1. About Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter 2008 No. 4
2. IBM Announces New Processors
3. Cheryl Watson’s CPU Chart, October 2008
4. New IBM Red Alert
5. Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama
1. About Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter 2008 No. 4
The forty-four page 2008 No. 4 Tuning Letter was emailed to subscribers on October 2nd. You may visit our Web site at http://www.watsonwalker.com to obtain subscription information. The following is a summary of just some of the contents of this latest Tuning Letter:
The majority of this Tuning Letter issue is dedicated to describing other users’ experiences with the new z10 processors, the last two releases of z/OS (1.8 and 1.9), HiperDispatch, zIIPs, zAAPs, and a variety of miscellaneous items. We feel that these experiences will be especially valuable to our readers.
I receive several questions a month about the role of HiperDispatch on the z10s. Because of outstanding issues, you might encounter problems whether you leave it OFF (the default) or turn it ON. I list all of the applicable APARs in our Focus section. Also, we’ve found that you might not obtain the capacity you expect from the z10s if your workloads don’t match IBM’s LSPR (Large Systems Performance Reference) workloads. Of course, some sites are seeing better capacity than they expected. It all depends! Our software product, BoxScore (costs only $11,900 for a site license!), identifies the actual capacity you received.
zIIPs and zAAPs
zIIPs and zAAPs are in greater demand these days. As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, these specialty engines provide a way to add capacity at a much lower cost than upgrading your general processors. To exploit these engines to their fullest, you need to be pro-active about offloading work to them. To help you with this, we’ve included a list of 25 (!) products that can now exploit these engines. (If I’ve forgotten any that you know of, please let me know.) If you aren’t exploiting the specialty engines, you’re probably wasting money.
SHARE is always full of more information than any one person can absorb in a single week. (Send two people!) Although almost all of the presentation slides/handouts are available to the public for several months (and to SHARE members for years), I always like to include highlights as well as the APARs and warnings that IBM brings to the attendees. These are things that IBM wants everyone to know about in order to prevent problems down the road. You’ll find what I consider to be the most valuable of these in our SHARE section. Part of this section describes a visit that I (and 200 other attendees) made to IBM’s SVL (Silicon Valley Labs) site. This site includes an impressive Executive Briefing Center (one of many around the world). Executive briefings are provided at no charge to your company and are tailored to your needs. They are sales-oriented, but they also show your executives how to utilize their mainframe to improve their ROI (return on investment). If you are worried that your mainframe has a limited life span, contact your IBM rep and set up an executive briefing. I guarantee you that you and your executives will find the time well worth it.
2. IBM Announces New z10-BC Processors
On October 21st, IBM announced the new System z10 Business Class (z10-BC) processors. There are twenty-six models in this series (each with a 1-way through 5-way) that support 130 different capacity settings, ranging from 29 MIPS to over 2,700 MIPS. The announced general availability date for these processors was October 28, 2008. You can find announcement #108-754 at http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/index.wss by searching on 108-754.
Many installations were waiting for this new range of processors, because the price/performance of the z10-BC models is such an improvement over the older z800s, z890s, and several z900s. Part of this improvement comes from three major differences: 1) lower software pricing, because the MSU ratings provide another 10% improvement (or even 20% depending on the model you’re upgrading); 2) lower energy costs because of the new ‘green’ technology; and 3) more powerful zIIPs and zAAPs at a lower cost. In addition, you get all of the benefits of the z10 processor (hiperdispatch, faster I/O paths, faster than average processing for Web-based transactions, etc.).
With this announcement, IBM also changed the LSPR tables in three ways. First, they changed the basis of the LSPRs to use z/OS 1.9 instead of z/OS 1.8. In general, this improves the MIPS ratings slightly. Second, they have provided ratings in the single image tables for models with over 32 processors. Third, they are actually publishing MIPs on their public Website! They call this new fields ‘PCI’ (Performance Capacity Index), but to the rest of the world, they’re MIPs. Note that these are only available on the Multi-Image Charts, and not the Single Image Charts. As I mentioned in my own CPU Chart, I think it’s important for you to start using the Multi-Image ratings (I don’t expect to keep seeing the Single Image ratings for much longer). IBM’s LSPRs can be found at http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/advantages/management/lspr/. Be sure to review their latest FAQ at http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/advantages/management/lspr/z10ECGA2FAQ.html. You might ask why we still produce our CPU Chart if IBM is publishing MIPS. For the answer, keep reading.
