Subscribers to Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter can find the latest 119-page issue, 2023 No.1, on our publications website (https://watsonwalkerpublications.com/). In this issue, you will find the following articles:
- Our review of IBM’s z/OS 3.1 Preview Announcement. The first part of this article, What’s New in z/OS – 3.1 Preview, focuses on the announced changes to the MVS core of z/OS, particularly the new AI Framework that will support the use of Artificial Intelligence by components such as Workload Manager. These enhancements will be added to z/OS V3 over time, with the initial rollout enhancing WLM’s ability to manage batch initiators while also providing technicians with an opportunity to get familiar with the underlying infrastructure that will be provided by the AI Framework. We also describe other enhancements to WLM, as well as JES2 and SDSF. The remaining enhancements in z/OS 3.1 will be discussed in the second part of this article, in Tuning Letter 2023 No. 2.
- The other big IBM announcement in the first quarter was the new business class z16 models – the A02 and the AGZ. The AGZ breaks ground by providing identical capabilities to the A02, but it resides in a customer-provided rack and uses customer-provided power supplies. From a functionality perspective, the business class models are identical to their larger sibling, the z16 A01, that was delivered in 2022 – so they have the new Telum chip with the AI Accelerator, they support Fibre Channel Endpoint Encryption, Crypto Express8S, enhanced System Recovery Boost, and so on. Something that breaks from tradition is that IBM reworked the ‘MIPS curve’, meaning that many of the z16 business class models actually deliver less capacity than the corresponding z15 business class model – this provides customers with a larger selection of models in the 100-4000 MIPS range, while still addressing the growth needs of larger business class CPCs, with up to 13% more capacity for the W0n, X0n, Y0n, and Z0n models. See our Introduction to z16 A02 and AGZ article for everything you need to know about these new mainfame models.
- There is rarely a day goes by that we don’t receive a notification of yet another data breach. And that is just the ones you hear about – there are doubtless many more that either go undetected or are never publicized. Understandably, businesses want to do all they can to protect their data, their customers, and their reputations. One of the many tools in your z/OS data protection arsenal is the Erase-on-Scratch (EoS) function which ensures that residual data cannot be accessed by another user. IBM has been steadily chipping away at the main reason customers don’t use EoS (performance), with the latest enhancement, UNMAP, nearly eliminating the cost of EoS. However there are restrictions to the use of UNMAP, meaning that many sites might be unable to exploit this new capability. For all the gory details about what is and is not supported, and helpful tips to reduce the impact of EoS, see our Latest on Erase-on-Scratch and SSDs and the UNMAP Function article.
- z/OS is probably the most instrumented operating system on the planet – there is little that happens in a z/OS system that is not reported in an SMF record. All the major IBM subsystems, as well as many vendor products, create their own SMF records. This is great for subject matter experts for those products, however it has resulted in silos of SMF data, and reporting and analysis products that focus on a particular silo. As the Performance Analyst skill pool gets depleted by retirements, there is a growing need for less experienced analysts to more easily reach outside their silo, and also to be able to more efficiently collaborate with colleagues that specialize in other subsystems. This need, and some examples of how it can be addressed, is the subject of this issue’s Benefits of Analysis Across SMF Data Types article by our friend, IntelliMagic’s Todd Havekost. If you recognize this as a growing challenge in your site, have a read of Todd’s article for suggestions that will make you more productive and make your work more rewarding.
- This issue’s User Experiences and Tips article is sure to have at least one article of interest to you. Read about how one customer eliminated intermittent response time spikes by adjusting the CPENABLE value for their production systems, while avoiding the CPU consumption increase that is frequently expected from such a move. We also have information and tips for both Syncsort and IBM DFSORT users of the IBM Z Sort Accelerator function. We have a very valuable description of one customer’s experience with trying to manage zCX products that are licensed on a per-core basis. We are seeing a lot more interest in zCX, so this is an issue that is likely to pop up in your shop soon – as they say, forewarned is forearmed. Finally, we have three IBM ‘Ideas’ (these used to be called ‘Requests for Enhancements’) that we believe you should review. We constantly hear from IBM, “That’s a great idea, but we don’t have the resources” – if one of those Ideas is something that would deliver value to your company, the best way to ensure it is the recipient of IBM’s scarce developer resource is to a) Vote for the idea, and b) add a comment describing how that enhancement would enhance the desirability of the mainframe in your company.
- Of course, we also have our review of IBM z/OS-related APARs from the last quarter. The News article provides our list of the ones we believe warrant your attention. It also includes a review of new and updated IBM Techdocs materials, as well as upcoming conferences.
You can find the full Table of Contents here. We hope you find this information helpful and timely. Please let us know if there are specific topics you would like to see in a future Tuning Letter article.
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The Team at Watson & Walker