Operating Systems

The IBM z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) delivers many useful functions to help the systems programmer and IT teams at companies of all sizes manage their systems better. Though z/OS and z/OSMF now follow a two-year release cycle, many new functions and enhancements became available through a service update in fourth quarter 2012, making the product even more attractive and valuable for users.

Armed with endorsements from clients worldwide and validation of the stack and technology, the big focus for the upcoming release of z/OSMF V2R1 is to enhance the stack itself. The new release of z/OSMF is a separate product that will be released in September 2013, along with z/OS 2.1.

To that end, the z/OSMF product is based on the Liberty profile in WebSphere Application Server for z/OS V8.5. This new application server run-time reduces the size and resource requirements from the prior release. Users no longer need to separately configure a run-time (WebSphere Application Server for z/OS 7.0 OEM Edition [WebSphere OEM]) before deploying the z/OSMF application. The run-time is fully integrated with z/OSMF and thus, the steps required to configure z/OSMF are reduced to about half the number that were required in previous releases. The change in run-times continues the journey of simplifying the configuration of the product itself.

With the WebSphere Liberty profile run-time, the z/OSMF product package size is reduced to a few hundred megabytes from the previous size of more than 1GB, and the memory requirement is reduced from 2GB to 1GB. Whereas the current release required up to 100 MIPS for some scenarios, the new release is expected to require less than half that for certain functions.

An obvious benefit of the new and improved product package can be seen in the startup and shutdown time for z/OSMF; it’s reduced from minutes to just a few seconds!

z/OSMF Workflows

One of the highlights of z/OSMF 2.1 is the new Workflows function (see Figure 1). In this first stage, Workflows delivers a framework with a focus on simplifying the configuration of z/OS and performing a set of tasks on z/OS. Typically, when your installation needs to implement a set of tasks, different people in different roles are needed to perform those tasks. The z/OSMF Workflows function allows you to assign the various steps to different individuals or defined roles, such as “security administrator” or “systems programmer.” Once assigned, these individuals are notified through the new Notifications task. When these users log into z/OSMF, they see any tasks assigned to them and can then go ahead and accept the tasks and perform them.

In a typical use case, a product owner such as a vendor can create a workflow using the z/OSMF supplied schema and instructions provided with z/OSMF V2R1. The workflow could then be delivered, along with the product and installed on the client site as part of the product install. Then, using the z/OSMF Workflows function, the systems programmer could create an instance of this workflow in order to configure and customize the product on z/OS.

A workflow might contain steps that have dependencies among them; they can be manual steps or some steps might use wizards to submit jobs with JCL or drive a REXX exec or shell script that’s supplied with the workflow.

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