Friday, March 29, 2013

An Ode to Movie Mainframes

I saw this pass by yesterday via various tweets, so I thought I might as well share it with you here. Just enjoy it, it's fun !

And . . . Happy Easter !

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DB2 for z/OS turns 30 in June

With DB2 11 for z/OS on the horizon, it's a good moment to look back at the first 30 years of DB2. Of course all of you know already that DB2 for z/OS turns 30 on June 7, 2013. I looked it up because the date rang a bell with me. So, it shares its birthday with Damien Hirst, Anna Kournikova, Tom Jones and Prince. That's where I also knew the date from.

But I want to point you to a website and particularly to a publication on that site. The site is 'IBM DB2 Celebrates 30 Years of Superior Technology'. You can find it over here. The site has several tabs with customer stories, resources, IBM DB2 contact persons and a list of events on DB2. It's definitely worth a look.

But, the publication I want to tell you about is 'IBM DB2: The Past, Present and Future: 30 Years of Superior Innovation' that you can find on the right hand side of the Overview page. It's divided into 3 major parts. The first part is a history overview of DB2 by Don Haderle himself and Cynthia Saracco. The second part tells you about 'Planning for IBM DB2 10 for z/OS Upgrade' and the third part is a 'DB2 10 for z/OS Query Optimization Update'.
And there's also a part where people are asked what was their most important moment in DB2 history. You should read it too. That's where the anecdotes are. And I'm glad to see at least three fellow countrymen : Jan Tielemans, Kurt Struyf and Cristian Molaro. I mention them because I want to at least quote one anecdote and it comes from Cristian Molaro. I promise, just one. You'll recognize it, for sure.
Back when we migrated to DB2 Version 6, we DBAs suspected that users were quickly justifying a lot of small incidents by blaming the “new DB2 version.” When we moved to DB2 7, we announced the availability of the new version two weeks after the actual migration. Nobody reported a DB2-related issue in between. After the public notification, things suddenly, and suspiciously, started to fail because of the “new DB2  version.” This was one case where we had to deal more with human expectations than with DB2 itself.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Red Alert : PTF UK91435 required for DB2 10 for z/OS in a Data Sharing environment

Here's a new Red Alert. I'm just taking over the content.

PTF UK91435 (APAR PM79520) is required for DB2 10 for z/OS customers in a Data Sharing environment

The subject PTF addresses a potential data loss in a DB2 10 Data Sharing environment.

The problem is related to lost spacemap updates in Data Sharing. Data modifications (insertions, mass deletions) may have been lost, and if so, will not be recoverable by standard recovery procedures. The modifications will remain recorded on the DB2 recovery log and can be recovered using tools such as the Log Analysis Tool. Rebuilding the index will make the Index consistent with the data but will not recover data that is missing nor attend to erroneously present data. The same is true of reorganizing the object. If in the interest of system availability indexes are rebuilt or the data is reorganized prior to determining if there is data loss, it is recommended that this action be followed with analysis and possible remedial action as outlined below.

Possible symptoms include: Incorrect output; ABEND04E RC00C90101, RC00C90102, RC00C90105, or RC00C902xx in various CSECTs; data/index inconsistencies reported by the CHECK INDEX utility; and, page regression reported by the DSN1LOGP utility.

Recommended Actions:
IBM recommends that all DB2 10 for z/OS Data Sharing customers apply PTF UK91435 as soon as possible.

Customers may validate their data by using CHECK INDEX or CHECK DATA utilities. Any issues uncovered should be reported to IBM Software Support to determine root cause. The data may not be recoverable by standard recovery procedures.

Refer to the cover letter for UK91435 for further details regarding this issue.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fellow Bloggers

Starting a blog is not that difficult. You have lots of ideas and you have the impression that no one is properly covering that domain you're particularly interested in. So you start off writing with a lot of enthusiasm. Still, I see that lots of blogs just fade away in time. And I guess that one of the greatest disappointments is the lack of response you get. Blogging is, whether you like it or not, more than other social media mostly one way traffic. That's why I've always tried to make some publicity for other bloggers who passed my way. Unfortunately, a lot of those I've mentioned in the past came ànd went due to some or other circumstances.

Still, I would like to mention a couple of new or existing blogs I visit regularly (or rather : I let Feeddemon do that for me). Here we go - in random order.
  • Accelerate with ATS
    This developerWorks blog is from IBM Americas ATS (Advanced Technical Skills) and is mainly a platform for announcing their webcasts on storage hardware and software. Some topics that were covered : LTFS LE for Windows, XIV Technical update, TPC Performance Management, DS8870 Technical update ... The latest post is announcing a webcast on Understanding and Analyzing TS7700 Performance that takes place on April 18, 2013.
  • Inside Systems Support
    This blog helps you optimize your experience of the Support Portal with posts like Customizing your view in IBM Support Portal, Benefits of Signing in to Support Portal, IBM Support Portal: An Overview, Looking for an item in IBM Support? Let our search engines help you!, Managing your product list in IBM Support Portal ... Definitely worth a look !
  • MVS program blog
    This is a Share blog by Mary Anne Matyaz aka ZOSsygirl that's been around for about almost a year now. It's very to the point and covers, as the title already says, all kinds of MVS stuff. A couple of titles : Shedding light on the "Top 5 obscure z/OS tools you're not using" (about ao Parallel Sysplex Inject Error tool, Mark Zelden's IPLINFO Rexx, Lookat ...), The Very Best of z/OS 2.1, My zAware Quickstart Guide (very nice article) etc. etc.
  • Ingolf's z/VSE Blog
    This blog only exists for about a month but seems to be a real asset for the z/VSE community. The intentions of Ingolf Salm are clear : "With this blog I want to provide information about the mainframe operating system z/VSE. That is news, hints & tips, any z/VSE topic you are interested in, where I am knowledgable. I hope you will find this blog valuable".Well, I do. I won't give you any titles because if you're into z/VSE you just have to go and take a look at it !
Well that's it. And, as I always say : just check them out !

