zIIPing Along

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zIIPing and zAAPing away. While that’s a cute opening for this article, it introduces a serious topic. IBM has shown a solid commitment to lowering the cost of running your business on System z. Your potential to increase your processing capacity without increasing your software cost can be significant with use of the System z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), the System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP), and the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL). 

The main focus of this article is the zIIP specialty engine, but we’ll briefly examine the zAAP and IFL specialty engines, too. (Remember, I’m a database guy, writing from a database guy’s perspective. If you’re a z/OS systems programmer, you should also visit IBM’s System z Websites for hardware and operating system perspectives; go to www.ibm.com/systems/z/hardware/ and www.ibm.com/systems/z/os/). 

When something is stated well, there’s not a lot of need to try to re-state it, so here’s a quote from Jim Stallings, general manager, IBM System z, that I think sums up the importance of the zIIP announcement:

 “Data is at the core of today’s most critical business issues, and the IBM System z9 mainframe equipped with a zIIP engine can expertly orchestrate information resources. When users centralize their data on the mainframe, they may decrease the risks associated with having multiple copies of data across diverse systems. Audit, compliance, control, and business recovery may be easier to manage when there’s a single copy of the data. The mainframe with a zIIP engine can increasingly play an essential role as a security-rich enterprise data hub.”

 zIIP: Why and How 

Although an IBM press release from Jan. 24, 2006 provided a glimpse into the zIIP specialty engine, it wasn’t really made public until late April. It started shipping in May, and, as of this writing, all but one of the DB2 and z/OS enabling Program Temporary Fixes (PTFs) were available in June. With zIIP, you can lower your total cost of operations and improve resource optimization while making the z9 your data server of choice. The zIIP will simplify any decision about placing or keeping your data on System z. Moving eligible distributed, selected utility, and Business Intelligence (BI) workloads to a zIIP will improve available capacity of existing general purpose engines, increasing throughput and possibly delaying your next processor upgrade. 

Here are the prerequisites to take advantage of a zIIP engine: 

Hardware: You’ll need a System z9 server or future follow-on model. The zIIP isn’t available on any other processor in the z family, which includes the new z9 Business Class (BC) server or the z9 Enterprise Class (EC) server (the server formally known as z9 109). (To learn more about z9 systems, refer to IBM’s Redbooks IBM System z9 Business Class Technical Introduction, SG24-7241 or IBM System z9 Enterprise Class Technical Guide, SG24-7124.)

Operating System: The minimum requirement is z/OS V1.6 or above; no prior OS will work. You’ll also need Function Mode Identifier (FMID) and Authorized Program Analysis Report (APAR) support for z/OS V1.6 and V1.7. If you’re not yet at z/OS V1.6, zIIP might be a great reason to start your OS migration plan. After all, z/OS V1.3 is already out of service, and V1.4 and V1.5 will go out of service in March 2007.

Database: Only DB2 for z/OS Version 8 (with a few APARs) and future releases of DB2 support the workloads eligible for the zIIP. You can expect other products to look at ways to take advantage of zIIP in the future. DB2 for z/OS V8 can take advantage of the zIIP engine in Compatibility Mode (CM), Enable New Function Mode (ENFM), and New Function Mode (NFM). So, regardless of where your V8 upgrade is, you can take advantage of zIIP. You should be thinking about upgrading to V8 if that isn’t already in your plans. You must be in DB2 for z/OS V8 NFM before you can upgrade to DB2 9, which has been announced and is in beta testing.

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