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Spotlights

Apr 19 ’11

For years, organizations were told that mainframe systems were a thing of the past and distributed computing was the wave of the future.  Fast forward to 2011 and not only are mainframe systems still around – they’re making a comeback.

Unfortunately, during those years of trying to decide “to go mainframe or not to go mainframe?” many organizations stopped investing in mainframe skills. And now, with the mainframe resurgence, combined with anticipation of many expert mainframers retiring in the near future, those organizations are scrambling to develop and/or acquire the in-house skills…

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Spotlights

Apr 19 ’11

In a mainframe environment, many different types of Database Administrators (DBAs) are needed to support building and managing applications critical to a business. In smaller organizations, a DBA typically must wear many hats:

  • As a database designer, he must learn design techniques and transform a logical data model that represents the business needs into a physical database that supports application processing needs.
  • As an application DBA, he works with application developers to build efficient SQL for optimal performance.
  • The DBA needs to know how to design and test database backup and recovery…
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News

Apr 13 ’11

TORRANCE, California, March 31, 2011 – Data 21, announces ZIP/390 6.0, the latest release of its zSeries ZIP Utility.  The product facilitates efficient secure delivery and storage of zSeries information in industry standard compression, encryption and presentation formats (e.g., ZIP, PGP, PDF, CSV); ensuring cross-platform compatibility and exploitation of widely used platform-independent technologies. Data 21 is the first zSeries ZIP Utility vendor to announce the support of zSeries Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) specialty engines. The new zIIP feature allows zIIP enabled users to offload a majority of ZIP/390’s data compression/encryption related cycles onto zIIP engines. Utilizing zIIP engines can…

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News

Apr 13 ’11

Zephyr is pleased to announce the support of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with its PASSPORT Host Integration Objects (HIO) software. PASSPORT HIO offers a programmatic method of integrating 3270 and 5250 legacy applications with .NET and other web or server-based applications.

For many large organizations, mission-critical applications continue to be hosted on IBM System z (mainframes) and IBM System i (AS/400) servers. Secure, reliable access to these applications is essential and the Zephyr PASSPORT HIO software offers best-of-breed communication between Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and these important legacy platforms.

The Zephyr PASSPORT HIO legacy integration software has…

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Blog

Apr 12 ’11

Mainframer dreams come true!In an announcement dated April 12, 2011, IBM has announcing zEnterprise support for Microsoft Windows. Below is the actual announcement from IBM.OverviewIn Hardware Announcement 110-177, dated July 22, 2010, “IBM® zEnterprise BladeCenter® Extension (zBX),” IBM introduced a new dimension in computing with the announcement of the IBM zEnterprise Server (zEnterprise). This first in the industry offering makes it possible to deploy an integrated hardware platform that brings mainframe and distributed technologies together—a system that can start to replace individual islands of computing and can work to reduce complexity, lower costs, improve security,…

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News

Apr 12 ’11

Overview

In Hardware Announcement 110-177, dated July 22, 2010, "IBM® zEnterprise BladeCenter® Extension (zBX)," IBM introduced a new dimension in computing with the announcement of the IBM zEnterprise Server (zEnterprise). This first in the industry offering makes it possible to deploy an integrated hardware platform that brings mainframe and distributed technologies together -- a system that can start to replace individual islands of computing and can work to reduce complexity, lower costs,…

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News

Apr 12 ’11

ZEN, the cost saving z/OS network management suite from William Data Systems (WDS) continues to evolve with the launch of ZEN TRACE & SOLVE’s latest 4.7 version. It delivers more customer suggested z/OS network tracing and solution solving capabilities to help busy z/OS network support people do more in less time.

Known to many of its users worldwide by it’s previous name EXIGENCE, ZEN TRACE & SOLVE (ZTS) is leading edge z/OS network management technology, backed by a dynamic research and development operation to keep it one step ahead.

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Spotlights

Apr 11 ’11

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a widely used method for transferring files between computers, even dissimilar ones. It’s commonly used with the TCP/IP communications protocol on almost every platform, including Unix, Windows, AS/400, and z/OS. As implemented on z/OS, FTP has unique capabilities and security mechanisms.

This article describes how mainframe FTP is different, how its security tools work, and how to apply them. The Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) version of FTP isn’t secure, so this article addresses only standard FTP.

We’ll cover the most…

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News

Apr 8 ’11

HOUSTON, April 6, 2011 – Organizations today are tasked with delivering additional application availability while facing exploding data growth that places increased stress on already demanding service levels. With most large companies relying on the mainframe and the IBM® DB2 for z/OS® system as the back-end data and application server for these applications, they must improve IT infrastructure efficiencies at a price that the business can support.

To help IT organizations keep costs low and optimize the performance of DB2 database management systems, BMC Software (NASDAQ: BMC) today announced its broadest DB2 release in the company…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’11

Globalization has presented many challenges to the IT community, not least of which is providing continuous system availability. Where once an East Coast-based information center only needed to adjust for a West Coast transactional processing window, it now must deal with transactional windows half way around the world. Still, viable legacy systems were rarely designed for this, yet accommodations must be made, since many of those systems aren’t easy to replace.

