- IBM Announces New z990 Processors
- New Pricing Options
- z/OS Enhancements
- Enhancements to ESS Copy Services
- The Next Cheryl Watson’s TUNING Letter, CPU Chart and BoxScore Release
1. IBM Announces New z990 Processors
Yesterday, IBM announced a high-end extension to the zSeries processor family – the z990, available in 32 models. See announcement 103-142 at http://www.ibm.com/news. Depending on the configuration, the estimated performance delivered by the processor will range from 450 to more than 9000 MIPS. This is a very exciting step and shows that the mainframe is thriving.
Various publications and Web sites have been leaking details on this processor for months, using code names such as G8, Galileo and T-Rex (an obvious inside joke directed towards those who still think of mainframe processors as dinosaur technology). The physical footprint of the processor is about the same as that of a z900, except that it is slightly shorter. It is fluid cooled, although it can revert to air cooling while the fluid system is being serviced.
The basic hardware building block of the z990 is known as a “book,” and each machine can be configured or upgraded to contain one to four books. Each book contains 12 processors, of which 8 can be used for application work (two are spares and two are SAPs – System Assist Processors). The 8 application processors can be configured as IFLs (Linux processors), as ICFs (Coupling Facility processors), as additional SAPs or as regular processors. Each book comes with 8 GB of memory installed, which can be expanded in 8 GB increments up to a maximum of 64 GB. In terms of I/O load, each book contains 12 STI (Self Timed Interconnect) connections, each with a data capacity of up to 2 GB per second. Up to 512 channels can be defined per CEC, configured as two logical channel subsystems (LCSS), each supporting up to 256 channels.
The z990s have a totally new design, including superscalar technology, in order to handle the high-volume activity in today’s Web-based world. The z990 will be a machine type 2084 and will be available with four different hardware models, depending on the number of books installed:
Model A08 – One book, 8 application processors
Model B16 – Two books, 16 application processors
Model C24 – Three books, 24 application processors
Model D32 – Four books, 32 application processors
Independent of the hardware model, the z990 can also be configured to control the number of processor engines that are active in each book. This ability to activate from one to 32 processors (assuming a Model D32) will also provide many upgrade paths and pricing options. Software using the STSI instruction to obtain the model type will receive back a model number ranging from 301 (one processor active) to 332 (all 32 processors active).
There are three key dates in 2003 associated with the rollout of the z990:
June 16th, 2003
* Models A08 and B16 will be available
* Support will be provided for 1 channel subsystem
* Support will be provided for up to 15 LPARs
* Upgrades will be available to z900 customers (all models)
* All software compatibility changes will be in place
September 15th, 2003
* z/VM V4R4 will be available with z990 exploitation support including On/Off Capacity on Demand (CoD), Active CP and Customer Initiated Upgrade (CIU) Activation
October 31st, 2003
* Models C24 and D32 will be available
* Support will be provided for 2 channel subsystems
* Support will be provided for up to 30 LPARs
* Support will be provided for the new PCIXCC cryptographic function
* z/OS V1R4 will be upgraded to include z990 exploitation support
Operating systems supported by the z990 will include OS/390 R10 through z/OS 1.4, with the exception of z/OS 1.1.
The performance estimates for the new models can be a little confusing. As an example, IBM indicates that the smallest model, the 301, is 450 MIPS. But IBM’s published performance estimates indicates that the capacity relative performance of the 301 is 1.54 to 1.61 times the 2064-2C1, which would appear to make the 301 in the range of 466 to 487 MIPS. But you can’t use this simple calculation because the LSPR basis has changed. (We’re very glad to see that IBM has updated the LSPRs.) The LSPR benchmarks now include Web-based work (but no TSO), all are run in 64-bit mode, all are run under z/OS and all are now run in LPAR mode. Therefore, for this first set of models, it will be a little less straightforward to determine the expected performance for a move from a non-zSeries machine to a z990 machine. Once you’re on a zSeries machine, the LSPRs will once again provide consistent guidance as you move within the zSeries. We’ll have much more about these LSPRs and the new processors in our next TUNING Letter.
