1. Happy New IBM z13!
2. Updated CPU Chart
3. Upcoming Watson & Walker Classes
4. Small Correction to RLS for Catalogs Article
5. SMF Articles in Enterprise Tech Journal
6. Performance Issues With COBOL V5?
7. Anyone Using zEDC in Production?
8. Data Loss APARs
1. About Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter 2014 No. 4
The 89-page 2014 No. 4 Tuning Letter was emailed to paid subscribers on January 23, 2015. You may visit our website at www.watsonwalker.com to obtain subscription information and the table of contents. The following is our Management Summary from that issue, talking about just some of the contents of that Tuning Letter:
There’s Life In The Old Dog Yet
While Cheryl and I were preparing for this issue of the Tuning Letter, I found myself wondering about all the predictions of ‘the death of the mainframe’. The biggest challenge we have with every Tuning Letter is trying to select the subset of news and topics that we feel will be the most interesting to our readers – there is just so much going on, and so many new things to talk about. If we had the time to write it, and you had the time to read it, we would have no problem creating a 200+ page newsletter and we would still agonize over things that we would like to include but just don’t have the space.
This feeling was amplified this past week when IBM announced the new IBM z13. Of course it has more of everything – more and faster channels, more MIPS, more memory (a LOT more memory), new Coupling Link technology. But what caught my attention more were the examples of how and why customers are using the main-frame. And that reminded me of how much data is still created on the mainframe. Yes, other platforms now have more data than the mainframe, but it would be very interesting to know how much of that data originated on z/OS and was then distributed to these other systems. IBM and other vendors are now giving us the tools to allow us to keep the ‘master copy’ of our operational data on z/OS. The one thing that is missing is some relief on the cost side, so that z/OS can more effectively go head to head with other platforms. There were a number of references to upcoming software pricing changes, and IBM announced the technology dividend for z13 (meaning that you will pay roughly 5% less for the same number of MIPS on a z13 that you would pay on a zEC12). However we believe that there is more to come. Knowing IBM it will not be simple, but we will be doing our best to help you understand and get the maximum value from the changes when they come available.
On the topic of software price changes – IBM announced its new Mobile Workload Pricing (MWP) last May (see the announcement letter here). MWP reduces the cost of running mobile workloads on z/OS by only taking 40% of the MSUs used by certain workloads into account when calculating your bill. This is a significant discount for anyone running a large mobile workload on z/OS. However, of course, it is not as straight-forward as it might at first appear. To help you understand if MWP can play a role in your installation, we jointly developed an article about MWP with Hans Peeters from zIT Consulting in Germany – see it on page 28. Even if you don’t have any MWP workload on your z/OS system today, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read the article.
Also on the topic of mobile, we have an opinion piece about Cheryl and my views on mobile and z. I have to admit that there was a while when I was somewhat skeptical about the interaction between mobile and z/OS. That started to change when we saw the numbers floating around about the number of mobile devices and their role in modern commerce. I think more was spoken about mobile at the IBM z13 announcement than there was about the z13 itself. But what really sealed it for me was when I stepped back and look at my own use of my smartphone. I never really gave it that much thought before. It was just sort of there and it had a much smaller keyboard than my laptop. But then I thought about the number of times I interact with my phone every day, and the fact that the majority of those interactions end up generating work on a server somewhere. And that’s when the light went on for me and I realized that we are seeing a paradigm shift about how humans are interacting with businesses and in how we are becoming transaction-generating information junkies.
One of the new capabilities in z/OS 2.1 is the ability to use VSAM/RLS to manage your catalogs. IBM’s benchmarks show some very impressive performance improvements – very important for any site that suffers from catalog contention. Actually turning on RLS management of a catalog is trivial – a few seconds work. However, positioning yourself to be able to exploit this new feature could take months for some installations. So we have an article that describes a little history about catalog performance, lists the challenges that the current catalog design faces, and then describes what you need to do to prepare yourself for this next evolution in catalog performance. Once again, even if you are not interested in using RLS to manage your catalogs today, please real this article to find out what you can do now to make the take easier in the future.
