Cheryl Watson is known around the world for her passion and enthusiasm for IBM mainframes and the software that runs on them. She is most well-known for her z/OS (formerly MVS) newsletter, Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter, published since 1991.
This is just a short post to remind everyone that the End-of-Marketing date for z13 or z13s upgrades is just a month away. Upgrades that involve real hardware (such as additional channels or zEDC cards or coupling adapters) must be ordered by June 30, 2019. LIC-only upgrades can be ordered up until June 30, 2020 (refer to IBM US announcement letter 918-110 for the details).
This is especially important for anyone that has one or more z13s CPCs with InfiniBand Coupling Links. The IBM ZR1 announcement (118-018) states that the ZR1 and future Z CPCs will not support InfiniBand Coupling Links (the enterprise-class z14, on the other hand, supports both InfiniBand and the newer Coupling Links, which is why this is more of an issue for z13s than z13 customers). So, if you have a z13s today that is connected to other CPCs using InfiniBand Coupling Links, you need to think about how you will replace that CPC. If the CPCs that it is connected to also only have InfiniBand Coupling Links, the ZR1 or its future replacement will not be able to connect to those other CPCs. The only way to ensure full connectivity is to order ICA-SR (Short Range) or CE-LR (Long Range) Coupling Links for your InfiniBand-only z13 or z13s CPCs before the end of June. There is no point thinking about this when you decide to move to a ZR1 6 months from now, and you can no longer get the newer links for your z13 or z13s.
An excellent source of information about End of Marketing and End of Service dates for Z CPCs is the IBM Techdoc TD105503, IBM Mainframe Life Cycle History, maintained by Don Clarke. Another excellent source of information about connecting anything to a Z CPC is the IBM Redbook, IBM Z Connectivity Handbook, SG24-5444.
The latest 113-page issue of Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter is now available on our publications website. If you are not a Tuning Letter subscriber, you can view the Table of Contents here.
This issue opens with Cheryl’s Trip Report from SHARE in Phoenix. This was the first SHARE in 40 years that Cheryl attended but didn’t present at. But don’t think for a minute that she put in any less effort. Being Cheryl, she picked out and attended the sessions that she thought would be of the most interest to our readers, or the ones where she could best provide input to influence vendor’s future directions. Have a read of Cheryl’s Trip Report to find out how she was helping you at SHARE in Phoenix.
How many times have you experienced a serious outage, only to discover that there was a warning message on the console, informing you of the impending doom? Of course, you only discover the message after the outage. Or even worse, when you discover the message, a colleague says “Oh, I saw that message, but I didn’t think it was important.” Grrr. We’ve all been there. But to try to reduce the number of these occasions in the future, our colleague Mario Bezzi wrote an IMPORTANT_MESSAGES health check that runs under the IBM Heath Checker for z/OS infrastructure. The program checks console messages as they are issued against a pre-defined list of messages. The package includes a list of messages that have been identified as being really important by the product owner, or in a Redbook, or an IBM presentation, or an IBM Techdoc. You can also add your own messages. If any of the messages in the list are issued, Mario’s health check will generate a Health Checker exception. This gives you a single place (the SDSF CK option, for example) to check whenever your system starts misbehaving. The package containing the code and documentation will be available soon on the Free Tools page of our website.
z/OS 2.3 is the last z/OS release that will support user key common storage. IBM issued a Statement of Direction to that effect in 2017, and since z/OS 1.9, the default setting of the VSM ALLOWUSERKEYCSA parameter has been NO. However, there are two related functions that are also going away in z/OS 2.4, and they have received very little attention until recently. In fact, as of today (May 15th), the Parmlib parameters that control those functions still have not been documented in the z/OS MVS Initialization and Tuning Reference. IF you are using one of those functions, addressing that might be a non-trivial task, so we strongly encourage you to read the Bye Bye User Key Common Storage article now, and not the week before you start installing z/OS 2.4.
Speaking of z/OS 2.4. As you know, IBM previewed the next z/OS release on February 26th, in IBM US announcement letter 219-013. Our z/OS 2.4 Preview article picks out the enhancements that we think are especially interesting to our readers, and also points out some important dates. Even if you don’t plan on moving to z/OS 2.4 right away, it is worthwhile to check our review so that you know what lies in your future (or in the case of functions that are being discontinued, what does not lie in your future!).
Finally, it is nearly two years since we launched our subscriber-only publications site. The site contains every Tuning Letter, right back to Cheryl’s first one in 1991. It also contains hundreds of presentations and other material delivered by Cheryl over the years. And it is all accessible via a powerful search engine. We have received many kind and insightful comments from our readers over the last two years. We have also recently made some enhancements to the site, so we thought that this would be a good opportunity to provide our subscribers with updated information and tips about how to get the best value from the website. If your company has a subscription to the Tuning Letter, but you have not registered for a userid on the site, we strongly encourage you to do so.
Plus, of course, the Tuning Letter has all the usual information about interesting or important APARs, new IBM Redbooks and Techdocs, and upcoming conferences. We hope that you will have time to read it and send us your feedback. The more comments we receive, the better job we can do of addressing your needs. Bye for now, and as Cheryl would say, ‘Stay Tuned’.
Hi from sunny Phoenix! Cheryl, Brenda, Mario, and myself arrived here yesterday evening and are looking forward to an exciting week. After my first pass
over the list of sessions, I have 117 presentations that I would like to see. And that doesn’t include the closed door sessions, one-on-one meetings, and lunches and dinners that we’ve arranged with some of our customers – I can tell already that I’m going to have to go on another diet when I get home.
For a change, we are only presenting one session at this SHARE. Mario and I will be presenting the Watson & Walker zRoadshow session on Friday morning at 10:00 in room 104B. But don’t worry, Cheryl will be there to keep an eye on us and contribute her experiences and thoughts when I miss something.
Of course, the hot topic at this SHARE will be the recently previewed z/OS 2.4. You can get more information about 2.4 at the following sessions:
That is all that I have so far, but please check back later as we will be adding more sessions as we find out about them.
If you were at the last SHARE conference in St. Louis, you should be aware that Bill Keller and the z/OS Content Design and Development team presented IBM’s work on new ‘content solutions’ – a content solution is a collection of web pages that attempt to provide all the information that you need to plan for and implement some new z/OS technologies – two popular examples are Container Pricing and Pervasive Encryption. Bill also asked attendees for their input. After all, these pages are intended to help customers, so kudos to IBM for asking customers to help them decide what information should be on the pages. Well that work has continued, and there are now six content solutions available. More importantly, IBM is bringing a team of eight specialists to Phoenix to present on their work, discuss future plans and directions and, most importantly, talk to customers about what you need to make your job easier – they will all be wearing badges saying “Let’s Talk”, so make the best of this opportunity. They will be presenting the following sessions:
This is your opportunity to influence the type of information that IBM will provide in the future to help you implement the latest and hottest IBM technologies. If you are at SHARE and don’t make the most of this opportunity, you really can’t complain if you think that you are not being provided with the information you need, in the format that you need it.
We will be updating this post as we get more information, so please drop back regularly. If you will be attending SHARE, please say hello to Cheryl, Brenda, Mario, and/or myself. We would really love to hear about your experiences and your ideas on how we can make the Tuning Letter even more valuable. If you currently don’t subscribe to the Tuning Letter and would like a subscription, anyone that signs up during SHARE week will get a 20% discount on your first year’s subscription if you get the secret code from one of us :).
The latest 134-page issue of Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter is now available on our publications website. We emailed all subscribers last night to let them know, and have already been receiving nice feedback from readers. The Table of Contents is now available on our public website for anyone to view.
Just about anyone that is using Db2 data sharing will be interested in our article about Asynchronous System-Managed Duplexing. This function has been available for over 2 years now, but because it requires Db2 V12, customer takeup has been a bit slow. However, one of our readers, Daniel Hamiel from Nedbank in South Africa, kindly shared Nedbank’s experiences with this new capability. The article starts with a reasonably detailed description of how this new flavor of structure duplexing differs from the System-Managed Duplexing capability that has been available for many years. It then describes the new performance metrics that are provided to help you evaluate it, and provides information about how Nedbank reduced their peak batch CPU consumption by over 700 MIPS (!) by switching to Asynchronous System-Managed Duplexing.
Regular Tuning Letter readers will recall that we published an article about zHyperWrite in Tuning Letter 2018 No. 2. Following that article, we were contacted by John Donoghue in AIB Bank in Ireland, who kindly offered to work with us on an article about their experiences with zHyperWrite. AIB’s data centers are roughly 20 km apart and they use synchronous disk mirroring, yet zHyperWrite has helped drop their response times for Db2 and IMS log writes to 0.4 milliseconds – and that is for the system that is remote to the primary disk subsystem! The article describes AIB’s experiences with implementing zHyperWrite for Db2 logs and IMS WADS, and their plans to expand that to include System Logger, IMS OLDS, and MQ logs in the future. If you use synchronous mirroring, this article will definitely be of interest to you.
We also have an excellent article by IBM’s Glenn Wilcock about ways to reduce HSM’s impact on your peak Rolling 4-Hour Average. Glenn covers recent and not-so-recent HSM enhancements, and we also have supporting information to help you get the best value from HSM’s SMF records. Some customers are moving nearly 200 TB of data per day with HSM, and it is not uncommon to see that HSM is one of the largest CPU consumers on a system. If you use HSM, take a few minutes to read this article – we can guarantee that you will find something in there that will be of interest to you.
Finally, we have articles with valuable tips for COBOL V6 compiles, using DFSORT to manipulate SMF data, understanding RMF SMF fields for zIIP processors, significantly reducing zSecure CPU consumption (from over 3000 seconds per day, down to under 10 seconds!), and our usual review of interesting APARs, Techdocs, Redbooks, and upcoming conferences. We hope you will enjoy it. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions, or if you have an experience that you would like to share with your peers.
If you are going to be at SHARE in Phoenix, please say hello. Cheryl will be there, as will Mario Bezzi, Brenda White, and myself (Frank), and we would love to hear your news and views, and suggestions for future Tuning Letter topics. Bye for now.
The latest issue of Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter is now available on our publications website. This one took a little longer to deliver than originally planned. However there was some late-breaking news on Container Pricing changes that we wanted to include, and then we bumped up against the Thanksgiving holiday and some other large projects that our publisher was in the middle of. The Table of Contents will be available on our public website tomorrow for anyone to view.
This issue has articles about Container Pricing (40 pages of must-read information if you are wondering if one or more of the Container Pricing options would be right for you), an important customer experience describing their move from a full speed z13 to a sub-capacity z14, another customer experience about the use of free loaner CPs to determine the value of adding more capacity to an existing CPC, a description of our experiences with the recently-enhanced Knowledge Center, and some valuable user experiences with high MQ CHIN CPU time, the Meltdown ‘remediation’, and some tips on reducing the z/OSMF startup time, especially on a zPDT-based system. Plus there are all the usual news and views and lists of interesting APARs and documents. We hope you will agree with us that it was worth the wait.
On another topic – regular Tuning Letter readers might remember that three years ago I presented at the SPARTA User Group meeting in Raleigh, and one of the attendees was a gentleman (Duane Reaugh) that looked suspiciously like a certain well known North Pole resident. Well, the SPARTA folks kindly asked me back again this year. I was there last night, and was just about to start my session when what should I hear, but the sound of sleigh bells out in the hall, followed by a personal appearance from the man himself, in his full formal wear.That’s right, Santa Claus was there for my presentation, confirming my theory that Santa is a mainframe user. I guess that when you build 1,000,000,000 toys a year, you need a real computer to run everything for you!
That’s all the news for now – I have to get back to the 2018 No. 4 issue because I don’t want a lump of coal for Christmas! As always, please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions, or if you would like to work with us on an article for a future Tuning Letter issue.
It’s been a while since our last blog post, so we thought that we would pass along some recent news to brighten your mid-week for you.
First, in case, you missed it, IBM announced their mid-life update for the z14 and ZR1 CPCs. IBM US Announcement Letter 118-075, issued on October 2nd, lists a number of new and enhanced functions. First up is a new CFCC Level (23) with a new function that should be especially popular with anyone that has a sysplex that spans many kilometers. Also of interest to anyone with standalone Coupling Facilities is the ability to dynamically update the coupling link configuration without requiring a power-on-reset of the CF CPC – this basically delivers a z/OS-like dynamic I/O reconfiguration capability, but without having to have a z/OS system on the CF CPC – very nice. OSA Express 7S and RoCE Express 2 have been upgraded from 10Gb to 25Gb. There are a load of usability enhancements to the HMC. And STP usability has been improved with new support for spitting and merging Coordinated Timing Networks. There is also hardware support for Db2 V12 to use zHyperLinks for log writes. For more information, refer to the announcement letter and the IBM Redbooks z14 Technical Introduction, SG24-8450-01, and z14 Technical Guide, SG24-8451-01 (this one is on the way).
Next up – a new version of SCRT – V26.1.0. If you have z/OS 2.3, you move to the new version by installing the PTF for APAR OA56092. If you are still on an older release, you can download the new SCRT version from here. This new version was made available on October 10th, and (VERY IMPORTANT) this is the version that you must use to create the SCRT reports for your October usage. If you were not aware, the IBM terms and conditions state that you must always use the latest available version of SCRT. You can find a list of the changes in this new version here.
Related to the new SCRT version is a new flavor of the New Application Solution that was announced as part of the Container Pricing announcement in 2017. This offering (called Solution Capacity Licensing Charge (SCLC)) breaks the mold (or maybe brings us back to the 1970s) in that it offers billing for qualifying applications that is based on total accumulated CPU consumption for the application, rather than on the peak Rolling 4-Hour Average. We will have an article about this option, and an update on the DevTest Container option in the next issue of the Tuning Letter (coming soon).
Containers, containers, containers! They’re on everyone’s minds these days. So much so, that we’ve been presenting several sessions at conferences lately on containers and software licensing options in general. We’ve just uploaded six new presentations we gave at the SHARE St Louis conference in August and the zTech University conference in Hollywood Florida last week. You can download them all here.
Next – this is a very important one. As long as I can remember (which isn’t very long!), z customers have been griping about Knowledge Center. Well now you no longer have an excuse – IBM has had a survey available since August, asking customers about what improvements they would like to see in Knowledge Center, and asking you to prioritize your wishlist items. Given people’s comments about Knowledge Center, it is very disappointing to hear that very few people have actually responded to the survey. It literally takes 5 minutes to complete, and IBM is already hard at work on a number of the enhancements that are mentioned in the survey. If you rely on IBM manuals to do your job effectively, PLEASE take a few minutes to complete the survey and send IBM your comments. In today’s business environment, the things that get fixed are those that generate the most noise. If you want IBM to improve Knowledge Center, you have to let IBM know that there are more than just a handful of customers that care about this. This is just like elections – if you don’t get out and vote, you are in no position to complain if you don’t like the result.
Greetings from beautiful (and sunny!) Sacramento, California, home to the 2018 Winter SHARE conference. Cheryl and I are here for the week. You might remember that Cheryl had to skip the last SHARE conference due to an impending knee replacement operation. But with that behind her (or maybe under her?), Bionic Cheryl is back and rarin’ to go.
We sat down yesterday afternoon to look at which sessions we would like to attend. Fortunately, there is a little less pressure this time around – we only have 107 sessions that we have identified so far that we would like to see. No problem for Cheryl, but I think that I will need to get one of those motorized skate boards so that I can keep up with her.
If you are at SHARE, please come and see us on Friday morning at The Cheryl and Frank zRoadshow (session 21802) at 10:00.
And that brings me to some more great news. We are delighted to announce that Mario Bezzi, previously of IBM Italy, has joined the Watson & Walker team! Those of you that attended the ITSO Sysplex Workshops will remember Mario, who shared the workshops with me. Mario is one of the smartest people I know, and also one of the nicest. I call him my guardian angel, because he is always there to answer my questions. My wife (who has met Mario many times) calls him her ‘other husband’. Hmm – somethings I think she wishes that I was the other husband :). Anyway, Mario is known and loved by customers all over Europe, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a vast network of contacts and friends, to Watson & Walker. If you are at SHARE this week, please make sure you grab us and take the opportunity to meet this latest member of our team. You can read more about Mario at http://watsonwalker.com/about-us/.
We ALSO have Scott Barry here at SHARE this week. Scott is another member of the Watson & Walker team. Scott provides technical support for BoxScore V1, and is one of the most experienced, and most helpful capacity management experts you could hope to meet. Scott has been with Cheryl for many years, but this is my first chance to meet him in person. It is like a family reunion for the Watson & Walker team this week, which I think is very much in line with the general feeling at SHARE conferences.
We hope that we will get to see many of our readers this week. If you were not able to attend this conference, hopefully we will see you in St. Louis in August. That’s all for now. We’ll be in touch again very soon.
STOP PRESS – Latest News. This year, SHARE introduced a new reward in honor of John Ehrman. John was the SHARE father of Assembler, tirelessly and enthusiastically promoting Assembler for experienced hands and newbies alike. Sadly, John passed away last month, but to honor his memory and his service, SHARE created the The John R. Ehrman Award for Sustained Excellence in Technical Education for individuals that have shown a long term dedication to SHARE and its principals of sharing and passing on their passion to the next generation. Cheryl was one of the two winners of this award and was absolutely thrilled to be recognized. For a video of the event, click here (kindly provided by Morten Friis from JNData).
Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter 2017 No. 3 Available
The 122-page 2017 No. 3 issue of Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter is now available on our www.watsonwalkerpublications.com website. We have been getting lots of queries from readers about the new IBM z14s. Obviously the IBM proposal writers have been on overtime :). Given the interest from our readers, and the level of marketing activity from IBM, we felt it appropriate to nearly dedicate this issue to the z14.
We start with a 39-page review of the z14. As you will no doubt have noticed, the bulk of the press coverage of the z14 has focused on its role in Pervasive Encryption. That is certainly interesting, but we felt that it was doing a disservice to the many other exciting enhancements on the z14. Therefore, the article focuses on those other enhancements, such as: zHyperLinks (expected to deliver 20 MICROsecond disk response times), Virtual Flash Memory (replacing the Flash Express PCIE cards with real memory), compression enhancements, new long distance coupling links, improved workload balancing for MQ shared queues, and many other enhancements.
We also describe a new marketing tool from IBM called the z Benefit Estimator. Yes, we know, that dreaded ‘marketing’ word. However, we think that this new tool has the potential to become quite popular with technicians. Its objective to help you put a dollar value on the exploitation of ‘new’ features such as large pages, SIMD, and so on. It is NOT intended to be a very accurate capacity planning tool. But it is based on real IBM measurements and on data about your configuration. It presents the results in just half a dozen easy-to-understand slides, and it might be just what you need to convince your management to let you invest the time in investigating and implementing some of the new technologies that are built into your z systems, just waiting to be exploited.
There is also a short article describing changes to the z/OS manuals and the website that houses them. Having all this great new technology is all well and fine, but without supporting documentation to help you set it up and use it, what is the point? The Content Design and Development group (previously ‘Information Development’) have been busy on a suite of enhancements to coincide with the general availability of z/OS 2.3. You might have already noticed some of them, such as the fact that the PDFs can now be updated every day, rather than once every quarter (KnowledgeCenter can be updated every week now). One of their goals is that when a PTF that includes updates to a manual is closed, the associated manual will be updated nearly immediately, rather than months later. See the article for the full list of enhancements.
