '11 reasons to use Twitter for business'. I just read this article today about 'The four stages of the average Twitter user' and I must admit I'm definitely still in the first phase (Confusion and Indignation). I'll give you one example (and no personal offence to M. Packer himself) but I attended the System z Conference last week in Brussels. And so did Martin Packer. So I read on his blog he would be reporting on Twitter about the Conference. Well, I'm still looking for the business value of these 'tweets' (Is this the right term ?). I'm not really interested to read he's in Marne Walle's session or in Bob Rogers' session chatting with Jeff Berger. I'm glad to read he didn't have too much delays on his way home, but if I really think about it, I got more business value from attending his presentations and reading his blog posts. And I'm convinced that the really interesting scraps and bits on Twitter will get published elsewhere too.

For the moment, I'm waiting for the second stage of Enlightenment "where (people) find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends".

I'll keep you informed on my Twitter adventures - if they aren't going the same way as my SecondLife adventures. Although many people are also strongly convinced of the business value of SecondLife. But for the moment my next Short Takes will be on my blog.

FACT : Mainframe people tend to be more fun

I caught your attention, didn't I. It's just a quote I'm borrowing from a CA video focusing on young people and the mainframe. It's all part of the CA May Mainframe Madness I mentioned before. Well it's happening right now with lots of webcasts and the Mainframe Infinity Tour in North America and Europe (well, just London). All of this is tightly connected to CA's new Mainframe 2.0 strategy. You can find out more about it on the same page from a video by the General Manager of CA's Mainframe Business Unit Chris O'Malley. As he says these new Mainframe 2.0 deliverables stretch "across hundreds of CA products. They will streamline how you will install, configure and maintain these products".

Oh, before I forget, here's the video I mention in my title :

Friday, May 1, 2009

Summary of announcements April 28, 2009

I'm off to the System z Technical Conference in Brussels next week, but I still want to give you an update on the announcements that were made last Tuesday. Most of them are related to the new announcement on Dynamic Infrastructure. You can still find the replay over here. But back to the announcements. Here are the ones that caught my eye for now :

IBM z/VSE Version 4 Release 2 - Additional enhancements available (ZP09-0104)
There are some additional enhancements to z/VSE 4.2 that was announced in August last year (ZP08-350). z/VSE now offers "Encryption Facility for z/VSE V1.2 as an optional, priced feature of VSE Central Functions V8" and some new optional products like IBM Rational COBOL Runtime for z/VSE V7.5 and IBM WebSphere MQ for z/VSE V3.0.

Getting Started Sub-capacity Pricing enhanced for select IBM WebSphere z/OS IPLA programs, making it easier than ever to start new projects on z/OS (ZP09-0193)
This is an improvement to the pricing mechanism that was already announced last year although I had not seen much of it since. Where you only had some profit when you did not pass the 10% utilization of the LPARs MSUs, this is raised to 50%. I'll come back later with more details for this one.

Tivoli Storage Productivity Center V4.1 comes with two announcements. As you can see TPC (Totalstorage Productivity Center) is succeeded by TSPC (Tivoli Storage Productivity Center). The first one is for TSPC (ZP09-0077) itself and the other is for TSPC for Replication (ZP09-0079) which is now again incorporated in the TSPC suite.

CICS Transaction Server for z/OS 4.1 (ZP09-0161) is now officially announced. The Beta Program is still open and it can be used until CICS TS comes available on June 26, 2009.

Last but not least, there are some enhancements on the z10 EC and the z10 BC : 'IBM System z enhancements, continuing to manage risk (ZG09-0244)'. In a nutshell :
  • CBU enhancements : CBU tests can now be ordered in single quantities on the z10 instead of in sets of five
  • You can now have up to 248GB of memory on the z10 BC instead of 128GB
  • STP : there are "improvements by saving STP configurations across Power On Resets (PORs) and power outages".
  • "System z now supports InfiniBand coupling link attachment between System z10 and System z9 general purpose servers".
  • "Preplanning for your Storage Area Network (SAN): A new worldwide port name (WWPN) tool provides advance SAN preplanning so you are ready before your new IBM System z10 server arrives".
Here the Statements of Direction are interesting as well. I'll quote two of them :
  • "ESCON channels will be phased out. It is IBM's intent for ESCON channels to be phased out. System z10 EC and System z10 BC will be the last servers to support greater than 240 ESCON channels.
  • IBM intends to support optional water cooling on future high-end System z servers. This cooling technology will tap into building chilled water that typically exists within the data center for computer room air conditioning systems. External chillers or special water conditioning will typically not be required. Water cooling technology for high-end System z servers will be designed to deliver improved energy efficiency."
Well, that's it for now. I'm not sure you'll hear much of me next week. But, as I have been watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles this week, I can only say : "I'll be back !"