An oft-ignored part of your mainframe infrastructure is your Coupling Facility (CF). And that is a shame, because IBM have been steadily investing in the Coupling Facilities ‘operating system’ (Coupling Facility Control Code) and hardware over the years, to improve its performance, functionality, resiliency, and cost of ownership. To try to redress this situation we have provided an article that should be reviewed by anyone that has a CF in your configuration. You never know what savings or invaluable new function is hiding in there, just waiting to be discovered and exploited by you.
If you want to really impress your peers, neighbors, not to mention your families, I have just the answer for you. Your very own z/OS. That you can take with you, wherever you go (Thanksgiving with your in-laws, a camping trip with your family, that fancy new singles resort in the Caribbean…). Yes, I kid you not. It is called zPDT and it allows you to run System z operating systems on a laptop (under Linux). Well, OK, maybe you don’t want to bring it everywhere with you (if you wish to stay married), but there are many potential uses for z/OS on a laptop. If you would like to know more about this, see my article about zPDT.
And, of course, we have our usual roundup of recent APARs, blogs, new and updated Redbooks, and new material from the Washington System Center. I realize that reading APAR descriptions is perhaps not up there with skydiving in terms of while knuckle thrills (if you want that, read the Red Alerts!), but in this issue we have some APARs that really do warrant a few minutes of your time. Some deliver valuable new function. There is at least one data loss APAR. And there are a few that impact performance functions that are used by nearly every z/OS shop.
Consulting and Classes
As you hopefully know, Cheryl and I are very enthusiastic about growing the education and consulting side of Watson and Walker. We love interacting with our customers, and what better way than with good old-fashioned face-to face meetings. We have three classes completed now, with three more coming up over the next few months (please see our website at http://www.watsonwalker.com/education.html for more information). We have been delighted with the really nice comments we have received from our students and were delighted to see that one of the students from our first class returned for the class in Dallas. And as I write this, I’m half way across the Atlantic, on my way to do some sysplex consulting with a large and complex (and very interesting) customer in Europe. When I worked in the ITSO, this was one of the favorite parts of my job, and that hasn’t changed. Apart from the enjoyment of working closely on an interesting project with other techies, every time I go to a customer I see some new really bright idea, many of which I am then able to pass on to our read-ers.
If you would like to talk to us about some classes or some consulting work, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are always delighted to hear from our readers.
Who Says I Can’t Count?
89 pages! That’s the number of pages in this issue. Those of you that know me and how much I like talking were probably saying to yourselves “he’ll never manage it”. And I think that poor Cheryl had just about lost all hope of seeing a sub-100 page issue again. However, a number of our readers commented that they just didn’t have the time to read 166-page tomes, so I tried really hard in this issue to make it more digestible. I hope that you enjoy it.
2. Happy New IBM z13!
A new year and a new System z processor – who says that Santa Claus doesn’t exist?
The new member of the IBM z Systems (notice the name change from System z) family is called the IBM z13 with a machine type of 2964. It provides up to 141 configurable cores (CPs, IFLs, zIIPs, ICFs, and SAPs) with five models. The largest z13 can provide a 40% capacity improvement over the largest zEC12, and the fastest uni-processor is claimed to be 10% faster than the equivalent zEC12 model. One of the major pieces of news is that the large models can provide up to 10 TB of memory (compared to a max on zEC12 of 3 TB), but the cost is about a third of the cost of memory today. A thorough analysis of the new processors will be sent to everyone who receives our CPU Chart. In the meantime, the IBM US Announcement Letter is ENUS115-001 (http://tinyurl.com/IBMz13) and the z13 Redbooks page is at http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redbooks.nsf/pages/z13?Open.
At the same time, IBM announced three new pricing options (ENUS215-001) for the z13 that can significantly reduce the IBM software charges for many sites. We’ll provide a description of these options in the next Tuning Letter. And we’ll be covering them in more detail with all of the other pricing options – and how to choose which are best for your installation – in our April 20-21 z/OS Software Pricing Strategies class in New York City.
3. Updated CPU Chart
We recently delivered the updated version of our z Systems CPU Chart to our subscribers with information about the capacity of the new z13 boxes from just about every perspective you could think of. Total MIPS, MIPS per engine, MIPS per MSU, High RNI MIPS, Low RNI MIPS, and another 36 other facts about each processor – you name it, and it is in there. In fact, there was so much information in it, the email was rejected by some email systems because it’s over 5MB. The current chart contains data on over 1,300 processors, and is sent in both PDF and Excel format. So, if you are a Tuning Letter subscriber or BoxScore customer and you didn’t receive the latest CPU chart, please send an email to email@example.com and, if necessary, we’ll send you a slimmed-down version. Now if I could just find a way to slim myself down as easily…
With this CPU Chart, we are announcing a new copyright policy for the CPU Chart that is different from our Tuning Letter copyright. Our Tuning Letter is restricted to the physical site for which it was purchased. Starting with this CPU Chart, the chart in PDF and Excel format, but only the chart, is available to any employee of the purchasing company. In the case of an outsourcer or facilities management company, your employees may have access to the CPU Chart you purchase, but your customers may not.
We’ve also changed the pricing for those sites that want to subscribe to just the CPU Chart. Instead of the previous $3,000 to $6,000 for a corporate-wide license (primarily used by ISVs for their reps), we now have a single price for the CPU Chart only – $950, and it can be distributed to all employees of the purchasing company. This will be quite useful to the many ISVs and customers who have specified the use of our CPU Chart in their software pricing contracts.
Why would you pay for a CPU Chart of MIPS when IBM publishes them? If you take a look at an extract from our new CPU Chart at www.watsonwalker.com/CPUextract.pdf, you’ll be impressed with the added information. In addition to compiling IBM information from ten web pages, we provide additional calculations such as MP factors, hardware MSUs as compared to software MSUs, the Architectural Level Set, z/VM and Linux MIPS as compared to z/OS MIPS, MSUs in Power Save mode, speed of specialty processors, and differences between MIPS of Low-RNI/High-RNI/SP, and we explain the importance and use of each of these measurements.
The ease of use of the spreadsheet lets you search any data item and sort on anything such as all sets of processors in a desired MSU or MIPS range. In addition to the chart itself, we provide 21 pages of explanation of such concepts as MSUs, MIPS, service units, and RNI. In March, all Tuning Letter, CPU Chart, and BoxScore customers will receive our comprehensive analysis of the new z13 processors. Which are the best bargains, and why you might benefit from using one configuration over another? Once you’ve used it, you’ll love it!
4. Upcoming Watson & Walker Classes
Our next class will be in Seattle on Sunday, March 1, the day before the next SHARE conference and in the same hotel as the conference. This will be our 1-day SYS1.PARMIB: Enhancements and New Features in z/OS 1.13 and 2.1 class. You can get more information about the class on our website at http://www.watsonwalker.com/SYS1.html. One of the reasons for running the class immediately before SHARE is that it gives you the opportunity to speak to developers and other users about topics in the class that you are particularly interested in.
This will be our third time to present this class, and we received very positive feedback from the students on the previous runs of the class (before SHARE in Pittsburgh and before the GSE conference in England). And, because we are ardent believers in the value of education, we are offering a 50% discount on the second and subsequent students from the same company.
For our readers in the Northeast, or those that would like to visit the Northeast (after the snow has gone), we will be running two classes in New York City in the week of April 20. The first class, on the Monday and Tuesday of the week, will be our z/OS Software Pricing Strategies class. If you were bewildered by the bewildering plethora of products, facilities, techniques, and contract options that were available to you before the z13 was announced, just thinking about the choices you have to make now could give you a headache.
Luckily for you, this class is specifically designed to help you identify the strategies and functions that are right for you. One of the most common gripes we hear is that the techies and the contract management people do not speak the same language and do not understand the challenges the other faces. So we designed the class to get those people from your site to sit down together and learn to work as a team. If only one person attends the class, you will only be getting half the value. You can get more information about this class on our website at http://www.watsonwalker.com/Pricing.html. This class also qualifies for the 50% discount for subsequent attendees from your company – ideal for this class!
Finally, our 3-day Exploiting New Features of z/OS to Minimize Costs class (the class we ran in Dallas last December) will be held on the Wednesday to Friday of that week (April 22-24), also in New York City. The class description is too long to repeat here, but basically the class covers all the enhancements in z/OS 1.13 and 2.1 that can help you increase the cost effectiveness of your z/OS environment. Some of the features are new functions that were not available previously. Some deliver ways to deliver the same function but with less CPU time. Others provide ways to make the users of your systems more efficient, so the same number of people can deliver more value to your company. For more information about the class, see the description on our website at http://www.watsonwalker.com/ExploitingzOS.html. Like our other classes, this one is eligible for a 50% tuition discount for the second and subsequent students from a company.
In addition to these classes in the United States, we are also considering offering these and other classes in Europe later this year. If you would be interested in working with us to host a class or are interested in attending these or other classes, please let us know. Cheryl and I love doing these classes. They are a great way to pass on information about this platform that we love. It is also great fun getting together for a few days with like-minded techies to swap experiences, tips, and maybe a few Irish jokes. In the words of one of our students, “This was my first Watson and Walker class. With any luck, it will be the first of many.” We hope you will try us out and feel this way too.
5. Small Correction to RLS Catalogs Article
I got an email from John Eells in IBM, pointing out that in my RLS-Managed Catalogs article (Tuning Letter 2014 No. 4) I said that RLS management is available only for user catalogs. In fact, I should have said ‘user catalogs or volume catalogs‘.
Thank you for catching that slip, John.
6. SMF Articles in Enterprise Tech Journal
Do you like SMF? A lot of techies really like SMF. But I haven’t met many people that love SMF the way Cheryl does. And like anyone with a true passion (whether it is SMF, stamp collecting, or sky-diving), Cheryl just adores passing on her love to SMF to any and all. (Sometimes I feel sorry for people in the seat beside Cheryl on long flights…) But I digress – to pass on her vast experience with SMF to anyone that has an interest, Cheryl is in the middle of a series of articles about SMF in the Enterprise Tech Journal. My name is on the articles too, but compared to Cheryl’s encyclopedic knowledge of SMF, my contribution consists mainly of asking dumb questions.
Just about any question you have about SMF should be answered by one of the existing or upcoming articles. Please take a few minutes to have a read – I can nearly guarantee that you will learn something new about SMF. And if you have any tips or suggestions, we would love to hear from you – you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Performance Issues With COBOL V5?
We received a question recently from one of our readers and a friend for many years. They are in the process of moving from COBOL V4 to COBOL V5. In preparation for the migration, they moved their load libraries from PDSs to PDSEs. They had used a vendor product for many years to improve the performance for their load libraries. Those products don’t support PDSEs, so they were concerned about the performance impact of moving to PDSEs without those products. However they were pleasantly surprised that everything worked fine.
Then they started migrating to COBOL V5. As more programs were migrated over, they started noticing a huge increase in the number of I/Os to the PDSE libraries. After talking to IBM, it emerged that COBOL creates load modules that will not work with VLF.
They are currently looking at a number of options, including enabling PDSE hiperspaces and testing with IEWBLINK parms of FETCHOPT=(PACK,PRIME). This will enable ‘move mode loading’ and they believe it will be the best option to get LLA/VLF performance. They already have Buffer Beyond Close enabled, so the problem is not related to that.
If any of our readers have encountered this issue, please let us know. We are surprised that we have not heard of this issue before if it is as pervasive as it appears to be in this site. If we get any more information, or a resolution or workaround, we will pass it on.
8. Anyone Using zEDC in Production?
Interest in zEDC seems to be growing, and we have had a number of calls from our customers asking if we know of anyone using zEDC in production. We know of one site where zBNA projected that adding zEDC would reduce their peak rolling 4-hour average by the equivalent of two zEC12 CPs.
If you are using zEDC and would be willing to discuss your experiences with us, please send an email to email@example.com. If you would be willing to share a summary of your experiences, we can do so anonymously if that would be better for you. Just let us know. As they say on those marvelous ads on the TV, “Call now, our operators are waiting.”
9. Data Loss APARs
One of our readers was kind enough to warn us about two APARs that describe a potential data loss situation, but that don’t actually use the dreaded term DATALOSS in their descriptions. They are marked HIPER, but they don’t make it clear that they relate to a potential data loss. The APARs are OA45966 (z/OS 1.12-2.1) and OA45952 (z/OS 1.10-1.11). PTFs were available in September – make sure you have them applied. The problem occurs when the Media Manager retries a failed channel program for MIDAW and zHPF requests. The temporary fix is to turn off zHPF and MIDAW via the SETIOS command.
This is just one example of the type of information we provide in the Tuning Letter; imagine what you could gain from reading the whole thing!