Here’s an extract from the announcement that summarizes what the new processors mean:
“By providing an increase in capacity almost triple that of the z900 Model 216, doubling the number of CHPIDs, doubling the number of LPARs, quadrupling the number of HiperSockets, and increasing the number of FICON channels by 25%, this server will provide you with the ability to improve application performance, increase the number of users supported, support more transactions, increase scalability, and consolidate workloads beyond what is available on a z800 or a z900.”
2. New Pricing Options
In conjunction with the new z990 processor, IBM also announced (203-130) some pricing changes that could work to the advantage of some customers.
The Workload License Charges (WLC) pricing model will have its entry-level value reduced for variable priced products from 45 MSUs to 3 MSUs. This will make WLC more attractive for installations that are running small workloads. This change will be effective July 1st and will apply to customers using both z990 and z900 machines. It is also IBM’s intent to make this new pricing effective for z800 users sometime in September or October of this year.
Also in September of this year, z990 users with cyclical workloads will be able to activate one or more of their unused processor engines for a 24-hour period. This new feature will be known as On/Off Capacity on Demand, or OOCoD. This is something that can be requested by the customer and made available in just a few hours. The cost for “renting” each of these spare engines for a day will be approximately 1/45 (2.2%) the cost of buying the processor outright. Users who choose this option should understand that they are not “renting to own,” and after 45 days of rental they will have paid the equivalent price of the engine but will still not own it. This might be an attractive option for handling an unexpected temporary workload spike, but should be examined carefully in terms of its cost. Because adding more engines will also dynamically alter the model type returned by the STSI instruction, software that is sensitive to the model type of the host machine may have problems after you use this feature.
3. z/OS Enhancements
In yesterday’s announcement 203-131, IBM described enhancements to z/OS 1.4, described additional enhancements to z/OS 1.5 (1Q04) and provided the first look at z/OS 1.6 (September 2004).
The biggest news for z/OS 1.4 (in our opinion) is the release of z/OS V1 DFSMS Transactional VSAM Services (TVS). This is the feature that allows batch and CICS users to update the same VSAM file. This has been delayed several times, and it’s exciting that it will finally be available. The June 13 availability includes support for the z990. (Support for the z990 will also be available for OS/390, z/OS 1.2 and z/OS 1.3.) In October, z/OS 1.4 will have an additional enhancement to support two LCSS and up to 30 LPARs.
z/OS 1.5 enhancements include support for DFSMShsm fast replication using the new ESS Copy Services (described below), additions to RMF, WLM importance-based initiator control and several TCP/IP applications that support IPv6.
z/OS 1.6 will require a new architectural level set, so it can only be run on a zSeries machine (z800, z900 and z990), but not a 9672 or Multiprise machine. Additionally z/OS 1.6 will support up to 60 LPARs and more than 16 logical processors in an image. (Won’t that mess up a few products and reports!)
Announcement 203-132 describes similar enhancements to z/OS.e 1.4 and 1.5.
4. Enhancements to ESS Copy Services
Yesterday IBM also announced enhancements to the Copy Services functions available as options to users of the Enterprise Storage Server (ESS or Shark). The facilities will become available on June 27, 2003. See announcement 103-141.
The FlashCopy facility will be enhanced to provide improved performance. New functionality will also be provided, including the ability to use FlashCopy at the data set level, and the ability to make incremental FlashCopies.
The PPRC (Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy) facility will also be enhanced to provide more functionality through a new option known as Asynchronous Cascading PPRC.
5. The Next Cheryl Watson’s TUNING Letter, CPU Chart & BoxScore Release
Our TUNING Letter subscribers will soon receive our updated CPU Chart. In our next TUNING Letter 2003, No. 3, we’ll have a more detailed discussion of these exciting new announcements, including much more detail about the LSPR changes and the upcoming enhancements to z/OS.
The LSPR changes require a new release of BoxScore, our product that tells you exactly what performance you’re receiving on the new processors. We believe that BoxScore will be needed even more now that the LSPR benchmarks have changed. For example, IBM no longer publishes TSO benchmark results. Although you may not be able to determine what to expect from TSO on the new processors, BoxScore allows you to see exactly what service TSO received. For more information see http://www.watsonwalker.com/boxscore.html.