3. Cheryl Watson’s CPU Chart – October 2008
On October 28th, we published our October 2008 Cheryl Watson’s z/OS CPU Chart. It included all of the changes described in item #2 above. It was sent to all Tuning Letter subscribers and all CPU Chart-only subscribers.
So now that IBM is now publishing MIPS, why are we still publishing our own chart? I’m glad that you asked! We think that our CPU Chart provides these added features:
- It is provided as both easy-to-work-with Excel spreadsheets and as a PDF.
- It includes both multi-image and single image ratings in a single document.
- It provides the speed ratings for the specialty processors (IFLs, zIIP, zAAPs, and CFs).
- It provides the following information obtained from several sources, all in one table (all of these are on IBM’s website, but in several different locations): model numbers, number of CPs, average MIPS, IBM’s PCI values, service units per second, common name, processor group, MSUs, STIDP, STSI, architectural level, and general availability date. While you could do this yourself, it takes LOT of time to do it.
- In addition, we provide MIPS ratings for all workloads, not just the average: Low I/O, TI-Mix, CB-L, ODE-B, WASDB, OLTP-W, and OLTP-T. We don’t believe that the average MIPS value is useful.
- And we include several calculations that provide additional value. These include the MIPS per CP for both the Average and the Low/IO workloads, the MP (Multi-Processing) ratio, and the MIPS per MSU. While MIPS indicates the capacity of the entire machine, the MIPS per CPU show the speed of a single processor. It’s possible to increase the capacity, while decreasing the speed, which can impact certain workloads. The MP ratio shows how much of the original capacity you lose when you add another processor. For example, a 2-way model with an MP ratio of .95 indicates that the addition of the second CP decreased the speed of both processors by 5%. And MIPS per MSU shows you the models with the greatest benefit regarding software costs. Wouldn’t you rather get 9 MIPS/MSU than 7 MIPS/MSU when you are paying based on MSU?
- We publish the UP (uni-processor) service unit per second value that lets you identify machines with similar speed processors.
- Our chart is used contractually between several software vendors and their clients, including the government.
- We serve as a sounding board for questions you may have on the CPU Chart, via email questions with answers from me. Like having a free consultant!
- And it’s all provided in an Excel spreadsheet that can be searched, sorted, or used for the basis of further calculations.
Our Tuning Letter customers receive this valuable CPU Chart as part of their subscription (currently $865 for a single site). We also offer corporate-wide pricing to vendors who wish to distribute the CPU Chart to staff and field sales reps. To learn more about our CPU Chart, please see our website at http://www.watsonwalker.com/chart.html. For the CPU Chart only, the price is $3,000 for 1 to 49 sites, and $6,000 for over 49 sites.
4. IBM Red Alert
On October 31st, IBM issued a new Red Alert for ‘CIFS Client on Linux’. Red Alerts are issued for extremely important situations that may cause major problems in an installation. This particular Red Alert says the following:
Customers with IBM Servers, including Power Systems, System i, System p, Sys-tem x and System z, running CIFS Client for Linux may experience unreported data inconsistencies in the following conditions: 1) Running CIFS Client for Linux with caching enabled (default option) may experience data miscompares over stressed or congested networks.
2) Running CIFS Client for Linux with the ‘forcedirectio’ option set and with applications using the ‘O_APPEND’ option. Linux operating systems with CIFS Client enabled may experience one of these problems depending on the write option used and the version/release of Linux OS. Please see the entire alert to find how to avoid the problems. To subscribe to Red Alerts, go to this web site: https://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/redAlerts/home.html.
5. Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama
While it is normally our practice to avoid politics in our publications, we are too excited and thrilled about our president-elect, Barack Obama, to keep silent. Tom and I have been Obama supporters and volunteers since early in his campaign. We believe that this election was the most important one in our lifetimes. We think the rest of the world will welcome a president who embraces diplomacy and is ready to tackle the many global problems that urgently need to be addressed.
While we understand that almost half of the country did not vote for Obama, we believe that he will be a President for everyone, not just those who elected him. In fact, we believe he may well become one of the best presidents of our time. Although it will take time and effort, we think that Obama, his administration, and a more unified Congress will effectively make improvements in the economy, unemployment, the environment, health care, and equal rights for all (regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation).