Happy New Mainframe Day! Introducing the zBC12 (Post #2)

IBM has posted a long and detailed frequently asked questions list which covers the zEnterprise BC12 and other related announcements today. Here are some more interesting details from my point of view:

  • Ever since the IBM z890 mainframe model introduced in 2004, IBM has offered an A01 subcapacity model with a CP capacity of about 26 PCIs and 4 MSUs. The z10BC dropped the MSUs down to 3 but otherwise retained the same approximate PCI rating. That changes a bit now: the zBC12 starts at about 50 PCIs and 6 MSUs, so that's the smallest current model z/OS (and z/VSE and z/TPF) machine now available. Is that bump to 50 PCIs and 6 MSUs a problem? Well, no, not with IBM software which has been eligible for subcapacity licensing for many years. Also, admirably IBM says they're pricing the zBC12 with 50 PCIs the same as the z114 (the previous model) at about 26 PCIs. In other words, even if you still only need 26 PCIs of capacity you'll get roughly twice that capacity for the same price according to IBM. Everything's better financially then: if you wish you can keep running with 3 MSUs of software (which will perform much better on a 6 MSU machine due to the way "softcapping" works) and also hold the hardware costs level. Or you can bump up to 4, 5, or 6 MSUs of IBM software if you need it while still holding hardware costs level. All good news there! (And actually it's even better than I described.) The potential trouble is that a few other software vendors still have antiquated licensing rules, charging full capacity even if you don't run their software that way. That might be a problem in particular situations, but the solutions are by now well known, notably switching to software products that have better licensing terms.
  • IBM has goosed up the I/O capacity and performance considerably, but I'll let you read about the details in that linked document above.
  • On the zBC12 and also the zEC12 you can now configure up to 2 zIIPs and up to 2 zAAPs per CP, including subcapacity CPs. For example, on that A01 zBC12 capacity model (with 50 PCIs) you could add up to 2 zIIPs and 2 zAAPs, and all those speciality engines operate at full speed. There's one caution, though: IBM says the zBC12 and zEC12 are the last servers to sport zAAPs. So it's possible IBM is bumping up this ratio in anticipation of zAAP retirement. My recommendation would be to order only zIIPs at this point since zIIPs can now do everything zAAPs can. If and only if you run out zIIP allotments and you could use zAAPs, then maybe get some zAAPs. Perhaps that advice is too obvious for those familiar with zIIPs and zAAPs, but I thought I'd mention it.
  • IBM has posted a series of new mainframe videos including this walkthrough video.

More to follow, including a lot of software details as I keep looking through all these announcements. And it's software that makes the magic happen, so stay tuned.

by Timothy Sipples July 23, 2013
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