Friday, March 22, 2013

IBM Software Product Compatibility Reports

You've surely noticed I haven't been that prolific over the past months. I guess it's just the story we see a lot these days. Do more with less (time). So I have other things up my alley than just mainframe. But, once a mainframe blogger, always a mainframe blogger, no ? So I've kept some links, I'd still like to share with you in the coming posts. I guess some stuff might be a bit outdated for those who follow everything closely. But if I only come to have a good look at them now, and get rid of the rubbish, perhaps it's the first time you see them too.

So, let's start with something useful. Here's a site that can give you a lot of information : Software Product Compatibility Reports. The name says it all.

As you can see on the screenshot (click on it for a larger view) there's a lot of possiblities. You can check compatibility with operating systems, you can ask for prerequisites, you can even ask for End of Service dates.

Let's put it to the test with CICS TS 5.1. I click on the first report and if you follow with me yourself you'll see that you'll get a screen where you can give in your software. I just put CICS, press the search button and I get a list of CICS products. I select CICS Transaction Server and the system asks me for a version. I select '5.1' and click the 'submit' button. Result : you have to have z/OS 1.13 for it.

All the reports work a bit the same way. I also kind of like the End of Service Report. There you can create an entire list of softwares with their different versions. What's nice is that you can export that list. Every once in a while you can come back here and you just import your list and see if anything has changed. Here's an example. You can decide the beginning date yourself. Once again, click on it for a clear view.

Just go and try some of the other options. I've got this one bookmarked, for sure.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

IBM Announcement - IBM zEnterprise enhancements

This is a bit of a strange announcement : it's a collection of some System z enhancements : 'IBM zEnterprise enhancements (ZG13-0042)'. I'll give you the summary, so if anything interests you, then just check out the announcement for more details.

"Today's enhancements extend System z unique leadership attributes for improved integration, agility, and security. These include:
IBM® zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) Model 003
IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) Model 002
IBM WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliance XI50 for zEnterprise ( DataPower XI50z) V5.0 firmware for zBX Model 003
IBM System z Advanced Workload Analysis Reporter ( IBM zAware)
Available now are the following items announced for first quarter 2013 in the IBM zEnterprise EC12 announcement:
z/OS® support for these zEC12 functions is planned to be available by March 31, 2013:
There's also a statement of direction that might be of interest to some people, but I just don't know how widely spread non-raised-floor System z servers are.
IBM plans to offer only Top Exit I/O Cabling and Top Exit with Power on future System z servers for non-raised-floor implementations. Bottom exit cabling (I/O and power) will no longer be offered or supported in non-raised-floor environments. Enterprises with non-raised-floor data centers should begin planning for top exit I/O cabling and top exit power cabling.
If I'm not mistaken that was already the case for the zEC12 but the z114 still offered both options. So, any successor to the z114 will only have top exit I/O and Power cabling.

DS8100-DS8300-DS8700 - DDM Firmware Issue – Possible Undetected Data Loss or Data Error

Here's a flash alert which is issued for three DS8000 models : DS8100, DS8300 and DS8700. You can find it over here.

I'm taking over the most important parts. Go to the alert itself for more details.


Certain disk drive modules (“DDMs”) shipped between April 2010 and January 2013, running DDM firmware levels F520, F522, or F527, may be exposed to a possible undetected data loss or data error during a proximal write. (The “proximal write” feature does a skip operation on the data transfer from DRAM to disk to improve performance.) This issue occurs when the starting logical Block Address (“LBA”) is a reassigned LBA. A firmware update designed to address this issue is now available.
Note: DS8800s and DS8870s are not exposed to this issue. DS8000 DDMs that use drive-level encryption are also not exposed to this issue.


Fix / Mitigation Options
A Concurrent DDM Firmware update with firmware F529 using Install Corrective Service (ICS) CD for machines running Bundles 64.20.xx.xx or higher (8100/8300) and 76.20.xx.xx or higher (8700) is now available. Clients with DS8000s below these minimum bundles and deciding to update the DDM firmware need to either perform a code load to one of the bundles identified above and then apply ECA 866, or contact IBM to evaluate other options.

Identification Methods
  1. DDM firmware levels can be queried by an IBM Service Support Representative (“SSR”) using the service panels, or by clients using CLI commands (see examples below).
  2. An Info Alert is being released to notify SSRs of subsystems containing DDMs with F520, F522, or F527 firmware. An as required ECA [“Engineering Change Action"] 866 is also being released to provide SSRs with instructions describing how to update the DDM firmware for clients that request this update
  3. If clients determine they have a system with the affected DDMs, IBM Service can be contacted to schedule the update.
  4. Please contact IBM Service, or contact the DS8000 Quality team at the following Email address, DS8KQWT@US.IBM.COM or DS8000QWTeam/Tucson/IBM, for any questions or to request additional assistance.