IBM Mainframe Systems and Infrastructure Decisions
IBM has made significant improvements to its next generation of mainframe machines. The z series mainframe runs more than 40 percent faster than its predecessor and is up to
ninety percent more energy efficient. Mainframes remain an important part of IBM hardware and software technology and its data center management strategies.
IBM Mainframe System Resources and Strategies:
Investment in Hardware Infrastructure
The capability to have other computers plug into an IBM mainframe system serves to extend mainframe strengths in security and always-on availability to other systems.
The mainframe can then be used to manage the hardware and software applications.
In 2012, IBM introduced its zEnterprise EC12 line of mainframe computers. The new models added capabilities to address rapidly growing areas of enterprise technology:
cloud computing, flash-memory storage, green computing,
web data accumulation / analytics, and business analytics.
Advantages associated with the new IBM mainframe design include:
- Providing data center integration and the ability to treat the data center as a single system.
- Efficiently blending tasks and parceling out parts of a complex application to different computer systems.
- Incorporating Linux and UNIX machines to perform complex applications - easier and at less cost.
Mainframe Infrastructure Challenges
Organizational enterprise has a substantial investment in mainframe infrastructure and inventory of applications specific to its business model and operations. Applications developed 30 or more years ago with legacy programming languages and IBM system software remain in use. The challenge is to integrate back-end legacy systems with newer client/server and web-based systems and deliver reliable message queuing between applications. There is considerable complexity associated with the
efficient and reliable movement of data. The goal is to accurately identify and model the business logic, structure of the data, and processing throughput. Then to cost effectively repurpose existing software assets and establish a framework for long term maintainability.
There are multiple operating strategies to select from: SOA: Service Oriented Architecture, web servicization, platform migration, and application migration. A web-enabled application can be accessed through the organization web site or a native application. An advantage associated with a web-enabled application is the utilization of other web services for security and personalization. The web service information also can be used in helping administrators troubleshoot mainframe applications.
In many situations the work force which designed, coded, and maintained these applications will be reaching retirement age.
Linux and IBM Mainframe Systems
In conjunction with making significant code contributions to
the open source community, IBM has been incorporating Linux into its mainframe
systems. By combining open source software with IBM proprietary hardware; this
provides customer flexibility and choice for reducing the costs of software
products. The Linux mainframes support the same open source operating systems
as IBM Linux Power servers and including many applications and tools. This
common environment applies to all of IBM major server platforms and is designed
to allow clients to move and scale workloads.
The Linux Foundation has an Open Mainframe
Project. Organizations from academia, government and corporate sectors
contribute to the advancing the development of Linux on mainframes through better security and performance. IBM strategy is to expose the Linux mainframes to new developer communities and stimulate innovation around this code base. IBM LinuxONE Developer Cloud offers open access to corporate and third-party developers to encourage application
development for the new platforms at no charge. IBM also has been releasing open source software. The zAware is an enterprise-class analytics software used in mainframe installations. It monitors and analyzes logs and cloud-based events and applies triggers to automation processes.
IBM has committed to enable FOSS products, such as Apache Spark and MongoDB, on z Systems. IBM has agreements with Red Hat and SUSE; these Linux-variants are available on IBM mainframe systems. IBM executed an agreement with Canonical Ltd. to have a version of Ubuntu for IBM's z Systems to provide scale-out and cloud
Mainframe Technology in Transition
IBM z/OS Operating System Scalability, Performance, and Problem Determination
The IBM z/OS mainframe operating system provides for economies of scale and adaptability of resources. Used in conjunction with the IBM System z10 Enterprise Class server, the z/OS operating system can significantly reduce requirements for partitioning application and data on unnatural boundaries. For large z/OS
mainframe installations, a proper configuration will: 1- Consolidate enterprise datastores. 2- Co-locate applications close to the data. 3- Reduce the incidence of siloed data in the enterprise. HiperDispatch provides improved performance by distributing and managing z/OS workloads on scalable n-way systems.