IBM’s Information Management System (IMS) started out as Information Control System (ICS) in 1966 to manage data generated by the Apollo space project.…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’11

The primary cause of inadequate DB2 application performance is inefficient SQL. Poorly performing SQL degrades response times and typically consumes unnecessary resources. One way to improve SQL performance is to add effective indexes.

A DB2 index is a list of the locations of rows sorted by the contents of one or more columns. Indexes improve query performance, but they come with a price. Indexes use disk space and increase the cost of insert, delete, and some update operations. When you design indexes, balance costs with performance. You need to maximize index matching while minimizing the number of…

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IT Management

Apr 6 ’11

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion on the role of mainframes in cloud computing that featured spokespersons from IBM and CA Technologies as well as technology consumers Al Vazquez from Morgan Stanley and Sam Knutson from GEICO. The event was broadcast to mainframers around the U.S. I won’t go into the details of the panel discussion here, since replays will be available via the Web shortly, but I do want to explain why Al Vazquez became my new best friend.

During breaks, I had a chance to hang out with Vazquez and understand…

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IT Management

Apr 6 ’11

Compliance options is all about the compromises that take place when business information needs meet IT architectures, standards, and constraints. Rather than focusing on the "T" in "IT," it focuses on the "I"—information-related rules, choices, and controls. Its goal is to help you avoid being bullied by operational stakeholders or trumped by the "compliance card" as you negotiate approaches for dealing with data and information during projects and processes.

"Boring!" That’s what my late brother, Reese, might have said after reading that first paragraph. He was my greatest cheerleader and best critic for…

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Operating Systems

Apr 6 ’11

With the introduction of z/VSE Version 4.2, IBM provided a new feature called LDAP Sign-on Support. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an accepted standard that’s commonly used in Identity Management Systems (IMSs) to centralize storage of identity-related information. As part of the LDAP Sign-on Support, IBM has provided a full-function LDAP client that enables the z/VSE system to communicate using the LDAP protocol. This lets users sign on to the z/VSE interactive interface using “companywide” credentials that are stored on an LDAP server in an LDAP directory.

The userids and…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’11

For many DB2 professionals, storage management can be an afterthought, but it really shouldn’t be. The cost of managing storage can be up to 10 times as much as the initial cost of acquiring the storage. Storage issues are vitally important, and unless managed appropriately, can be costly.

DB2 stores data in VSAM Linear Data Sets (LDSs). Each table space and index space requires at least one VSAM data set. But there are many other storage-related objects you will encounter with DB2 for z/OS, including storage groups (both DB2 and DFSMS), system data sets …

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Storage

Apr 6 ’11

Data storage devices made from DRAM, flash, or other memory technologies are collectively called Solid State Disks (SSDs), since they have no moving components. The first commercially successful SSD was delivered to the mainframe market in 1978 and cost $8,800 per megabyte. Using today’s storage pricing metric, that equates to $8.8 million per gigabyte!

Those first SSDs were channel-attached storage devices based on volatile DRAM chips that lost all their contents when electrical power was out. Soon after their introduction, SSDs addressed the DRAM volatility issue by offering battery and hard disk backup options, and eventually added fault-tolerant…

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Operating Systems

Apr 6 ’11

The future started more than a decade ago, when z/VSE defined in its strategy that Linux on System z is the natural extension for z/VSE on a System z. Modern solutions leverage the synergy of core applications and CICS transactions running in z/VSE and the new Java and Internet interfaces in Linux on System z.

Virtualization with z/VM reached new dimensions, making available virtual switch, guest LAN, and the ability to virtualize hundreds of different guest systems. z/VSE 4.3 now exploits the Linux Fast Path network topology, which effectively supports TCP/IP socket…

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IT Management

Apr 6 ’11

Thanks to the mainframe, fourth quarter 2010 was a good quarter for IBM server revenue, and indeed for server sales across the board. According to industry analyst IDC, which has long been regarded as a prime source of information on competitive shipments and revenues, IBM accounted for 37.4 percent of the worldwide server market, which reached $15 billion in the quarter, an increase of 15.3 percent from the same period a year ago.

Admittedly, the same period a year ago was relatively poor, but the fact that IBM’s $5.6 billion in fourth quarter server revenue puts it in pole position,…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’11

A key feature of DB2 10 for z/OS yields “out-of-the-box," DB2 CPU savings of up to 10 percent for traditional workloads when compared to running the same workloads on DB2 9. That’s attention-getting, and possible without a REBIND. But to obtain the best performance and memory improvements, it will be necessary to REBIND all PACKAGEs containing static SQL—an idea that can bring fear and angst to many DBAs.

To understand why, let’s review. For static SQL, it’s during the BIND/REBIND process that the DB2 optimizer determines the optimal access…

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IT Management

Apr 6 ’11

Here we address the security question: How well do we secure access to the system? This includes how users are identified and how these users are restricted from system access. We’ll skip considerations not unique to z/OS, such as physical access control. Here are some mainframe-specific considerations with recommendations for you to address them:

1. You need to know your security software (RACF, CA ACF2, or CA Top Secret) controls every path into your system. Paths include TSO, batch, started tasks, CICS, UNIX System Services (USS), TCP/IP, User Datagram Protocol (UDP), the various programs…

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