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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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IT Management

Apr 6 ’11

It’s a funny thing that at each step of the way, the technological developments meant to bring us together seem to have actually isolated us. No more having to travel or even look up from across the table to connect with others. We can video conference with a person anywhere on a whim, without having to reach out and physically shake their hand or greet them with a similar embrace. We don’t even have to know the person (and sadly, often don’t take the time to do this). 

Still, we…

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Operating Systems

Apr 6 ’11

Linux on System z has been an important part of z/VSE’s Protect, Integrate and Extend (PIE) strategy for many years. It:

  • Protects customers’ enormous cumulative investment in their core z/VSE applications
  • Integrates z/VSE systems and applications into a heterogeneous IT environment
  • Extends z/VSE’s capabilities with features and functions provided by Linux on System z or other platforms.

Linux on System z provides many useful functions that z/VSE doesn’t provide. It offers WebSphere, Java, DB2 Universal Database, a…

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Applications & Integrations

Apr 6 ’11

No man is an island, and these days that goes for information systems, too. Getting systems to talk with one another reliably, efficiently, and simply has been the goal of multiple efforts over the years. Approaches have varied from mailboxes, simple socket programming, Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), and Message-Oriented-Middleware (MOM). Associated with each approach are attributes of complexity, cost, and standards.

There are many good commercial, proprietary messaging offerings available today, and also some good open source offerings, one of which we’ll explore in this article. Several open source…

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CICS / WebSphere

Apr 6 ’11

When IBM announced support for running application code in the Open Transaction Environment (OTE), among the selling points was a significant reduction in CPU utilization in CICS-DB2 applications. Unfortunately, the possibility of reducing an application’s CPU requirements by 30 percent, without any coding changes, diverted attention from the OTE’s many other benefits. This article discusses those benefits and related OTE issues.

The OTE and threadsafe provide a significant architectural change to CICS. For the first time, CICS provides a true multi-processing environment running application code under multiple Task Control Blocks (TCBs) within the same…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’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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Operating Systems

Apr 6 ’11

The topic of my February/March column seems to have touched a nerve. Feedback began to arrive via email and phone days before a copy of z/Journal arrived in my mailbox. For someone who writes a column, responses are gratifying, but these scared me.

Are there really that many sites with old, stabilized systems that lack the resources necessary to prevent a disastrous outage and/or loss of company assets (data)? There have always been some, but what drove the column was the increase in sites seen in the last 12 to 15 months, the serious impact observed,…

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Operating Systems

Apr 6 ’11

Callout: Efforts are under way to merge the OpenSolaris for System z port into the mainline Illumos tree and keep it alive as an alternative to Solaris 10.

Recently, it’s been quiet in the enterprise Linux world—lots of tinkering and experimenting, but nothing really newsworthy on the user side. On the kernel and utility developer side of the world, however, there are a couple of items that may prove interesting.

First, Red Hat is changing the way its contributions are submitted to the kernel source tree. Previously, Red Hat used the traditional…

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DB2 & IMS

Apr 6 ’11

IBM’s DB2 Query Management Facility (QMF) has been a stable, perpetually reliable workhorse for DB2 query and reporting for many years. However, as other Business Intelligence (BI) technologies evolved, QMF has taken a back seat to some newer trends in BI, such as sophisticated dashboards, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) support, graphical reports and more, which have become the standards by which BI tools are evaluated. IBM’s release of QMF Version 10, however, is a game-changer.

This article examines many new features available to new and existing QMF customers. The core product has been enhanced…

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Spotlights

Apr 1 ’11

IBM introduced the first CICS Internet connection option in CICS/ESA 3.3, with support for the CICS socket interface option of TCP/IP for MVS. Since then, with each new release—and often between releases via SupportPac offerings—IBM has continued to provide CICS with new Internet connectivity capabilities and features, generating so many support features that it’s difficult to keep up with them all.

This article won’t attempt to cover all the various interface options available to the CICS developer; there are simply too many. Instead, we’ll focus on…

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Blog

Mar 31 ’11

Guest Author: Joe Clabby

From my perspective, IBM has an excellent strategy in Smarter Planet, and its Smarter Computing plan makes very good sense. Smarter Computing plays to the company's strengths (multiple platforms, ownership of the software stack as well as underlying hardware). And the Smarter Computing story is easy to tell: a logical progression for building more efficient computing operations. IBM's System z can and should play a central role in implementing more efficient computing environments.

I must note, however, that many questions arose from the ranks of my…

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News

Mar 30 ’11

Los Angeles, CA, March 29, 2011—Today Phoenix Software International announced the release of zHISR, a new product that uses data created by z/OS Hardware Instrumentation Services (HIS) on IBM System z10 or zEnterprise mainframe processors to produce hotspot analysis reports. These reports can be used to help tune applications by locating the specific sections of code that are the biggest CPU consumers. Phoenix plans to market the new product to software developers, performance analysts, and system programmers.zHISR includes a z/OS UNIX file system interface for navigating, browsing and deleting files, including HIS collection files. Programmers can…

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News

Mar 23 ’11

Remote Consulting Technologies, Inc. and Critical Path Software, Inc. announce they have joined forces in a strategic partnership to bring Software Products and Services to both companies' Clients.  Working together they will provide Remote Performance Tuning and DASD Monitoring and Analysis as well as Testing and implementation Support. If you are going to reduce Mainframe costs, CPU, MSU, DASD and MIP COST’S do it in the most inexpensive way possible. Tremendous ROI and CBA provided. Remote Consulting Technologies, Inc. (aka – Remote Consulting USA) has taken on the role of testing and implementation support in partnership…

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Spotlights

Mar 22 ’11

Organizations of every size face the challenge of getting the most from their IT infrastructure and applications to improve business processes and adapt to change. This is especially true of companies and government organizations that rely on mainframe applications, since rewriting or replacing these applications is risky, costly, and difficult. Thanks to cooperative technologies such as Web 2.0, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and cloud computing, the mainframe can add value and responsiveness that was tricky to achieve only a few years ago.Whether you’re exploring ways of extending your applications to improve usability or well along the path to…

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News

Mar 21 ’11

Dallas, TX / March 17, 2011 – – OpenTech Systems, Inc., the leading provider of z/OS tape data migration software and services, tape-based data center relocation/consolidation software and services and tape-based disaster recovery software, announced the addition of several advanced dataset recovery features to its popular DASD Backup Supervisor (DBS) product. The newly released version of DBS fully supports the recovery of one or more individual datasets from DFDSS (logical or physical) or FDR full volume backups including VSAM datasets. According to Don Bolton, Director of Technical Services, “The local dataset recovery feature fully automates the time consuming and…

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News

Mar 16 ’11

Critical Path Software and IN-COM Data Systems have joined forces in a strategic alliance to bring superior Software Products and Services to both companies' Clients.

In-Com Data Systems of Richardson, Texas is a privately held software development and marketing company founded by Mr. Shlomo Friman in 1997. The company is self-funding with no outstanding debt. In-Com Data Systems is registered in the United States as a Small Business in the Central Contractor Registration database.In-Com’s core business revolves around development and marketing of Smart TS XL. Smart TS XL is a patented, cross-platform, search, impact analysis…

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