The z/OS V1.10 operating system has an expanded featureset and administrative interface for problem identification, recommended solutions, and resource migration.
|Featureset and Utilities
|Capacity Provisioning Manager
||Monitors z/OS systems on System z10 servers. It can be used to activate and deactivate temporary capacity automatically or by user input.
|Configuration Assistant for z/OS Communications Server
||Adds file import capabilities and support for IP address group definition; this serves to make the Configuration Assistant more responsive to networking requirements.
|IBM Health Checker for z/OS
||Provides additional checking capability and support for log browsing and saving data across IPLs: Initial Programs Loads. It also supports and integrates Migration Health Checks.
|Hardware Configuration Manager
||Supports configuration packages and the importing and exporting of I/O configuration data.
|z/OS Management Facility
||A utility with a new interface used in the system administration of the z/OS operating system.
|z/OS PFA: Predictive Failure Analysis
||Monitors the rate at which SMF records are generated. Alerts are generated for proactively reacting to system problems.
|z/OS Runtime Diagnostics
||Monitors the system message log and address space resources. It is used in the gathering of data required for real-time decisions in the event of a system problem.
IBM z/VSE Operating System - Technology Support
The z/VSE mainframe operating system builds upon IBM zEnterprise 196 and IBM System z10 technology:
- The capability to dynamically add logical CPs for reduced preplanning and the need for planned outages; the z/VSE system has the capability to adjust workload requirements.
- Large 1 megabyte page support for data spaces to more efficiently utilize large processor storage and provide the capability for improving performance in long-running applications with intensive data space access.
IBM z/VM Operating System
- Scalability, Efficiency, and Throughput
The z/VM operating system has been optimized for: 1- scalability and reducing system overhead. 2- increasing system and guest throughput. 3- consolidating workloads on the zEnterprise 196 and System z10 servers. Data-in-memory techniques enhance the scalability and performance of memory-intensive workloads.
The z/VM operating system provides flexibility in managing enterprise application workloads:
- By virtualizing processor, memory, communications, I/O, and networking resources.
- Through the use of HiperSockets for the implementation of virtual networks.
- Through the utilization of DCSS: Discontiguous Saved Segment support for storing Linux program executables in a single z/VM memory location, and sharing the executables with hosted Linux systems.
- With a z/VM performance toolkit for monitoring and performance reporting.
Mainframe Training by SYS-ED
Mainframe information technology is in transition. However, application development is not going to be exclusively JEE or Microsoft .NET. IBM system software still will have a significant role.
- IBM CICS Transaction Server will account for a substantial share of overall application server processing.
- IBM DB2 is and multiplatform object-SQL Database Management System; DB2 for z/OS has few direct competitors.
- IBM WebSphere MQ middleware is the industry leading message switching and routing software; it supports IBM's WebSphere Application Server and Rational development platform, and a variety of third party database and web server platforms.
- Enterprises are still utilizing IBM-IMS, CA-IDMS, and Software AG ADABAS legacy datastores.
Since 1980, SYS-ED has been offering industry standard mainframe courses and training programs for Fortune 1000 corporations, government municipalities, healthcare providers, and consulting companies. We have a history of success in providing specialized training services on IBM mainframe systems: operations, programming skills, programming languages, telecommunications, and system software. SYS-ED's mainframe training service has been developed and extended to serve
as an alternative to the IBM academic initiative for mainframe education. It has been designed to augment IBM support centers.
Our staff of system consultants are teachers who can demonstrate and explain. And truth be told, we get called upon by industry leading software and consulting companies, including IBM, to teach courses both for clients and their own in-house staff of software engineers and application developers
When information technology professionals leave a SYS-ED mainframe course, they
will have documentation, training aids, and sample and skeleton programs which can be used back on the job to help in performing specific tasks. In addition to instructor-led classroom instruction, industry standard mainframe courses also are available for presentation in a distance-learning delivery medium.