And, of course, we have the normal helping of user experiences, new Redbooks and White papers, interesting APARs, and information about upcoming conferences. Click here for the full table of contents of this issue. If you are not currently a subscriber, but would like to start a subscription, click here to be brought to our online ordering page.
We hope you will enjoy this issue, and consider it a vital part of your planning for any potential upgrades to z14. As always, we love to hear from our readers, so please send us your feedback.
Cheryl Watson’s CPU Chart August 2017
On October 5, 2017, we emailed the August 2017 CPU Chart to paid subscribers, and it was uploaded to our subscribers-only publications site on November 15. The chart is based on z/OS 2.2 LSPRs and includes the 269 new IBM z14 processors that were announced on July 17, 2017.
The first chart provides MIPS based on z/OS 2.2 in a multi-image configuration, while the second chart provides the speeds of specialty engines (IFLs, zIIPs, zAAPs, and CFs). This CPU Chart provides a comprehensive list of 1,733 IBM z Systems processor configurations. The chart provides the number of physical CPs, service units per second, software licensing groups, our estimated workload MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second), our estimate of MP degradation, our estimated MIPS by MSU, and many other useful items (over 40 attributes for each model).
Due to limitations on the website, we’ve made two minor changes to the CPU Charts. On the Excel spreadsheet, we are no longer using password-protect on the primary CPU Chart sheet. If you accidentally modify it, you can always get a fresh copy from the website. Also, the spreadsheet used to have a direct link to the PDF document that explains each of the fields. We had to remove the link, but recommend that you read the PDF to fully understand the CPU Chart.
We just sent Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter 2018 No. 2 to our publishers, all 153 pages of it. It should be available on our publications website by the end of next week. We wanted to let you know now, so that you will have an opportunity to chat to us, or to other interested attendees, if you have any questions and you are going to be at SHARE in St. Louis next week. The Tuning Letter has articles on the following topics:
First and foremost, Welcome to our new colleague, Brenda White!
What Is Happening With IBM’s Websites?
User Experiences (COBOL Compiles, Benefiting from Sub-capacity models, IDCAMS REPRO performance issue, and an OAM security exit that consumes LOTS of CPU).
Overview of IBM’s new baby z14 – the ZR1 CPC.
Introduction to Transparent Cloud Tiering, by Glenn Wilcock.
All you need to know to get zHyperWrite up and running, and why you would want to do so.
Description of the new zHyperLinks and a discussion of how they can affect your mainframe and disaster recovery strategies.
Plus all our usual sections about interesting APARs, new IBM Techdocs and Redbooks, blogs, and upcoming conference information.
We hope that our subscribers will enjoy this new issue. If you are going to be at SHARE, please let us know what you think, and what you would like to see in future issues.
Watson & Walker Descends on St. Louis
The summer 2018 SHARE conference kicks off in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, August 12th. This conference is always one of the highlights of our year. And this one is going to be particularly special because 60% of Watson & Walker will be attending – Cheryl and Tom, Alan, Brenda, Mario, and Frank. How many other companies can say that over half their staff will be at SHARE?
Cheryl and/or I will be presenting a number of sessions:
Tuesday 13:45, Room 231, Session 23716, Cheryl Watson’s Hard Truths on SW Pricing (this is our vendor session)
Wednesday 16:30, Room 105, Session 23516, Container Pricing: The Answer to Your Accountant’s Wishes?
Thursday 08:30, Room 104, Session 23286, Performance and Capacity Insights for your Outsourced z/OS Mainframe, co-presenting with Brent Philips and Charles Hinkle.
Friday 10:00, Room 224, Session 23515, The Cheryl and Frank zRoadshow.
We also have a stand in the Expo area, beside the IBM and IntelliMagic stands. We hope that you will drop by, say hello, and meet with our team.